An easy way to ruin your wheels

| 4/9/2008 12:08:06 PM

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King of cheap that I am, I routinely find myself installing tires for one reason or another. When it comes to getting that rubber to slip over the rim, I typically use whatever slippery liquid I have at hand, including soap, oil and grease, without much thought to how it might interact with the rim. According to the following tech tip posted on Randakk’s Cycle Shakk at, the type of rim plays a role in what you use to grease that tire into position. – Richard Backus

The following Tech Tip is courtesy of Honda GL parts and restoration specialist Randall Washington at Randakk’s Cycle Shakk, and was supplied to Randakk’s by noted GL1100 guru Howard Halasz. Howard is a frequent contributor of technical columns and other information to GWRRA's Wing World Magazine ( This Tech Tip applies to any motorcycle with aluminum rims: 

If you decide to change your own tires, you can safely use soapy water as a lubricant to dismount the old tire and mount the new tire.

However, if your rim is made of anything other than chrome plated or stainless steel, I do not advise you to use soapy water.

A local Honda dealer here in Houston installed new tires, front and rear, on my customer's 1999 GL1500SE Last week the customer brought his Gold Wing to my shop to install new fork seals and steering head bearings. He told me that his front tire had a slow leak.

Howard Halasz
4/26/2008 11:20:18 AM

I tried Vaseline, axle grease, rear end gear oil, motor oil, soapy water, Crisco, Mazola oil, olive oil, 3-in-1 oil, WD-40, Lionel electric train oil, cod liver oil, castor oil, candle wax, and Vicks Vapo-Rub back in my early daze of wrenching on bikes -- 1965 to 1983. I'm a little bit older and wiser at the age of 62. Howard Halasz

4/11/2008 5:46:14 AM

...Vaseline, axle grease, rear end gear oil, motor oil, soapy water, Crisco, Mazola oil, olive oil, 3-in-1 oil, WD-40, Lionel electric train oil, cod liver oil, castor oil, and candle wax to Vicks Vapo-Rub. All of these products had major drawbacks when it came to tire mounting lubricant and sealant! Of course they have drawbacks, they aren't tire mounting compounds. Why does everyone experiment with everything but what was made to do the job? I bought a gallon of tire lube (Ru-glide) at the local NAPA twenty years ago for tire changing. Works great and still have some.

russell danish
4/10/2008 11:06:59 AM

i use "rim slip" to mount tires,its made for this purpose and works great!

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