Best Tire Spoons: The Tools Missing from your Toolkit
Tires are among the most crucial parts of your car, right up there with breaks and steering. In fact, because they are the only direct connection with the road, tires are responsible for the way your vehicle breaks and how easy it is to drive (even in bad weather conditions). So, drivers should periodically check for wear and tear before getting in the car, and act accordingly if signs start showing up. Now, many people go to an auto shop to have their tires changed, but with the right tools and a bit of exercise, this action can be performed in your own garage.
For instance, you’ll need a jack to lift the vehicle, so the wheel will be free in the air, a screwdriver to unscrew the lug nuts and remove the wheel, and a tire spoon to get the tire off the rim and replace it with a new one. With this simple set of tools, you’ll also save money when it comes to replacing your summer tires with the winter ones (and vice versa) since you’ll be able to do it in your own garage.
Of course, the best tire spoons are not that easy to find in the plethora of brands and models, but with our reviews and guidelines, anyone will be able to get the best for their needs.
1. Motion Pro 08-0536 BeadPro
If you want a tire iron that’s reliable and easy to use in a wide array of scenarios, then you must consider the Motion Pro tool.
It features a chrome vanadium forged steel construction, which makes it a good fit for both home garages and heavy duty shops. It also has a nice black oxide finish that makes it resistant to rust and improves the grip (with or without gloves). Speaking of grips, the Motion Pro is designed with a cross guard, to stop your hand from reaching the tire, in case the tool slips.
This is a tire toolset with multi-use that works well with most street tires, lawn tractors, and tires on off-road motorcycles. The 16-inch long handles make the job of removing and installing tires on the rim easier as it reduces the force that needs to be applied.
Now, this set may seem a bit pricey, but if you compare it with the money you’ll save on changing tires over the years, you’ll see why this is a cost-effective long-term solution.
2. Core Tools CT131
Designed to work with most regular tires (for personal vehicles), this tool is both affordable and easy to use. Made from stainless steel and equipped with a rubberized handle with a looped end, it’s easy to grab (even with slippery hands) and it makes sure you don’t lose the grip before the job is done.
Since it only has a 10-inch handle you won’t see it in an auto shop, but it’s perfect for your car kit and garage. It’s usually delivered as a set of two or more since it’s rather difficult to remove and install a tire with just one.
Also, the wide head design is ideal for preventing any tube pinching. Not to mention that the looped end is ideal for storage (on a hook or a nail on the wall).
3. Ken-Tool 34645
The 37-inch long handle and the ¾-inch diameter make this tool perfect for both DIY-ers and auto shop owners. The length and build make it perfect for larger jobs, but it works just as well with regular tires. However, it is considered too big for small tires.
It also has a special tip that grabs the rim without inflicting any damage, while the tip that goes under the tire is rounded to avoid ripping the bead or the sidewall.
Best Tire Spoons Buying Guide
Tire changing is not a pleasant job, but if you learn to do it by yourself, it saves a lot of money and it can be useful in emergency situations. After all, even all-season tires need changing once they start to wear out!
As we already discussed, the right tire iron is mandatory for this job, so before you go shopping, have a look at the features listed below:
Types of Wheels
Not all tire irons are suitable for all types of tires. Some, like the Ken Tool, are designed to work with larger tires, while others are made for motorcycle and bike tires. It all depends on the length of the tool and the tip.
Put in plain terms, a tire spoon with a long handle is best suited for larger tires, while one with a shorter handle is best for smaller tires.
Ease of Use
When you first attempt to break the bead of a tire, you will notice just how difficult the job can be. It takes effort, but the job gets even more difficult if you don’t have a tool designed to make it easier. For this, choose a tire iron with an ergonomic design and a texturized handle that improves the grip. If you look at the products we reviewed, you’ll notice they all feature a strong grip and a handle that’s easy to grab even with your bare hands. Some tools have a rubber coating while others use a special coating to make the surface less slippery.
The Motion Pro tool (our choice) is another good example of a well-designed handle – the cross guard protects your hand from reaching the tip, where the force is bigger and the risk of injury is higher.
This is a tool that should be with you for years to come, so make sure to pay attention to the material used to build it. The best material is steel, but cheaper versions may use other types of metal or alloy to cut the price. When the material is not durable, you also run the risk of the tool bending when the force applied is too big or even breaking, which can lead to serious injuries. So, always invest a bit more in a tool that’s built to last and never use a tire iron on tires that are too big or too small for it.
As you can see from our reviews, high-quality tools don’t need to be expensive. You can find good tire spoons at low prices, but only if they meet the features discussed above. Otherwise, it’s best to invest a bit more in quality than to spend money on a tool that will bend when you need it the most!
How to Use a Tire Spoon
This job is not easy, even with a tire iron, which is a tool designed specifically for removing and installing tires on the rim. It takes effort and a bit of practice to get it right from the first try, and you will get quite a workout after removing and mounting four tires. But, it is all worth it, considering the money you’ll be saving.
Quick note: The “bead” (which is a term you’ll hear often in this scenario) is the part of the rubber (in a circle) that comes in contact with the rim and creates an airtight seal. The bead sits on the narrow lip of the rim, and there are two beads per tire (one on each side). Also, some rims have a slight hump on the middle to prevent the bead falling off the rim if the tire is hit from the side. This makes removing and installing a tire a bit more difficult, but it’s something you get used to.
Now, to give you an idea of the work involved, here are the steps to follow when removing a tire from the rim:
- Deflate the tire by screwing off the stem cap or simply removing the valve from the stem.
- Move the tire towards the center of the wheel (using the spoon) – this is called “breaking the bead” and involves tucking the bead down into the lowest section of the rim in order to get it up and over the lip.
- Take the second spoon (the process usually requires the use of two spoons) and move more of the tire over the rim (while the first spoon is still in place). Start from the first spoon and move in small steps along the lip of the rim until you reach the half. Once you get there, it should be easier to get the tire out.
- Flip the wheel and repeat the breaking of the bead on the other side.
- With the second spoon, repeat the action of popping out the tire. This should not be as difficult as on the first side because the tire is already loose.
- Take a break or move on to mounting a new tire on the freshly-freed rim (the process is described in the video below).
Quick tip: Some people use screwdrivers, hammers or crowbars to do this task, but if you care about the integrity of your tires and rims, you should never improvise! A tire spoon is shaped and designed to remove the tire from the rim without inflicting any damage.
Tire spoons may not look like much, but once you start using one that’s well-designed and easy to work with, you’ll understand why we’re making such a big fuss about it. These are tools that shouldn’t be missing from your kit if you own a car, a motorcycle, or even a bike!