How to Break The Bead of Your ATV Tire

Almost every ATV owner will have to either change or repair a tire on their ATV. Of course, there are tire shops that you can send it to, but once you learn the process of breaking the bead on your tire, you can save a lot of time and money doing it yourself. 

How do you break the bead of your ATV tire? 

  1. Lay the tire on a solid surface and deflate the tire using a valve stem wrench.
  2. Spray an area of the tire with either soapy water or tire lubricant spray. 
  3. Grab your bead breaker tool and apply it to the area you sprayed. 
  4. Depending on the tool you’re using, separate the bead from the tire. 
  5. Spray a second area and repeat the process until the full tire has separated. You’ll have to flip the tire and repeat the process as well. 

If this is your first time repairing or changing your ATV tire, you might need to know more about the process involved or the tools that you need. We know your ATV means a lot to you, so we provided all this information and more below to make sure you can handle this yourself. 

Steps to Break A Bead of ATV Tire

The process of breaking a bead on a tire has been accomplished in many different ways, but this is, we believe, best and safest process to get it done. You don’t need a tire-mounting machine that you would find in a repair shop. All you need is a valve stem tool, some way to spray the tire, and a bead breaker tool

  1. Lay the tire on a solid surface. Use your valve stem tool on the tire valve to empty it. The tool is cheap (check out options and current prices on Amazon) and will save you lots of time. There are other ways to deflate the tire like pushing in the pin, but it will take forever. Using the tool will only take a few seconds. 
  2. Grab a spray bottle of either a mixture of water and soap or a tire mount lubricant paste. The lubricant does work a little bit better, but if you don’t have it, just use soapy water.
  3. Now it’s time to grab your bead breaker tool. We’ll get into more options below, but the best option for you, if you can afford it, is the BeadBuster. This tool is patented specifically for the purpose of breaking the bead on a tires like those on ATVs. 
  4. If you’re using the BeadBuster, set it between the rim and the sidewall. Then tighten the tool to the tire and drive the ram down using a power tool. This will dislodge the tire from the bead. If you are using a different tool, separate the bead from the tire the way the tool is intended to be used, but it will likely be in a very similar manner. You can also create your own tool for this with a little ingenuity. 
  5. Spray a second area of the tire and repeat the process. This could be needed as few as two times, but may be needed as much as five times. After the tire breaks from the bead, flip the tire over and repeat steps 2-5 on that side. 

What Is The Bead on A Tire? 

If you are going to break the bead of a tire, I guess you need to know what the bead is first.

If you’re looking at a tire rim, right next to the lip, there is a bump, which is called the “bead retainer.” This goes around the entire rim to keep the tire in place. It does this by latching onto the tire in what is known as the bead. 

If you look at the inside of a tire, the bead is where you see the indent. Inside this indent, there are strong cables that go throughout the tire, which creates an enforced loop connecting the bead to the rim. 

When a tire connects to the rim, it gets pressed against that bead retainer and sits against the lip. This ensures that the tire won’t slide in different directions on the rim. I guess I never thought about this happening, but it is a big deal to not have the tire sliding around while you ride!

Tools You Can Use to Break The Bead of Your ATV Tire

We mentioned earlier that there are a couple of different options when it comes to tools that help you break the bead. Some are more expensive, and other options are very cheap, but with the cheap options, you will likely find some major disadvantages in safety, risk or ease of use.


As I mentioned above, our favorite tool to use is the BeadBuster. The BeadBuster company created a tool that clamps onto the rim and applies a wedging force to the rim and tire. This forces the bead to go down over the bead retainer. 

Many other tools can damage the tire or wheel because they press down on the sidewall of the tire. The BeadBuster presses directly onto the tire bead, which drastically reduces any chance of damaging the tire or rim. 

As you would expect, the Beadbuster is the most expensive option of the group of tools we are going to discuss, but it is the closest option we think to getting it done by a repair shop, and this one tool will save you much more on tire repairs over many years riding ATVs. Click here to see the current price of the Beadbuster on Amazon.

Bead Breaker

You can use a portable bead breaker or tire changer. You’ve probably seen these at hardware stores or auto supply shops. They are usually a bit cheaper compared to other options and work well on some sized tires. 

The problem is that they have a tough time breaking the bead of ATV tires. ATV tires often have a much stronger bead than other vehicles because of the extreme use on trails and offroading. 

The bead retainer is so much stronger on ATVs compared to others that this tool can just slip down the sidewall of the tire instead of breaking the bead. You can end up risking the tire and get frustrated if your attempts are not successful. 

You can help out the process by using the soapy water trick we mentioned earlier, and another tip is to leave a little air in the tire. Don’t leave more than 3-5 PSI in the tire, but this will allow you to use more pressure before the tool starts sliding. 

There are many other bead breaking tools on the market, but we haven’t tried them all. If you want something stronger than a bead breaker, but not as expensive as the BeadBuster, explore some of these options on Amazon and let us know if you find one you really like.

Non-conventional Methods

If you search online, you’ll find other ways that have “been known” to break the bead on ATV tires. This can involve things like lodging a board into the tire and driving over it with a truck, getting a bar and a hammer, and just banging on the bar, hoping it comes loose, and many other options in this ballpark. 

When it comes to these methods, there are a couple of reasons why we don’t think they should be considered. The first reason is that this could easily damage the tire that you are taking off and the rim inside the tire. 

Damaging the old tire might not be a big deal if you don’t plan on using it, but you’re most likely trying to reuse the rim, and you don’t want to have to purchase a new one because you damaged this one with these methods. 

Second and most important, this can also be very dangerous to you and anyone else around you. Accidents are more likely to happen if you use methods like these, and that is why we recommend getting one of the designated tools recommended above to do this the safe and right way the first time.

Removing The Tire After Breaking The Bead

The hardest part of changing out a tire is done once you break the bead of the tire. You will need a couple of tire irons to remove the tire. 

  1. Place one of the tire irons between the rim and the tire. Wedge the tire over the lip of the rim. 
  2. Place another tire iron in a second position while keeping the first one in the same place. Use the same process to lift that part of the tire over the lip. 
  3. Hold the second tire iron in place and then constantly use the first tire iron to wedge the rest of the tire over the edge of the rim. 
  4. Continue this process until the tire bead is completely off the rim. Flip the tire over and repeat the process on the other side. 

Brent Huntley

Brent Huntley is the owner of ATV Man and is responsible for almost all the material on the website. He also runs and loves to travel and ride ATVs with his family. When he isn't playing, his day job consists of owning Huntley Law.

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