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Tech Tip: Don’t strike out when choosing a tire changer

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Whether you’re buying a tire changer for the first time or are replacing existing equipment, it’s important to do some work upfront to make sure you get a shop MVP instead of one that will get sent down to the minors. There are three common mistakes people make when choosing a tire changer. Take some tips from the pros and avoid these three strikes when you step into the buyer’s box. 

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  1. Buying based purely on price. You might think we’re going to warn against buying the cheapest tire changer you can find—and you’re right—but we’re also warning against choosing the most expensive model “just because.” Some tire changers, especially those that cost a little more, are made exclusively for high-performance wheels and tires. There are often features on these machines that sound cool, but that will actually hold you back if you’re not in that high-performance market. Before you click “buy” or write that check, be sure to talk with a product expert about important business details like the vehicles you service and how much space you have in your shop.
  2. Not understanding the numbers. For a tire changer to work properly, the tire/wheel size must be smaller than the maximum extendable range of the turntable. For example, if the specs say the turntable clamps extend to a 30-inch diameter, that doesn’t mean the machine can service a 30-in. tire, because the clamps must be able to retract further to grab the tire. When choosing a tire changer, make sure the turntable extends to the right diameter for the wheels you’ll be servicing. Also consider whether you will clamp internally or externally — that makes a big difference in which piece of equipment is best for you.
  3. Wasting time by not using an assist arm. While a swing/assist arm adds a little to the cost of a tire changer, it’s a massive time saver for most shops. And in shops that traditionally have two mechanics work on changing a single tire, it can provide a significant increase in productivity and profitability. The assist arm is pneumatically powered, locks in place and applies a lot of pressure without damaging the tire. A specially designed clamp lets the tire rotate slowly with the movement of the turntable and helps efficiently unseat the bead.

So, there you have it. Spend wisely on the right player, study the stats, and take the assist to get a tire changer that just might be a game changer, too.

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This tech tip was contributed by BendPak.

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