How to Break a Tire Bead: Simple Guide

Breaking a tire bead can be challenging, especially when it is your first time doing it. The first time I tried breaking a tire bead was an epic fail because I did not use the proper tools. The funny thing was, it was a motorcycle tire, so it was not supposed to be as complicated as SUV tires.

There are many ways to break a tire bead, and there are multiple tools you can consider using, including tire mounting machines, shoe, and lever bead breaker, plier bead breaker, and clamp and ram bead breaker.

Any persistent person can break a tire bead, at least, I suppose. However, doing it right to ensure that the tire and the rim are not damaged and you don’t hurt yourself in the process is another story. 

Stick around because I will give you some tips on how to break a tire bead safely.

Ways/Tools to Break a Tire Bead

Tire Mounting Machines

Tire mounting machines are the ones you usually see at local tire shops. This option, by far, is the safest and the most effective. As long as you follow the operational manual, you should be able to do the job with ease with the help of this machine.

The only problem is, we do not usually have access to this kind of machine at home or at places where we might need to break our tire’s bead. If you invest in these machines, they may come at a higher price, so it might not be worth your investment as you do use them often.

Shoe and Lever Bead Breaker

This convenient tool is another tool that you can put in the trunk of your vehicle for emergency purposes. It is a shoe-shaped tool that helps car owners push the tire’s sidewall to separate it from the rim. Because of its economic advantage, this tool is famous for car owners.

This tool requires minimal investment, and it is easy to operate. It is an ideal tool for breaking beads of any tire as long as the tire is not old and the bead is not very hard to break.

Plier Bead Breaker

This tool is an effective way to break a tire bead. It works perfectly in separating the time from the rim. This tool, however, can sometimes be cumbersome, and it will require the force of your entire body to do the job.

This plier mechanism is also not the safest for your tires and rim because it features a spike that may leave ugly marks.

Clamp and Ram Bead Breaker

The most effective way to break a tire bead is using a Clamp and Ram tool. This tire bead-breaking method is ideal for replacing old tires or those that the bead got stuck or almost welded on the rim.

This tool allows you to replace your tires with ease or effortlessly break your tire’s bead. This article will consider this method for the following steps on how to break a tire bead. 

How to Break a Tire Bead Using a Clamp and Ram Tool

As you learned above, this is an effective way to break a tire bead. Below you will learn the process of using this tool.

Other tools/materials needed:

  • Valve wrench (to remove the valve stem)
  • Lubricant or soapy water (to loosen the bead and rim contact)
  • Nut tightening gun/tools (to tighten/loosen the tool nut)
  • Tire spoons (to remove the tire off the rim)

The Process

  1. Using the valve wrench, completely deflate your tire. Ensure that the tire is empty because it might be challenging to perform the job if it still contains air.
  2. Apply some lubricant to the area where you will set the tool. 
  3. Using your nut tightening gun, clamp the tool to the rim where you applied the lubricant. Get the feet in between the lip of the rim and the tire bead. Then the clamp screw sucks the feet in, partially breaking the bead in that area.
  4. Let the ram foot push down and completely breaks the tire bead free of the bead retainer.
  5. Move the tool over 3 or 4 inches and repeat the process.
  6. Do the same steps on the other side of the tire.
  7. Using the tire spoons, completely remove the tire from the rim. You may need to apply more lubricant as necessary.


There are many ways to break a tire bead. There are traditional ways, and there are also modern ways of doing it. The most embraced method nowadays is the use of the clamp and ram mechanism. There are many brands of this tool available in the market.

Whatever method you choose is okay as long as you feel comfortable doing it. If you are not confident in doing the job, get some help from experts, or you might as well bring your tire to a shop where they can use a machine to do the job for you safely.

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