Home Made Tire Changing Tools - Make Your Own
The Cheap S.O.B.'s DIY Guide
by David Morrow

I have found that the biggest challenge in changing tires, is just holding the wheel firmly in place in order to work on the tire. 
As it turns out, the biggest cost in commercially available tire changing equipment for home use is in the stand designed to to just that.

The biggest part of the challenge in designing and building my own stand was to make something
 that could be wall mounted and perhaps fold down out of the way when not in use. 
This also saved having to drill holes in the concrete floor of the garage.

Next, I wanted to build a stand that anyone with basic home tools could duplicate. 
I have welding equipment, a lathe and a small mill but didn't use them for this project. 
That pretty much leaves wood for the project's materials.

Finally, it had to be cheap to make. You can build this from a single sheet of 
3/4" plywood and a couple feet of 1" dowel...or an old broom stick. Use good quality plywood though.
Or, you could buy a cheap tire changer from Harbor Freight... but don't forget the concrete drill.

Change Platform

And this is what I ended up with. Since I first built this a few years ago, I've changed a lot of tires with it.

There are few dimensions included here that are critical so feel free to experiment.

The basic platform is 24" x 24" and is made from 1 layer of 3/4" plywood and 2 layers of 1" MDF. You could easily use 1 piece of plywood and use some 2x4 to add some rigidity. Use whatever materials that you have on hand or that you wish. My garage is framed on 24" centers so everything screws to the wall quite nicely.

I used 8 dowels, 1" in diameter, spaced 45 degrees apart. My high school geometry teacher taught me that it only takes 3 points to create a plane so, if I built another one, I would use just 3 pieces of dowel spaced 120 degrees apart. They stick out above the top of the platform by 3 1/2".

The center post is 3/4" x 24" threaded steel rod. Get a few nuts and washers. You'll need two of each to secure the rod to the platform, one each to hold the wheel in place, and then one more to hold the bead breaker and mounting bar in place while you do the dirty work. Check the diameter of your axles first. From limited experience, older Beemers need something a bit smaller than 3/4". Undoubtedly there are others.

You can see the black gate hinges holding the platform to the wall. As it turned out, I don't fold it down so I ran some screws through the angled piece of plywood underneath into the wall and up into the platform to stop it from moving as I'm working.

The two pieces of plywood on top in the center are there just to provide a bit of rigidity to the threaded steel rod center post. I'm not sure if they are really necessary or not.

The only dimensions that are important, are the placements of the dowels. My FJR has 17" wheels. I used a radius of 8.25" ; place the dowels on the resulting circle 120 degrees apart. (To make it easy, just put one dowel in place at the top of the circle and then measure 14 1/4" across the circle - one left and the other right, and mount the other two dowels. That should be close enough. With the wheel centered on the center post, the wheels sit perfectly on the dowels and the tire rests just to the outside.

To mount the dowels, drill the three holes right through the top layer of the platform only with a Forstner bit (preferred) or a spade bit. Then run a screw up from the bottom into each dowel and that will hold them firmly in place.

Forstner bit below

This is the side view. It's pretty self explanatory. Adjust to suit your own needs or materials at hand.

Bead Breaker

Construction follows the same philosophy as the platform. Cheap, easy, effective, and all wood.

The bar, which is not shown in the drawing, is 2 3/4" x 48" and there are two of each required.

In the picture above, the little bit of plywood sticking up above was cut off flush after I took this picture.

Note that I cut the bottom of the business end off at 45 degrees to help slip the breaker bar under the nut and slide into position when working on the rear tire.

The 2 1/4" x 6" piece in the drawing is just a spacer that fits at the handle end and is screwed or glued in place. You could just as easily screw the two pieces together - put the screws about 6" apart, the first one being about an inch from the end, and end up with a slimmer handle at that end.

Here's an easy way to make the curved piece for the bead breaker and for the spacers needed to keep the bead down in the well when mounting the tire (see below). The piece for the bead breaker shouldn't be more than about 5 1/4" wide as there's a lot of pressure on the ends and it may break. The piece for the spacers can be a bit wider.

Get a piece of scrap wood - a paint stir stick in this case, drill two small holes spaced 8 1/2" apart ( the radius of the wheel ). Hold one end on the center line of the work piece and draw a few curved lines and cut them out with the jig saw.

To use the bead breaker, I just push down on the end of the handle and the tire will slowly move down towards the well. Hold it for a few seconds or the tire will rebound back up onto the bead. Then, lift up on the handle, quickly slide the tire around so you are about 6-8" further along on the tire and repeat. It usually takes doing this 2 or 3 times and then the rest of the bead comes off quite easily. Flip the whole thing over and repeat.

Tire Mounting Bar

This is the easiest part to make. It's 3" x 48" x 3/4" plywood - two pieces glued & screwed together. You need two pieces for strength and also so the bar doesn't twist as you're putting pressure on as you mount the tire.

 Cut a slot 3/4" wide ( just barely wide enough to fit over the center post - the tighter, the better). The slot starts 8" from the working end and is 5" long. I drilled two holes, 3/4" diameter with a Forstner bit and then sawed through to join the holes.

Put an 8.50" radius on the business end and screw on this little aluminum plate below.

I tried a lot of ways to make this tool work. I tried a piece of 1/2" aluminum rod so that it was similar to a NoMar mounting tool but I wasn't overly happy with the result. I used a piece of steel but it had the potential to be awfully harsh on the rim. This piece of aluminum is about 1/8" x 4" x 2 1/4". You have to be very careful to get a nice rounded end on it so it doesn't dig into the tire. This iteration works really well but it does have that tendency to dig. I'll spend a bit more time with a file beveling and rounding over the ends a little more. If that doesn't help, I'm going to remake it from 3/16" or 1/4" aluminum and call it a day. But overall, I'm very pleased with it.

File or grind the working edge nice and round to avoid scraping the rim too much. 

Wrap a nylon strap or something similar around one of the spokes and hook it to the corner of the platform. This will stop the wheel from spinning as you get the tire mounted.

Put a couple blocks in to keep the tire bead down in the well.
Hook the business end in under the lip of the rim, lube the tire, and let her rip.


I rounded over all edges with a bull nose bit in a router but otherwise left the wood raw. This makes it all a bit more comfortable on the hands and keeps splinters away.

Demount Bar

I conveniently left this until last. I haven't figured this one out yet. I did make my own but I made it out of aluminum on the lathe and mounted the tip in a piece of 4' black gas pipe. But since it's not in keeping with the spirit of a DIY project with common household tools, I'll keep this section open for new ideas.

In the mean time, you can buy a mounting bar from NoMar for $125.

I bought a MojoLever for $100 but was never happy with the mounting end of the tool. I've seen the YouTube video and it looks easy but I think it takes practice. If you only do this every few months, you don't get much practice. If it had that bit of hook and was a bit deeper into the wheel cavity, it would work a bit better IMHO. The demount end works fine although I did bend the tip on the last tire removal. 

Wheel Balancing

I have a balancer from Marc Parnes. It's about $105 and is first rate quality. I did make my own with four skate board bearings but this piece was so nice and easy to use, it was hard to resist. Besides, it has an optional cone adapter for a Honda VFR rear wheel.

In keeping with the whole wood tool theme, using the Marc Parnes balancer is easy to set up and use with a bit of scrap plywood screwed or clamped to the tire platform.

This bit of plywood is 24" x 18" and the cutout is 16" x 11". I cut three holes in it as shown and just clamp it to the platform when in use. I'm sure there are more elegant solutions but this was the quickest.

That's it for now. If you have any suggestions to make it better in any way, please let me know. djm@ldriderDOTca


Last updated : July 18, 2011