How Do Beadlock Wheels Work – Complete Guide w/Video

When it comes to off-roading, one of the biggest factors that can make all the difference is the type of tire. 

The right tire can make the entire journey as smooth as a whistle and there is no better option for off-roading than a Beadlock wheel. 

They keep the tire secure on the rim and allow it to sustain multiple forces from all sides

So, what exactly are Beadlock wheels and how do they work? Read on to find out

What are Beadlock Wheels?

Beadlock wheels are a special kind of wheels that were said to be only for military vehicles for some time. 

They have an inner and outer surface that attaches to the tire bead and then the outer ring of the tire with the help of bolts. 

This ensures that the tire doesn’t slip off in the case of additional contact with the road.

Furthermore, these wheels also give a very menacing look, which is something a lot of SUV owners prefer and even replicate. 

That’s why faux bead locks are very common on the road where a lot of people put additional stickers on the rim.

However, those bead locks are not functional at all. 

The real ones lock the tire in one place and always ensure that you never have to worry about reseating the tire bead. 

How do Beadlock Wheels Work?

The wheels are exactly what they sound like. The external beads lock with the rim with the help of multiple bolts that keep the wheel always attached.

This setting prevents the tires from slipping away even if all the pressure is lost. 

Whenever tire pressure drops below a certain threshold, it’s expected that it will debead. Beadlock tires, however, don’t have such limitations because their ends are joined with a mechanical fastener.

One of the biggest reasons Beadlock tires can help in tricky off-roading situations is because of tire pressure requirements for such tracks.

Contrary to paved surfaces, off-road terrain requires lower air pressure to allow the tire to navigate the changing conditions. 

However, that lower pressure may break the bead because of varying external pressure. 

Beadlock tires eliminate this issue and allow a better grip on the road without any risks, which is exactly what you want in any off-roading trip.

Imagine getting a broken bead during a trip. There are many short-term methods to deal with a flat tire while stranded. 

However, dealing with a broken bead without the right tool can become a nightmare.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Beadlock Wheels

While Beadlock wheels have their own specific functions, they have a set of merits and demerits as well. 

If you are someone who’s considering investing in them or are just an avid fan of off-roading on the most difficult terrain. 

Then knowing what those pros and cons are is essential for you.

Here are the main advantages of opting for Beadlock wheels.

  • Aesthetic outlook: Ask anyone, beadlock tires simply look cooler because of their sheer presence and style. That’s precisely why you’ll find so many imitation-style Beadlock rims in the market.
  • Off-roading capabilities: Beadlock tires probably have one of the best off-roading capabilities for any tire type. They might not be a necessity for off-roading, but there is no doubt that Beadlock tires can make a huge difference in the ride quality for off-roading trips.
  •  Enhanced tire security: Beadlock wheels are guaranteed to stay attached in all conditions. This enhanced security allows the users to stay carefree and enjoy their off-roading experience rather than deal with a debeaded tire on the road.  
  • Just like the advantages, there are a few demerits to Beadlock wheels as well. Here are some of the main ones:
  • Heavy: Beadlock tires involve a greater number of overall components, which obviously weigh a lot. Heavier tires mean more fuel consumption and decreased speed.
  • Expensive: Beadlock tires aren’t just heavy, but rather, they’re also far more expensive compared to other wheels. While the benefits of the wheel more than make up for their cost. It’s still a considerable expense for you to undertake.
  • Prone to damage: The one benefit that an average wheel has over Beadlock tires is that they’re easier to maintain. You don’t really have to do much when it comes to a traditional wheel. You can simply install it and forget about it.

The same can’t be said for Beadlock Wheels.

These tires require extensive maintenance. 

Not only do you have to pay careful consideration to the tightness of the bolts, but you’ll also have to constantly adjust and re-torque the wheels for optimal performance.

The Legal Status of Beadlock Wheels

This is not true everywhere, but Beadlock wheels are typically not legal for many streets. They are not designed for paved roads and their initial applications involve navigating the roughest terrain.

On paved surfaces, the forces sustained by the tire generally come from high speeds rather than terrain differences

Beadlock tires don’t have the capability to process high speeds. 

There is a concern that the bolts can come off at high speeds and catastrophically fail, leading to a major accident.

Installation Requirements of Beadlock Wheels

In general, installing Beadlock tires is the same as installing any other tire. However, there are a few things you have to be very careful about in order to avoid any issues down the line.

First things first, it’s essential to ensure that the bolts are properly tightened at the same torque. 

A torque wrench is your best bet as it ensures consistent performance throughout the process.

The installation process is quite simple. Just like the regular tire, lubricate the external end, and apply pressure on the tire to put it on the bead. 

Once done, add the Beadlock frame and start screwing the bolts in their respective threads for optimum performance.

Key Takeaways

Beadlock tires are a popular choice for off-roaders because of their performance and menacing look.

However, one of their main disadvantages is that they are not roadworthy because it’s dangerous to use them at high speed

From an aesthetic point of view, Beadlock wheels look excellent and that is one of the main reasons why they are so popular in the off-roading community. 


Dean Alvarez, TireForge Head Author

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