What is Tire Lube? (Its Purpose, Is It Necessary + Alternatives)

In many cases, you won’t be mounting or dismounting tires on your car yourself, though if you decide to do it yourself, tire lube is a commonly suggested material for mounting tires.

However, you may wonder if tire lube is really necessary, and what exactly tire lube does. If you’d like to find out, keep reading below for more information on this topic!

What is Tire Lube?

Tire lube is a lubricant that is specifically made for mounting and demounting tires. Without it, the friction may cause damage to the tires and will make it extremely difficult to get the tires mounted properly. A commercially-sold lubricant is often the best option for use, though there are some alternative options available as well.

For more information on what you can use as a tire lube, what mounting lubricant is made of, what the purpose of lubricant is, and more, keep reading to learn more facts and tips!

What is the Purpose of Tire Lubricant?

When you are mounting and demounting a tire, you can potentially damage the tire beads.

However, lubricant can prevent this from happening, as it lowers friction and reduces the chance of improper installation during the process.

Furthermore, using lubricant can also make mounting the tire much easier. Without the friction, you’ll use much less force, making the overall process much easier.

Is Tire Lubricant Necessary?

Technically, you can attempt to mount a tire without using lubricant. However, this will likely cause damage to your tires or cause them to be fitted improperly.

Therefore, if you want to successfully complete the job without damaging your tires, you’ll likely want to use a lubricant.

Preferably, you should have a decent supply of lubricant available before you start any mounting or dismounting job, and a professionally-made option is often better (these aren’t terribly expensive, either).

However, you can also make your own lubricant if you wish. You should be very careful about the ingredients, though, as some ingredients can damage your car over time.

For instance, dish soap can damage the protective wax on the car, though it is often considered a safe option.

Nevertheless, purchasing a commercially-made lubricant is preferable to avoid potentially dangerous ingredients, and professional options have been tested for safety.

What Can You Use as Tire Lube?

Preferably, you should use a professional tire lube anytime you plan on mounting or dismounting a tire, as tire lube was specifically designed for this purpose. Therefore, it tends to be your best option.

However, you may not always have professional tire lube available, and in these cases, you may be able to use a DIY option.

Usually, vegetable oil is a commonly suggested option. However, it is never going to be as good as a professional option, professional lubricants have rust-inhibitors in them which protect the rim from rust.

What is Tire Mounting Lubricant Made of?

In many cases, tire-mounting lubricant is simply petroleum gel that is designed for heavy-duty applications and provides a long-lasting, effective option for most tires.

In fact, most lubricants will have a similar consistency to Vaseline.

Can You Use Dish Soap to Mount Tires Instead Of Tire Lube?

Can You Use Dish Soap to Mount Tires Instead Of Tire Lube?

While a professional lubricant is always recommended, dish soap is often considered an alternative when tire lube is unavailable.

However, soap isn’t always the best option, as over time, dish detergent soap can harm the rubber.

Therefore, while soap is slippery enough to act as a lubricant, you may be disappointed later on.

The explanation behind the effect is that dish soap fights grease, which is very similar to wax. Therefore, the dish soap will strip the protective waxes off your car, which can harm the rim and tire, as well as your car’s paint.

In contrast, it is always in your best interest to purchase a dedicated lubricant when mounting your tires in order to prevent potentially harming your rim or tire.

Is Vegetable Oil a Good Car Lube?

Vegetable oils have long been used as a lubricant. After all, this natural material is extremely slippery and is also biodegradable. Therefore, if you’re environmentally friendly, you may be interested in this oil.

As well, vegetable oil also has a high flash point, which is always an essential feature for any lubricant going in a car.

However, vegetable oil will not stick around as long as a professional option, meaning you may have to use more, as one coating may not last the whole time. Compared to professionally crafted options, vegetable oil oxidizes very quickly.

It should be noted that you can treat vegetable oil to make it more stable and provide more protection.

However, this often isn’t recommended, since it requires a lot of work and professional equipment. For this reason, purchasing a professional option for tire lube is often best.

To know more about tires, you can also check our posts on how much does it cost to rotate tires, if tires affect gas milleage, and how are tires recycled.

Conclusion

If you’re mounting tires to your car, a lubricant is absolutely necessary, otherwise, you may end up with a damaged or improperly mounted tire. Plus, mounting would be much more difficult without the lubricant.

Purchasing a commercially-made lubricant is always your best option, though there are some DIY alternatives such as vegetable oil that work just as well, albeit pose more risk for cosmetic damage to your vehicle (paint job etc).

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