How To Glue Tires Like A Pro

Aug 30, 2013 No Comments by

Before your car or truck’s tires stand any chance of holding the road, track, or trail, they must first have a firm hold of the rim. This article will walk you through the exact steps that top drivers use to make certain their tires are mounted straight and true with the strongest possible bond. Follow these steps, and you’ll be sure to get maximum performance and life from your rubber.

Step One: Vent Holes

Leather punches are one of the best tools around for punching holes in tires.

When fully sealed against the rim without vent holes to allow air to flow in and out, tires are basically balloons and will bounce all over the place.¬†Vent holes allow the tire to compress over terrain and return to shape quickly. Before adding vent holes, remove the foams that come with the tires. Take note of their direction when you pull them out, as many of today’s closed-cell foams are directional. To add vent holes you need a hole-punching tool, which can be purchased from most hardware stores as well as hobby stores. We’ve found that leather punches work the best. Punch a minimum of two holes that are 2mm in diameter within the center of the tread pattern and opposite of one another. This will help keep your tires balanced and if one hole is covered up during rotation, you’ve got another to help the tire vent.

Step Two: Trimming the bead

Trim just the excess amount off the bead; any more and you won’t have an area in which the glue can adhere.

It’s common for excess rubber to squeeze between the mold halves during the tire manufacturing process. Use the scissors to trim way the excess material while still leaving proper definition in the bead of the tire. If necessary, do this to both sides of each tire. Once the bead is cut, reinstall the foam and clean the bead of the tire.

Step Three: Cleaning the bead

Make sure to clean both beads until they are spotless.

Tire molds are coated with release agents to prevent the tires from sticking to the molds. These release agents can also prevent glue from sticking, and must be removed. Use denatured or rubbing alchohol on a clean cotton rag or lint-free cloth and clean both beads of the tire. Focus on the front side and inner diameter of the tire bead. For each bead, use a fresh section of the rag, as this will ensure you’re cleaning each bead to its utmost potential.

Step Four: Install the tires

Roll the tire between your palms to help seat it against the rim.

Now that the bead is clean, it’s time to finally reintroduce the tire to the rim. If you’re mounting tires with a directional tread pattern, make certain to assemble the tires and wheels as “lefts” and “rights” before you start gluing. Once you’ve got the tire completely on the rim, work the bead of the tire into the bead of the rim. You may find it helpful to pinch the sidewall of the tire and force the tire bead into the bead of the rim if it’s being stubborn. Now that the bead is set on both sides, hold the tire between both hands while applying some pressure and rock it back and forth. This will help seat the tire to the rim and helping the foam to settle into its position.

Step Five: Time to glue

Less is more when applying CA. You’ll have less mess and the glue will cure more quickly.

With all the prep done and out of the way, it’s time to glue. You may find it helpful to use the extended tip that comes with most CA glues. The extended tip helps to get the glue onto both sides of the bead for the strongest hold possible. Use a thick-width rubber band and wrap it around the tire. This helps to push the tire bead down into the rim bead. With the rubber band in place, carefully pinch the tire and pull up to expose approximately a half-inch of the tire bead. Apply a small amount of CA glue down onto the bead of the rim and allow it to drip down into the bead that isn’t pulled up. While the glue is working its way into the rim and tire, push the tire back down onto the rim. Rotate a few degrees and repeat this until you’ve glued the entire circumference of the rim. After you’ve done the entire circumference of the wheel, lay it flat and carefully peel the tire down in order to expose the front side of the tire bead. Apply another dab of CA glue, and then push the tire bead back against the rim. Again, do the entire circumference of the tire. Do not start the opposite side of the wheel until the first side has cured. Let it sit for approximately ten minutes and in the sun if possible.

Step Six: Work the glue in

Now that the entire bead is glued into place, pool up a small amount of CA glue and rotate the wheel off axis in a circular motion, allowing the excess CA glue to pass over the outside of the bead. This will help fill any openings and act as a second line of defense to protect the bead and tire junction. Once you’ve worked it all the way around the bead, let it set until the glue has dried. Do this to both the front and back bead.

Prep is key to strong bond between tire and rim with CA glue. The slightest amount of contaminant will weaken the bond or not even allow it to cure properly, which will eventually lead to a tire getting flung off your wheel. Once you get the order of operation down, it’s really easy and the excess amount of time won’t be an issue because you’ll now be able to drive your vehicle without the lingering thought of a tire becoming unglued.

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