The finite element analysis of tires under a vertical footprint load requires the use of three‐dimensional models. The excessive CPU time required for such models, especially when the tire construction is considered in detail, makes parametric studies difficult and time‐consuming. Therefore, one of the principal objectives of finite element program development is to provide an efficient tool for the three‐dimensional analysis of tires so that it can be integrated into the design process effectively. In the present study, a systematic finite element procedure is developed for solving loaded tire problems. The principal elements of this procedure are an efficient pre‐processor for input generation, a multipoint constraint option to allow the user to exploit any existing symmetry in the problem, and a procedure for generating initial conditions from axisymmetric analyses. This procedure can be used to conduct parametric studies on loaded tires by using a rather coarse mesh and large load steps, thus leading to a significant reduction in CPU time, with a minimum sacrifice in solution accuracy. The efficiency of this procedure is illustrated with the analysis of a radial automobile tire.