• Tire Tools: What You’ll Need for Proper Tire Maintenance

    For proper tire maintenance, several tire tools are necessary. Depending on the level of maintenance you are looking to perform, though, some are more necessary than others. For example, if you want to be able to periodically rotate your tires, plug punctures and change flats, only a few tools are required. If, however, you need to switch out tires on your rims from time to time, several other tools are needed. 


    Tire Maintenance

    Maintaining your own tires consists of the ability to plug and patch punctures, rotate the tires from time to time, keep the tires properly inflated and remove them from rims to change out tires, whether it is to put on snow tires or to simply replace when the tread wears out. Beginning the basics of tire maintenance, there are several useful tools to keep around the garage and, in some cases, the trunk of your car. 


    Tire Repair

    Sometimes it cannot be helped, but you are driving down the road and your tire picks up a nail, piece of glass or some other sharp object. When you stop, you realize the tire is flat. Professional tire shops patch and seal punctured tires, but you can do a lot of the work yourself. Plugging a tire, even temporarily, will get you to the repair shop for a proper seal. The tools you’ll need for this are as follows:

    • Tire iron
    • Car jack
    • T-handle probe tool
    • T-handle needle tool
    • Tire plugs
    • Rubber cement
    • Portable air compressor

    Having these tools in your trunk will save you a lot of hassle having to wait for a tow truck. Some drivers choose to keep liquid sealant in their trunk. While these products only work for small punctures, the sealant is injected into the tire through the tire valve. As the tire spins, the sealant coats the interior, sealing the puncture from the inside. 


    Tire Rotation and Changing

    Maintenance of your tires is a bit more involved. Because tires tend to wear out unevenly, it is a good idea to rotate them every few thousand miles so they do not develop bald patches. For this, a lug wrench and car jack, as well as jack stands are needed. You remove one tire, prop it up with a jack stand, remove the second tire and switch them out. 

    Even more complicated tire maintenance involves removing the tire from the rim and fitting the rim into a different tire. This job is a lot easier with a tire stand to secure the tire as you run the tire spoon around the inner circumference between the rim and the tire to break the bead. This can be accomplished with just the tire spoon, but you will still need to prevent the tire from spinning as you separate the rim from it. 

    Besides that, basic tire maintenance consists of keeping the tires properly inflated when in use. An air compressor with the right size valve attachment is useful for inflating your car’s tires without having to pay money at the service station. Air compressors are great for many other uses as well, so it is a good investment.