Tire Changers Have Changed the way We Change Tires
Changing tires, whether as a result of a flat tire or for any other reason used to be a cumbersome exercise until a short while ago. Tire changers have changed all that. These heavily mechanized implements have come to the aid of the technicians in a big way. Mounting and dismounting has become easier now. Wheel and tire assembly can be removed with relative ease with help of the components the tire changers are fitted with.
Foot pedals and Clamp Controls
There are two foot pedals in the tire changer the left of which is known as clamp control pedal. It has three positions. The rim clamps can be opened and closed with this. The pneumatic piston moves the 4 rim clamps all at once when this pedal is pressed. The right pedal is called the table top pedal which again has three positions. Rotation is controlled by it. Pressing down this pedal causes the table top spin clockwise. If the pedal is raised, the table top spins.
The mounting mechanism has three components namely, vertical slide, duckhead and swing arm. The duckhead is shaped like the bill of a duck and is positioned immediately after the vertical slide. This plastic or metal part fits and surrounds the wheel's rim with precision in order to mount or demount the tire. The swing arm swings left and right. This enables the duckhead to move near the rim or away from it.
Inflating the tires
The vertical slide is used to fit onto the rims, whatever the size of the wheel. It can move up or down.
A stable position is achieved by the use of the spring and the locking handle situated above the swing arm. Tire changers have a valve system which consists of air pressure bleed valve, inflation gauge and an air hose. This is what is used to inflate tires after mounting them on wheels. The air hose can be seen at the top of the tire changer. Compressed air is pumped into the tire by this. It has a special kind of end that clamps firmly on the valve stems in the wheels. Air inflation pressure can be viewed in the gauge when the operation is on. The display shows pressure in pounds per square inch. Air is inflated if the inflation pedal is raised. A burst of air escapes the valves and travels into the tires. The manual bleed valve, on the other hand, enables air pressure to escape the tire when and if needed.
The wheel is held in place and rotated by the table top and rim clamps. Table top is located above foot pedals, under the mount mechanism. It can rotate either clockwise or anti clockwise. In some tire changers it is in the shape of the letter X and in some others, a circle. Rim clamps powered by pneumatics are at both the ends of table top. Whether the wheel is small or large, the adjustable rim clamps can be made to move close or away from the table top's center.
The bead loosening system has a metal piece that looks like a shovel. It has an arm known as bead loosening shoe. A handle at the top of the arm engages the bead loosening system. Rubber squares a little away protects the wheels from possible scratches.
How is the tire changed with the help of a tire changer?
The wheels is first centered and fastened securely onto table top using the rim clamp. The bottom bead is then pushed into the well of the wheel. The next move is to push the top bead down so that it goes into the center well. It should be under the duckhead and rotate the table top. A valve core is installed now. Now is the time to inflate the tire. Inflating should be stopped at “pop”. The operation is complete with the release of rim clamps .
Motorcycle tire changers
Motorcycle tire changes are understandably less complicated. A basic bead loosening system along with rim clamps are powered manually. These tire changers can usually be utilized to change tires of the size of 10'' with the width of 1 ½''.
Heavy duty tire changers are formidable to look at and can be used to change even wheels of 56'' with a width of 43'' wide. Construction, agricultural and off-road vehicles use such machines. Hydraulically operated tire changers are used for wheels of 95'' or higher size.
Some Popular Brands
Atlas tire changers are a popular brand. Prices range from around $1,000 and there are some models that come at $3.000. For example, Atlas TC is sold for $995. As the equipment get heavier, the price goes higher too. Atlas TTC303 (3-Phase) Super Duty Truck Tire Changer can be ordered for $7,995.
Other brands include powerlift tire changers, Torin, Ken Tool. Karman etc. Coats is another brand that is the choice of many professional tire changers. Ranger is another efficient group of tire changers.
The ubiquitous Chinese, like in many fields, seem to have heavy presence in tire changers too. There are online vendors who for a reasonable amount of money towards shipping charges, deliver the equipment at the door.
Price Vs Utility
One aspect that could work as a dampener is the price. If you deliberate about it, a vehicle owner does not really need to change tires often. So the investment could in all likelihood be something of a dead investment. However, the need for tire changers could arise at any time and almost always an emergency operation. Instead of running from pillar to post, if you had tire changers at your disposal, it will save you a lot of bother.
Autoshops, by their very nature, should have a range of tire changers. There are versatile machines that could serve the purpose more than you could have bargained for. An owner of two or more vehicles too will do well to have the tire changers in his garage. Since insurance companies take up insuring the auto shop equipment, damage to the equipment will be taken care of by insurance.
Two wheeler owners too could prudently purchase tire changers. Long distance travelers can realize the utility of these equipment when they are stuck in the middle of nowhere when their journey takes them out-ordinary seldom treaded paths.