In pictures: Changing a tire, step by step.

Written by Chris Dekker, former co-owner at Tools in Motion.


“Tire season” is almost upon us, where many motorists trade their worn-out rubber for something that will work better in the coming winter months. We’ve already been super busy with tire work over the last couple weeks, and thought it would be fun to do a little write-up for you. Just what are you getting when you pay a professional $20-30 to mount and balance a tire? Read on!

(And yes, you caught us… we certainly didn’t clean up our busy shop for any of these pictures!)


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We’ll skip to the point where we’ve already got the car inside, and the wheels off. The first step, before dismounting the tire, is to remove the old balancing weights. If we don’t remove them first, they can get caught by the tire changer and damage the wheel.


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Next, we clean all this nasty corrosion from the wheel’s centre hole and mounting surface. This will allow them to align correctly to the balancing machine, and will help prevent the wheels from coming loose on the vehicle later on.


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Next we break the bead, separating the tire from the wheel. Over time, they can become quite stuck together! The hydraulic arms of this expensive machine do most of the hard work for us.


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Next, we use the tire changing machine to remove the old tire from the wheel.


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Here’s an important step: cleaning rust and corrosion from the bead surface of the wheels. This will help ensure a leak-free seal.


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This looks better!


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Next, we install a new tire valve.


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A special lubricant applied to the new tire helps to prevent damage on installation, and contains a corrosion inhibitor to help protect your wheels.


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On with the new tire! Especially when dealing with pressure sensor valves, we must be very careful about where we start and stop the machine, to avoid damaging the sensor.


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This tire has an asymmetrical tread pattern, designed to provide a better compromise between handling and wet traction. These tires are usually fairly clearly marked as to which side of the tire faces outwards.


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On to the wheel balancer we go! After mounting the wheel to the machine using specific adaptors, we spin it up. The machine identifies the heavy spots on the tire/wheel combination, and tells us where to add weight to correct for this.


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We carry many different types of weights, in order to fit all of the different wheels out there. Many newer wheels also use adhesive weights that stick to the inside of the wheel; we have those too!


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Here’s one of those “little things” that honestly does make a difference: we apply the wheel weights with a rubber-headed hammer, to avoid breaking the coating on the weight. This goes a long way to preventing unsightly corrosion of your wheels.


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All good! This tire is now balanced, which will prevent vibration in the vehicle, especially at highway speeds.


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Finally, the wheels can go back on to your car! We use a torque wrench to tighten the lug nuts. Not too loose; not too tight! The torque should be rechecked again after 100 km of driving.


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A wheel alignment is always a good idea when installing new tires. The alignment procedure involves adjusting many angles of your vehicle’s suspension, to make sure there will be no premature tire wear.


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