How To Break A Tire Bead: 5 Steps To Follow

Getting trash and rubbish inside tires happens quite a lot, especially with vehicle owners having many off-road trips. To be more specific, the trash will make its way onto and into the tire. And this is the reason why we need to break a tire bead.  

Tire bead is the innermost diameter of the tire that connects with the wheel rim. Most people think that breaking a tire bead is common knowledge for every driver. However, not that many car owners know how to break a tire bead. As long as the bead stays intact, there is no gap to form between the rim and the outer edge of the tire. Basically, there is no way to fix the tire from the inside, which is another reason to learn how to break a tire bead. In this article, our car experts will tell you what tool you need to break the tire, as well as how to do it.

Bead Breakers

Before getting to know how to break a tire bead, it is essential to acknowledge your best tool. Bead breaker is the car tool with the purpose of separating tires from their rims. Different types of bead breakers have different ways of using. So let’s jump right into answering the question “how to break a bead on a tire“:

Plier Type Mechanism

This bead breaker uses a plier-type tool in order to apply force between the bead and the rim’s lip. The tool has a spike to perform this task. To be more precise, this spike imposes a force on the bead and the sidewall of the tire to separate them. Therefore, it weakens and removes their connection. This plier type mechanism is amazingly effective and can get the job done very fast. However, it has its disadvantages. The spike is like a double-edge knife that might leave scratches on the surface and on the wheels themselves. Not to mention, this plier type mechanism is very heavy and big, which requires your full body weight in order to get the results.

Shoe and Lever Mechanism

Just like the name said, the shoe and lever mechanism has a shoe-shaped tool which can apply pressure on the sidewall of the tire. In order to break the connection between the bead and the rim, car owners must push the sidewall. This is, without a doubt, the most popular bead breaker among all, since it works amazingly well on motorcycle tires, new passenger vehicle tires, as well as trailers’ tires. The benefits of this bead breakers are quite a lot: First of all, it is very low cost, so anyone can purchase one for their vehicle. Second of all, the way to use it is quite simple and easy to follow. Last of all, it is made for passenger cars’ tires. 

how to break a tire bead (Photo Source: pixabay)
You need the right tool to break a tire bead (Photo Source: pixabay)

On the other hand, it does not work very well with old and hard-to-change tires. Since the shoe and lever mechanism is also large and bulky, this breaker can only be used on some particular types of tires. 

Clamp and Ram Mechanism

Last but not least, the quickest and most efficient break beads of all time: Clamp and Ram Mechanism. If the first two mechanisms cannot solve the problem with difficult-to-replace tires, this bead breaker can deal with all of them. In order to make it work, this machine uses a pointed foot tool with the purpose of exploiting the space between the bead and the rim’s lip. Not to mention, this bead breaker also has a padded clamp. The part can go inside the sidewall with little effort. Long story short, not only this machine works with all types of tires with minimal human effort, it also causes no harm to the sidewall or to the tires. However, it is quite costly.

How To Break A Tire Bead

Knowing that you are already familiar with all the tools, let’s answer the question of “How to break a Tire Bead?”. In order to perform this task, car owners need to follow these steps:

Step 1: Prepare the Tool

No warrior goes barehand into the war. Here is the tool list that you need:

  • Hammer
  • Breaker bar
  • 3 tyre levers
  • A handle
  • A valve core tool

Step 2: Remove the Valve Core

In order to start breaking tire bead, car owners need to be taken off the valve core to release air pressure out. This step needs to perform before and during the first stages. 

how to break a tire bead
Removing the core is the essential step in “how to break a tire bead” lesson (Photo Source: brilliantdiy)

When the valve core is removed, car owners need to put the wheel under the brace. By performing this, the air will be pushed out and we can easily take the wheel off the rim. Just remember to wait until all the air pressure is lost in order to remove the wheel. A little tip to check the tire is to press your hands against the tire’s surface. 

Step 3: Place Tire on a Surface

In this step, car owners need to lay the tire on a hard surface. After that, you should position the breaker bar between the rim and tire. Before proceeding to the following step, it is suggested to check if the tapered edge of the breaker bar is aimed toward the tire, not the rim. 

Also, a solid surface is the necessary factor in this step, since it is capable of handling the pressure you are going to apply on.


Step 4: Slide Breaker Bar between the Tire and the Rim

The next step of “How to break a tire bead” is to slide the breaker bar between the rim and the tire. It is essential to check if the pointed edge of the breaker bar points away from the tire’s rim. The reason for this is that the edge is highly sharp and might create scratches inside. For that reason, car owners might want to aim the bar to the tire, not the rim. 

Step 5: Hit Breaker Bar with a Hammer

When the breaker is already steadying in the distance between the rim and the tire, it is time to hit it with a hammer with the purpose of breaking tire bead. Wait, we are not telling you to destroy the tire! The purpose of doing this is to drive the breaker inside. So keep hitting it and pushing the breaker bar toward the ground until the bead is broken and we can tell by a small pop sound. 

how to break a tire bead
Just take time with this, breaking a tire bead is no joke (Photo Source: bendpak)

Step 6: Rotate Around the Tire’s Inside

Last step of how to break a tire bead is to remove the tire of the rim. Car owners are recommended to rotate the breaker around the tire’s inside while continuing hammering from above. Keep doing that until the tire is off the rim, then turn around and do the same with the opposite side of the tire.


Many people might be wondering, why do drivers need to learn how to break a tire bead? One of the reasons is that the process is simple to follow, even with beginning car owners. All drivers need is thirty minutes and this instruction. Another reason that it provides a great help in cleaning up debris and dirt inside the tire. By breaking the bead, vehicle owners can remove the rubbish inside and reduce the future problems. The last reason is to save the cost of paying a car repairman, since you can remove the tire from its rim by yourself.