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Harbor Freight Tire Changer

Posted by bobntess (My Page) on
Sat, Nov 5, 05 at 8:18

Has anyone tried the Harbor Freight manual tire changer? Doesn't sound like a bad deal for under $50 - if it does a decent job. Supposed to handle tires from 8" to 16".

Here is a link that might be useful: tire changer


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Harbor Freight Tire Changer

I have not used that one, I have used other manual type changers. I would pass. They aren't that easy to use. For car tires you'd have to buy some other stuff, like big doughnuts to fill the space between the rim and the tire to get them to inflate. Have to use lots of tire lube or risk damaging the bead. Way more work, expense and mess than it's worth if there's a tire shop anywhere around. jmo


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RE: Harbor Freight Tire Changer

There's a reason that a real tire machine costs $3000.00+, and the machines to deal with runflats, and low tire pressure warning technology can exceed $10,000.00.

A $50.00 machine? Thats money better spent on a night out.


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RE: Harbor Freight Tire Changer

Sounds like I'll pass on the HF, but it sure would be nice to have a tool that makes changing tires a little easier - w/o spending thousands on a big machine.


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RE: Harbor Freight Tire Changer

A friend of mine has one, it works after a fashion,but you can do as well with a rubber hammer and tire iron, it takes major muscle to operate the thing.the thing and I do mean major. As Johm G says, spend the money on a night out.


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RE: Harbor Freight Tire Changer

I have one, purchased it for something like $35 delivered. I've used it on two boat trailer tires, 12" rims. It takes some "man handling" but made the otherwise impossible job possible. I expect I'l use it sometime on my garden tractor and its trailer.

I'd buy it again, and can say it would work a lot better than my experience if it was bolted down, I didn't have a place to put it in as a fixture.


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RE: Harbor Freight Tire Changer

I think this machine would work well with the older car tires, and small tires.
I used an old manual machine at the Saab dealer in the late 60s - a very easy task for the bias ply tires.


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RE: Harbor Freight Tire Changer

Basically you are getting what you pay for with tire changers. A friend of mine can change a tire in a couple minutes with one of those thousand dollar machines at his shop. On the other extreme are the cheapo manual ones, which work but expect more than a few pearls of sweat before you are finished. Check out the link below to get a better idea of what you are getting.

Here is a link that might be useful: tire changers


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RE: Harbor Freight Tire Changer

The problem with do-it-yourself tire changes with tubless tires is re-inflating the tire. Repair shops can give the tire a high volume blast of air from their air tank to "blow" the sidewalls against the rim to begin the sealing process. That's almost impossible with a hand pump. I have managed to do it once with a hand pump and a special technique; and I considered it a stroke of luck that I was able to get the tire to seal. Most attempts fail. Its more effective and faster to take the wheel to a repair shop.

However, it is possible to mount a tire with an inner-tube with a hand pump, but inner tubes went out of style by 1970. Very few tires have inner tubes these days.


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RE: Harbor Freight Tire Changer

I have a cheap $100.00 tire changer with a high volume air
compressor. works just fine if you know how to use it. Do
not spare the dish soap. setting the bead is easy too if you know how. I can set a bead and inflate a 12" X 12"
A.T.V. tire in the bush with no air pump a match and some
lighter fluid. i know how. any tool is a good as how you use it and if you know how to use it. ( mechanical tools, that is).


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RE: Harbor Freight Tire Changer

"... a match and some lighter fluid."

I never thought of this. This proves there is more than one way to 'blow up' a tire. Ya gotta be careful not to catch your clothes on fire. Desperate situations require desperate measures.


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RE: Harbor Freight Tire Changer

It does take a little practise. Desperate situations do
require desperate measures. Lighter fluid is not as volitile as gasoline. Gasoline, NOT RECOMMENDED. I only
walked over to the neibours once to get my rim back. When you roll a tire off in the bush you do what you have to.
This is for reading material only and i deny any claim to
anyone for any accidends that could happen. :)


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RE: Harbor Freight Tire Changer

I bought one of these more than 10 years ago, and it has paid for itself many times over. I have used it on 14 and 15 inch Nissan rims with no problem. i use Armor-All as the tire lubricant. It is important to bolt the thing down. Mine is bolted to my basement floor. I can unmount and remount a tire in 10 mins. Those of you complaining that it is hard to use must be 95 pound weaklings. I am 5'6" 135 lbs, and have no problem at all using it.


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RE: Harbor Freight Tire Changer

**I bought one of these more than 10 years ago, and it has paid for itself many times over.**

Just curious Rohmell, how? Buy a set of tires every 40 or 50k miles or more, dismounting, mounting, balancing, flat repair, disposal of your junk tires, and tire rotation is often included with the purchase price or for a nominal fee. Even if you had to pay for a flat repair, it's something like $7.

**I have used it on 14 and 15 inch Nissan rims with no problem. i use Armor-All as the tire lubricant. It is important to bolt the thing down. Mine is bolted to my basement floor. I can unmount and remount a tire in 10 mins. Those of you complaining that it is hard to use must be 95 pound weaklings. I am 5'6" 135 lbs, and have no problem at all using it.**

Not all tire/rim combo's are created equal. Some are not that easy even with a real tire changer. Some, on the other hand, will practically fall on and off the rim without using anything. Then there's seating and breaking the bead. Some tires it's darn hard to do with a real tire changer. Impossible without one.

What do you do about balancing? Keep a bunch of new fresh valve stems laying around? Got a variety of patches, cleaner, tire grinder, vulcanizing stuff, and enough skill not to ruin the tire trying to fix a flat? Easy to do. More stuff laying around just in case. How do you dispose of the old tires? Take them to the tire store and they'll charge just to properly dispose of them for you.

Sorry, not seeing how a POS manual tire machine would pay for itself even if it cost $5. Can you do the math for me and demonstrate how it saves any money at all, or enough to be worth the trouble of doing your own if there's a major tire store in the vicinity?


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RE: Harbor Freight Tire Changer

I have had one for 10 years the thing works great. and it has paid for it self several times. around here it will cost you 10 dollars to mount/balance 1 tire and desposil is 3 dollars a tire ( at the land fill ) i have 3 cars 1 truck 2 atvs 8 riding mowers a boat trailer 2 pull type trailer and a camper. at one time or another almost all have had tire issuse. and yes the tire changer has PAID for itself. i do have patches and a balancer. why would'nt you have this stuff if you had a tire changer?


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RE: Harbor Freight Tire Changer

When you have a farm and paying someone to operate equipment, having tire equipment saves immensely. I have in the past taken the rim/tire assembly off and to town. Arrived and two trucks were ahead of me getting flats fixed or new tires, had to leave the tire and come back later, or even the next day, and retrieve it. Being able to repair one in fifteen minutes is a time and money saver. The guy operating the machine helps me, and it goes quick and gets things going back on track. My brother has a log skidder, but I do not even attempt to change those tires. Just to put a patch on the tube is 350 usd, this is what the tire man charges to come out, dismount the tire, and repair. We have several vehicles between us, and I use it for the old trucks, trailers, front tractor tires, skidsteer, and mowers. The new vehicles can go to the tire shop. Sometimes I just mark the flat, use a spare, then set aside some time to fix all the flat tires. I am not so much worried about saving money as I am about saving time, because the old saying is "time is money", it is not the other way around. I don't like having to take something to town, maybe leave it and have to go back later, pay somebody, because my time to to back and forth to town a couple of times is worth something too. I will work hard to tackle that flat to save all that time. Plus, around my shop, if a tire is ruined, I can just browse the junk pile and find something else that holds air, to replace it with, and my old tires are not at the tire store....Plus, we have not even touched on the subject of having a flat late Saturday afternoon, or on Sunday, that is a whole other subject, because a lot happens on the weekend around here. We have fifty thousand chickens that lay thirty thousand eggs a day, cows, goats, horses, etc... In my opinion, if you have more than just a couple of vehicles to maintain, having your own tire repair equipment is a step in the right direction. Believe me, I fix plenty for family, friends, and neighbors during the off hours at various times. I even have a truck with a crane on it so I can handle the large rear tractor tires filled with water. It has all paid for itself. I guess it is all in how you look at it. I thought that coming across an old manual tire changer was the best thing since buttered bread.


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