What type of lube should I use to install a tire?
Many people ask what type of lube to use when installing a tire. Using some type of lubrication will make it much easier to install a tire. Tire mounting lubricant is really the only recommended option. This is the tire mounting lubricant we use and it works very well.
Tire manufacturers recommend:
Always lubricate with approved tire mounting lubricant or mild vegetable oil or mild soap solution. Never use antifreeze, silicones or petroleum-base lubricants. This will damage the tire.
Clean and lubricate beads without grease but using soapy water.
Clean and lubricate bead with tire mounting lubricant or soapy water.
On the web there are some negative comments regarding soap as a tire install lubricant. Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH) is used to make soap, but is not present in the final soap product if the soap is made correctly. NaOH can damage aluminum.
However, the NaOH should get consumed in the soap making process. Some people refer to http://www.randakks.com/TechTip62.htm, but this should not happen if the soap was made correctly. Soap is also recommended by tire manufacturers as an install lubricant. If you are worried about soap damage then use tire mounting lubricant.