Tires are an everyday tool and convenience that we just can't help but take for granted. You probably never thought of what happens to your tires when you're done using them. The truth is, not much was being done with used tires other than letting them take up space. According to Mother Nature Network, there were 189 million scrap tires lying dormant in U.S. dumps in 2009, creating unbelievable fire hazards and breeding grounds for mosquitoes and rats. Today, it is estimated that we are using 80 percent of our used tires to make everything from playground matting, animal bedding, mulch, even auto parts.
Rubber from used tires is an incredible resource and something anyone can use to make practically anything. If you want to try your hand at a little used tire DIYing, here are 25 incredible ways to turn an old tire into new treasures.
Large industrial tires make a perfect border for a backyard or playground sandbox. Not only is this tire big enough to hold a lot of sand, its rubber will protect little ones from bumps and bruises as opposed to traditional wooden sandboxes.
2. Tire Shelves
If your child loves the movie Cars or is just a budding autophile, tire shelves could be the perfect addition to their raceway-themed bedroom décor. One standard car tire cut into quarters could produce four sturdy corner shelves.
3. Tire Ottoman
Used tires are already the perfect size and shape for a living room ottoman. Simply dress the tire up with twine or your favorite fabric to create a home accent that is truly unique. There are so many ways to do this that the possibilities are limitless.
4. Tire Coffee Table
Some spray paint, industrial-strength glue, and a glass tabletop is all you need for a bold, edgy coffee table. The texture of the tire perfectly juxtaposes the smooth glass top to create an accent table with definite personality.
5. Playground Obstacle Course
Again, because used tires are made from semi-soft rubber, they make incredibly safe additions to playground and backyards. Create a boot camp-like obstacle course to really get their hearts pumping!
6. Bike Rack
Simple yet such a brilliant solution, this bike rack is made from half-cut used tires bolted to the ground to wedge front bike tires into an upright position. If you have used tires at your disposal, call your local parks department and see if they would be interested using them for this installation.
7. Sculpture Art
OK so this one clearly isn't for everyone. Molding used tire rubber into a stunning work of art like this is no easy DIY project. But if you've ever been interested in sculpting, starting with rubber is not a bad idea. It's relatively easy to manipulate and if you mess up, you can still find ways to repurpose the scrap material. Win, win!
8. Tire Garden Bench
Here's another use for large industrial tires. A few materials (tractor tire, wooden plank, stainless steel tubing) and a lot of elbow grease can create a bench just like this one for your garden or yard.
9. Garden Stools
No joke, these tire chairs are way more comfortable than they look. With some strong woven Bungee cord and wooden rungs, you can create an entire seating arrangement with used car tires. Don't forget that Bungees come in a variety of bright colors so go crazy!
10. Garden Tea Cups
Create your own art installation to add some fun and whimsy to your garden with these adorable tire tea cups. Some cut tires, bolts, and paint are all you need for this Alice in Wonderland inspired piece.
11. Tire Roof Shingles
Because rubber is so easy to mold, it makes great material for roofing shingles. Not to mention, it lets you get a little creative with the shapes. Tire rubber may even be a little stronger than traditional roofing material, making your new rubber roof a sound investment.
12. Old-Fashioned Tire Swing
An oldie but a goodie, tire swings are a tried and true method of repurposing old tires. Park tire swings are traditionally chained to a swing set but backyard tire swings can simply consist of a tire hanging from a tree with a sturdy rope.
13. New Tire Swing
How cool is this?! Create a structured hammock swing with half-cut tires and rope. The size of these tires is perfect for little kids to sit snugly inside.
14. Tire Climbing Structure
Rope climbing structures are great but it can be easy to get your foot caught in them (and get a mean rope burn, ouch!). Tire climbing structures give you plenty of space and may be just a little more forgiving on kids' feet.
15. Tire Basket
Whether it's a fruit basket or a laundry basket, it can easily be made from a used tire. While you may be a little put off by the rough look of tire rubber, remember two things. One, those rubber handles look pretty comfy. And two, black goes with everything, right?
16. Tire Belt
Add a little edge to your look with a black rubber tire belt. All you need are some bicycle tires with a tread design that is to your liking, a belt buckle, Chicago screws, scissors, and a leather hole puncher. Boom! You are now just a little cooler.
17. Tire and Beer Bottle Chandelier
Now we're getting really rustic! Colored glass is always a superb idea for indoor lighting fixtures. Add to that a tire centerpiece and you have one tough yet aesthetically pleasing chandelier.
18. Tire Bird Feeder
This decorative bird feeder is a junkyard dream with endless possibilities. You can cut a used tire into any shape you like, fit a small bowl into it, paint it any color, hang it outside and wait for your feathered friends to come check it out.
19. Tire Water Fountain
Now here are two things you'd never think you would see together. But somehow it works, right? The real creativity is in the painting of the tire. Go bold with a bright color or simply outline the tread to highlight its natural form.
20. Tire See Saw
This simple invention will keep kids entertained for hours. All you need is a wooden plank and some paint to create one rockin' seat.
21. Tire Mirror
Add the perfect touch to any man cave with a tire-rimmed mirror. This is a great idea for the gear head in your life.
22. Tire Wall Planters
Spruce up your barn or fence with these unbelievably simple tire planters. Simply bolt a tire to a wall, fill with dirt, and plant your flowers. The sturdy rubber will keep all the soil and water in place so your blooming beauties will be sure to thrive. Plus, the overhead protection will keep them safe from the elements.
23. Tire Stool Planters
You'll never have to buy another terracotta pot again if you have used tires at your disposal. All you need to do is add a base and start planting.
24. Tire Storage Bin
This is also a terrific idea if you have a household with small children. Toy bins are always a blessing but rubber ones are both practical and safe. The addition of wheels on the bottom is also a nice touch, making the bin easy to move from room to room as needed.
25. Tire Floor Mat
Perhaps the simplest tire repurposing, outdoor floor mats always come in handy, especially in the winter when rain and mud are running amok. Plus, the tire tread is perfect for wiping your feet on and stomping out the dirt before you step inside.
Feeling inspired to take on your own used tire DIY project? Which one will you try?
Packing for a road trip can be tricky, especially if it's your first long trip by car. Pack too much, and you and your passengers may feel like your stuff is encroaching on you. Pack too little, and you could find yourself at a place like the one pictured above, asking the bewildered cashier if the store has socks for sale. Rule #1 for traveling is "Don't forget your socks!"
Of course there's more to a road trip than remembering to bring extra pairs of socks. When it comes right down to it, the only things you need for a road trip are a car, extra clothes, snacks, and a few emergency supplies.
It should go without saying, but you'll want enough clean clothes to last until you return or arrive at your destination, assuming there's a place to wash them when you get there. Look closely at the route you intend to take. It might be warm where you are and where you're going, but if you have to pass through the mountains the temps will be much, much lower during that leg of the trip. Bring extra clothes, including items for both warm and cold weather. And remember Rule #1. Don't forget your socks!
Some people consider gas station food, like gut-busting hot dogs and warmed-over taquitos, a "road trip ritual." Others can't stand eating junk from gas stations. Regardless of where you intend to eat, you'll definitely want to have water to drink and a few snacks. The best way to carry healthy snacks while road tripping is to prepare them the night before and keep them in a cooler during the trip. Spring rolls and good, old-fashioned sandwiches make for great road trip fare without letting the gas stations get the best of your diet.
There are two categories of emergency supplies you need for a road trip. Keep a first aid kit on hand in case anything happens to you or your companions during the trip. Also keep an emergency kit for the car, just in case something happens to it. Look for an emergency kit with orange traffic triangles, a funnel, a single-use gas jug, and a simple repair kit that includes a few hand tools. Many "car problems" can be fixed by a handy traveler right on the side of the road.
Be sure to bring a car-charger for your cell phone, too. In the event of a real emergency, you can dial 911 almost anywhere in the U.S.A. and someone will answer.
The short answer is "YES!"
If you're in the market for snow tires, you're in the market for four of them. You don't want to buy two for the drive wheels. We'll tell you why.
Snow tires on a front wheel drive car
Let's say you're looking for snow tires for a front wheel drive car like a Honda Accord. While you're looking, you get a brilliant idea for cutting your costs in half. If you buy two tires instead of four, you'll save a lot of money. As long as you put the snow tires on the front, you reason, you should have little trouble driving up and down icy hills after it snows. Brilliant, you think. "I'll take two."
"That's a terrible idea" says the man behind the counter.
"Why is that?" you ask.
Then the man at the tire shop explains what happens when you brake on an icy surface with snow tires up front and all-seasons in the back. You run the risk of locking up the rear tires first and spinning out on an otherwise straight road, during an otherwise routine braking maneuver.
Physics aside, if you want to see this for yourself go ahead and tape the rear wheels of a toy car so that they don't spin. Now try pushing the car down a hallway without it spinning out. It spins every time, which is the same thing that could happen on the highway if you opt for half the required number of snow tires on your front wheel drive car.
Snow tires on a rear wheel drive car
Something different happens when you put snow tires on the drive wheels of a rear wheel drive car. Although the snow tires will help you get started when it's icy, the car will have a "split personality" when it's dry outside because the rear wheels have less traction than the front. When pushed on a dry road, the car tends to over steer. When pushed on a slick road, the car tends to understeer.
Although you may not plan to push the car to its limits, exigent circumstances often force drivers to make sudden and abrupt maneuvers in order to avoid an accident. For a car to be safe, it should retain its basic handling characteristics regardless of road conditions. Installing the same tire on all four wheels helps the car remain balanced and predictable on dry, wet, and icy roads.
Staying safe on snow tires
Snow tires are a tremendous asset for winter weather driving when used correctly. Although they won't magically turn an icy road into a dry one, snow tires combined with good driving habits will give you the edge you need on the road during the winter months.