Sometimes cutting tires is necessary for prompt disposal.
These are tricky beasts to tackle—so arm yourself and prepare for a potential struggle. You’re going to need several sharp tools, patience and strength.
Here’s how you cut your tire in half:
- Puncture along the sidewall’s tread.
- Cut this section of the tire away first.
- Use an electric circular saw, ensuring it can cut through metal.
- Slice the tire in two, or into smaller sections if desired.
What Can I Use to Cut a Tire in Half?
To cut tires in half, you’ll need a power tool—for example, an industrial chainsaw or circular saw. It needs the ability to cut through metal.
If you need to remove the sidewall first, you’ll also need a sharp blade, and dowels.
Safety Precautions When Cutting a Tire
Before we get started, there are precautions you need to take. This will help you avoid mishaps and discomfort.
Manufacturers often thread tires with steel, so protective clothing is a must. Try to avoid overly flammable clothing, in case of sparks. Make sure you also wear:
- A face covering, or welding helmet
- Large, thick, gloves—preferably flame-proof.
If possible, look into purchasing a welding apron too. It’s not vital, but an intuitive precaution to take.
Not all tires contain steel, and there’s no guarantee it’ll spark. But it’s better to be prepared than cause an accident.
Be Mindful of Location
Try to stick to areas lacking flammable shelving, or nature. You can work in or outdoors—just do it smartly.
If indoors, remove everything from your workspace that you won’t use in your task. If you have wooden shelving or otherwise immobile and flammable objects, cover them with a flame proof tarp.
In an enclosed workspace with wood or drywall, hang these tarps from your walls, too. Steel and concrete walls and flooring are safest, though.
Similarly, try working on concrete outdoors. Avoid grass and trees—even small sparks can be disastrous.
As you tear through the material, it’s going to get hot, and burning rubber stinks and produces fumes.
This is another reason to consider working outdoors. If that’s not possible, keep all the windows open, and a door to the outside open too if possible.
Make sure you take a break if the smell becomes overwhelming. Inhaling a little won’t hurt you, but burning rubber can be toxic.
How to Cut Tires Into Halves or More Pieces
Cutting up tires is easy in theory, considering their strength, and their metal content, though, it looks more arduous.
Luckily, there are simple steps to take that make the journey far easier.
Step 1: Remove the Sidewall
When combating a tire with a saw, the sidewall can get in the way. It’s much simpler to attack the thickest piece of the tire directly.
There are only two steps to removing the sidewall but, of course, you can skip the removal and get right to cutting, if you need your halves or parts to have sidewall.
Grab a sharp blade that won’t bend. An awl is best—but any sharp blade will suffice.
Create several puncture holes, an inch deep, near the tread, but avoid getting too close to it—there may be steel reinforcements in place. If you tackle the steel with a blade, you’ll damage the blade and waste time.
You can create punctures all around, or in one spot. Creating them in one spot will help you get a wider blade (consider a saw, electric or manual) inserted smoothly.
Puncturing all around the tire will make those areas a little easier to get through.
#2: Get Sawing
Once you have a puncture area large enough, work a saw or other blade of choice into the gap. Now follow a generally rounded pattern as you go.
If desired, you can lubricate your blade and tire as you cut. This will help eliminate the stench and heat caused by blade-on-tire friction. Regular WD-40 will suffice.
#3: Place Dowels
It’ll be easier to keep cutting if the tire isn’t constantly rubbing your blade. Place dowels every few inches to keep the tire separated.
Your blade has more wiggle room as you progress. so you’ll be able to remove one dowel, shove your fingers down the gap, and pull the sidewall out when you finish cutting.
Step 2: Electric Saw
Once you remove the sidewall from your car tyre, the rest is easy—in theory. You only need one tool: an electric blade that cuts through metal.
Let’s go through this in steps, too.
Before you start cutting, ensure your tire is secure. You may wish to clamp the sides if you work indoors. It’s best to use old clamps you don’t care about, on a metal table that you’re fine with scratching or denting.
Outdoors, consider securing the tire to the ground with rope.
Now you can get to work straight away. Double-check your tire is secure, ensure you have help nearby in case of a mishap, or you requiring assistance, and arm yourself with the electric saw of your choice.
Ensure this blade can cut through metal. Tires often contain steel belts, giving them more stability.
It’ll take some strength, but fire up your saw and cut straight through the tire—tackle one side at a time, cutting down into material.
Walk around to the opposite side, and make a cut there. Now your tire is in two pieces, and you can cut it into more if you wish. Remember, the smaller the pieces, the easier they are to transport and dispose of.
#3: Making Scrap Rubber
If you want to cut your tire as small as possible, consider turning it into scrap. You can use this scrap for future projects, or discard it with ease.
For this, you’ll want to cut the tire into quarters, or smaller sections. Now you’ll need an adjustable clamp or vice.
Here’s the gist of it:
- Flatten the section out, clamped at both ends if necessary.
- Cut directly through the tread with your saw, shedding the tire.
This should leave you with small, curved strips of thick rubber.
Where to Dispose of Old Tires
If you choose not to repurpose your tires, you can search for a facility that recycles them.
There may be no facility close to you—research online, or call the appropriate department in your city’s services. They’ll be able to advise you.
Please never burn your old tires as it has a detrimental effect on the environment. Also avoid taking them to a landfill—rubber bio-degrades, but it’s a slow process, which is far from ideal.
If you can’t find somewhere to recycle your tires, you could give away or use the scrap. There are many DIY enthusiasts who’d put it to excellent use.
Repurposing Old Tires
If you or someone you know enjoys DIY, there are uses for your old tires—whole and cut.
If the tire cutting intimidated you, there are plenty of ways to repurpose your old tires. You can turn them into an item to use in your home, or someone else’s. Consider:
- Tire dog bed: Spray paint the tire, fill it with blankets, and it’s an easy and cheap dog bed.
- Ottoman: If you have some yarn, wrap it around the fire, including tightly overtop, to make a simple woven-looking ottoman.
- Tire lamps: You’ll need a strong ceiling for this, but you can paint and glue bead and lace patterns onto tires, cut a hole in the top and use them as lamp shades.
- Planter: Whether you wrap your tire in yarn, spray paint it or leave it as is, tires make excellent ground planets—if you add a bottom and add legs, it looks even better.
- Table: Two spray-painted tires (link them with glue or rope) with a sheet of glass on top make a fantastic indoor or outdoor coffee table.
- Swings: A strong tree and some rope, and tire swings are excellent for kids and adults alike.
- Garden stairs: If you have an even slope, dig some holes, align tires in a stair formation and pack all gaps with dirt—now people can climb the slope with ease.
- Sandbox: If you have a toddler wanting a sandbox, you can paint a tire brightly and fill it with sand.
- Outdoor trash can: Three tires glued together, painted if you wish, make excellent outdoor trash cans for barbecues and similar gatherings—don’t forget the bag!
- Playhouse: If you have a lot of glue and some paint, you can build a playhouse for your kids out of tires.
Here are some ideas for if you went through with the cutting, but can’t find anywhere to dispose of your cut tires.
- Swings: If you add some padding to the cut portion of the tire and string it up by the sides, you can make a more traditional swing out of a tire.
- Hammocks: These half tire hammocks will only suffice for kids playing, but it’s a pleasant way to keep them comfortable and occupied.
- Seesaw: A plank of wood with some handles on top of a half tire, and you have a great plaything for young kids.
Finally, here are some ideas you can use for putting cut scrap rubber to excellent use:
- Make costumes: Scrap rubber can work well in making fake armour or animal costumes, perfect for Halloween, other holidays or simply kids’ dress up games.
- Outdoor flooring: Rubber flooring doesn’t look the best, but it can be excellent in an outdoor play area to cushion hard concrete.
- Indoor flooring: Also fantastic for cushioning hard floors, the scrap could be the base for a thin carpet that doesn’t provide enough cushioning on its own.
- Sculpting: This one is more for artists, but if there’s a sculptor in your area they may take the scrap off your hands to make an outstanding piece
- Photo frame: If you have a photo frame with cracked or weathered wood, adding strips of rubber on top can bring it to live again, especially with some metallic spray paint.
- Jar cover: If you have something in a glass jar, that looks tasty but is dangerous, the scrap can hide the attractive visual from the hungry eyes of a child.
Cutting tires in half is a tricky business, but gets easier after the first time. Ensure you take the necessary safety precautions, and nothing should go wrong.
Please don’t attempt to substitute any of the tools used in this process and dispose of your cut tires responsibly.
If you lack a place of disposal, why not turn your tires into something new and exciting? It’s a fantastic activity for you, or someone crafty in your family.