Tire iron


Tire iron

A tire iron (tyre iron, or tyre lever, in British English) is a specialized metal tool used in working with tires that have inner tubes.

Tire irons usually come in pairs, or threes, and are used to pry the edge of a tire away from the rim of the wheel it has been mounted on. After one iron has pried a portion of the tire from its wheel, it is held in position while a second iron is applied further along the tire to pry more of the tire away from the wheel. This allows enough of the tire to be separated so that the first iron can be removed, and used again on the far side of the other iron. Alternating in this way, a person can work his way all the way around the tire to fully remove it from the wheel, in order to reach the tube that sits inside.

Tire irons have not been in common use for automobile tires since the shift to the use of tubeless tires in the late 1950s. The term is now often used to refer to a lug wrench, which is included along with a spare tire and jack on most new cars. Bicycle tire irons are still in use for those tires which have a separate inner tube, and can have a hooked C-shape cut into one end of the iron so that it may be hooked on a bicycle spoke to hold it in place. These are, however, more often referred to by bicycle mechanics and enthusiasts as tire levers rather than irons, presumably because those used on bicycles are now often made from plastic instead of metal.

Due to their weight, tire irons also appear as weapons in many stories, including Going to See Georges by Glendon Swarthout, the Hardy Boys series, Brokeback Mountain and in a song by the Australian grindcore group Blood Duster, "Raped With a Tyre Iron".

Bicycle tire irons

A tire lever is a tool for removing or replacing tires on wheel rims. It is sometimes called a tire iron, though this is less common when referring to bicycle tire levers, as they are often made of plastic, not metal.

Tire levers for bicycle tires have one end that is tapered and slightly curved. The other end is usually hooked so that it can be hooked around a spoke to keep the tire bead free of the rim at one point, allowing a second lever to be manipulated forward, progressively loosening a larger segment of the tire bead from the rim.

A common feature of tire levers is the lack of sharp edges. The slightest pinch of an inner tube by a lever can weaken or puncture it. It is good practice to examine a set of tire levers for any sharp edges and file them smooth and round. Classically tire levers were made of metal. However plastic ones are now manufactured which are even less sharp and less likely to puncture the tube. There are also some single lever varieties, which can be popped under the bead at one point then quickly pushed around the rim to pop the bead off.

Tire levers are not necessary or desirable in all cases. In some cases, the tire can be reinserted on the rim, and sometimes removed from the rim, without the use of tire levers. This reduces the chance of puncture caused by pinching the tube between the rim and the tire bead. Sometimes they are used to fit the tire back on, but this can be done without the levers.


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Tire iron — Tire iron, n. a short steel bar with one end flattened so as to form a blade, used to remove rubber tires from the rim of a wheel. [PJC] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • tire iron — n. a crowbar with a built in socket wrench, for removing wheel covers and lug nuts of motor vehicles and for cranking a jack up or down …   English World dictionary

  • tire iron — noun hand tool consisting of a lever that is used to force the casing of a pneumatic tire onto a steel wheel • Syn: ↑tire tool • Hypernyms: ↑hand tool, ↑lever * * * ˈtire iron [tire iron] …   Useful english dictionary

  • tire iron — tire′ i′ron n. aum a short length of steel with one end flattened to form a blade, used to remove tires from wheel rims • Etymology: 1850–55 …   From formal English to slang

  • tire iron — [1] A tool for removing a tire from the rim of a wheel. See spoon tire lever. [2] A tool for removing the nuts holding a wheel to the hub since one end is flat and the other has a socket. See wheelbrace …   Dictionary of automotive terms

  • tire iron — a short length of steel with one end flattened to form a blade, used as a crowbar for removing tires from wheel rims. [1850 55] * * * …   Universalium

  • iron — [1] A colloquial term for any automobile. [2] A metal used for making steel. [3] A tire lever or tire iron. [4] A soldering iron. Also see bumper iron cast iron chilled iron laminated iron core pig iron soldering iron tire iron …   Dictionary of automotive terms

  • tire tool — noun hand tool consisting of a lever that is used to force the casing of a pneumatic tire onto a steel wheel (Freq. 1) • Syn: ↑tire iron • Hypernyms: ↑hand tool, ↑lever …   Useful english dictionary

  • tire lever — A British term for a tool used to remove and install tires by lever action or to pry off parts. See tire iron …   Dictionary of automotive terms

  • Tire — Tire, n. [Aphetic form of attire; OE. tir, a tir. See {Attire}.] 1. Attire; apparel. [Archaic] Having rich tire about you. Shak. [1913 Webster] 2. A covering for the head; a headdress. [1913 Webster] On her head she wore a tire of gold. Spenser.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.