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How-to: Remove Tires From Rims

At over $20 for a pair of tires and around $10 for a pair of rims, the treads on your truck can be expensive. There are ways, however, to prevent your wallet from screaming for mercy–such as re-using rims over and over. Of course, to do this, you will need to know how to go about removing tires from rims. There are several ways to do this, but the best method and uncoincidentally the one I’m describing here is how to remove tires using what is known as the boiling method.

MATERIALS

  • Large metal or ceramic pot
  • Tongs
  • Eye protection
  • Gloves
  • Stove 

USE CAUTION
While this isn’t listed as an actually step, safety is the most important step in this process. Not only do you not want to ruin your rims, but you don’t want to ruin yourself. This process should only be performed by adults or under close adult supervision. Burns (scalds) from boiling water can be just as dangerous as burns from fire. You will also need eye protection, gloves and long sleeves.

STEP 1
Boil ‘er!
Select a large enough metal or ceramic pot to fit the tires into without them touching any of the sides (including the bottom). Fill your pot with water. Make sure not to fill it too full because the tire and wheel will displace a volume of water. Bring the water to a boil. Using tongs or whatever utensil you have chosen to grab the tire with, place a tire and wheel into the boiling water very gently, as you don’t want to cause the water to displace too quickly and cause a boil over. The tire and wheel should be left in the boiling water for approximately ten to fifteen minutes before turning it over to heat the other side. The total time will vary depending upon how well the tires were glued to the rim and the quality of glue that was used. Please note that some lower quality tires and rims may even begin to distort at these temperatures, so keep a close eye on yours to make sure this doesn’t happen.

 

STEP 2
Tire Removal
It’s finally time to remove the tire from the boiling water. Be careful, though, so you don’t get burned. This is by far the most dangerous part. Use your utensils to remove the tire and rim (still together at this point) from the water and place them into the sink or on a ceramic plate. Cool the tire and rim off by running it under cold water in the sink. Be aware that even after doing this, there still is a good chance that there is hot water remaining inside the tire. Next, while wearing gloves, begin to tug on the tire to see if it has come unglued or needs more time in the water. It won’t be easy to get the tire off of the wheel in most cases, but if you find it especially difficult it may be time to put it back in the water for a few additional minutes. Then, check it again. If the tire does show signs that it’s prepared to come off, use some of those finger muscles to pry the tire from the rim–slowly working your way around. Remain extra vigilant of the tire tearing due to the extreme heat it has experienced. If you find the tire’s softness proves to be a problem, allow the tire time to cool and regain some of its strength and come back later to finish the job.

STEP 3
Clean Up
It’s almost over! Once the tire and rim have been separated, it’s a good idea to stick the wheel back into the boiling water to dissolve the remaining glue. This will make future use of this wheel easier. Also, check the foam inside of the tire for damage. Sometimes water can cause the foam to expand too much and either break or become floppy and off balance. If you are a racer, I would recommend throwing out damaged foams. Lastly, dump the water out of the pot while it is still hot. This will prevent the dissolved glue in the water from hardening and sticking to the pan.

THE ALTERNATIVES
There are two alternative methods of removing tires from rims. One is baking the tires and the second is using acetone to dissolve the glue. The baking method involves placing the tires and wheels into an oven and heating them to a temperature hot enough (usually well over 400 degrees F) to de-bond the glue. While this requires little effort from the hobbyist, many people do not like it because the baking of the rubber causes not-so-wonderful-smelling (and potentially hazardous) fumes to be let off. The acetone method is great in that there is no heat needed–just the simple bathing the tire in acetone (the same stuff used in nail polish remover). However, this method obviously requires acetone which has to be purchased (costs money), is flammable and exposure can be dangerous.

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One Comment

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