Why You Should Use Tire Irons Instead Of Screwdrivers When You Change The Tires On Your Dirt Bike
I am doing this comparison using tire irons instead of tire spoons.
If you were set on using screwdrivers, to begin with, you probably don’t change your tires much and spending $50 on a nice set of tire spoons and a bead holder isn’t practical right now (but here they are if you want some).
Or, you’re just in a… pinch (Pre-Pun!)
When using screwdrivers to change your tire, you run the risk of damaging the tire, the tube, and the rim. Each one more way more expensive than buying the right tools, to begin with.
Yes, In a pinch, you can change your tire with screwdrivers. But you need to be much more patient, and this article will show you what to watch out for when screwdrivers are your only option.
Lucky for you, I made a different article where I show you how to change your tire using tools you already have.
What Damages Tubes, Rims, & Tires?
When changing your tire, your primary focus is to not damaging anything because damage means dollars.
It’s all about point of contact.
The point of contact with the tire, rim & tube is where most damage occurs. This is where the pressure is the greatest.
With a screwdriver, the body is narrow, and your edge is thin, square, pointed and flat. This focuses all the pressure on one small spot.
With a tire iron, the body is wide, and your edge is wide, rounded, smooth, and curved. This spreads the pressure across a wider contact area.
When under pressure, your screwdriver is 100 times more likely to rip your tire bead than the iron is for two reasons.
The sharp square edge is the obvious cause, but the shape of the screwdriver is what makes the edge so damaging.
The flat end of your screwdriver needs more pressure to keep the tire hooked when pulling it up and away from the rim.
The end of your tire iron is curved to avoid that exact problem.
With ANY tool, you run the risk of pinching your tube. Avoiding this is merely a matter of patience and skill.
Dirt bike tire tubes are VERY strong, and the majority of flats are caused by a loose rim lock. So losing a tube because you pinched it during install is insanely frustrating.
When I drag my screwdriver edge across the tube vs. the iron, you can see the edge of the screwdriver makes a more noticeable mark.
When I push the ends of the screwdriver and irons directly into the tube, you can see the shape of the iron gives the tube more room to stretch.
The larger surface area of the iron lets the tube distribute the pressure across a wider area of rubber, greatly reducing the chances of a puncture.
As mentioned earlier, a wider point of contact reduces the chances of damage. This is exactly how the rims on your dirt bike hold up to the insane forces put on them. Every impact is spread out across the tire, rim, and spokes.
But when you put hundreds of pounds of pressure on a single spot, your rim can bend, or in my case, crack.
You know where I’m going with this.
The narrow shaft of your screwdriver focuses all the pressure on one tiny spot on your rim, whereas the iron has a larger point of contact to distribute that pressure.
The best way to make sure your tire, tube, and rim stay undamaged is to take your time.
I hope this article will motivate you to go buy some basic tire irons (here) and save yourself some money and headaches!
If you have any questions or anything to add, please leave them in the comments or on our FaceBook page!