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Repurpose Old Tires & Wheels

Repurpose Old Tires & Wheels

About a year ago, I sold my old 1976 GMC pickup (you can read about that truck HERE).  Unfortunately, I forgot that I took the spare tire off the truck before I handed the keys to the new owner.  

It would not have mattered, as this was the original spare tire and wheel that had been riding under the pickup bed for 43 years.  It was not safe to use as the rubber had deteriorated and the wheel was crusty from so many travels down dirt roads.  See the picture above to see what I mean.

Disposing of a tire/wheel combo like this is not easy and I have a habit of thinking I can find a future use for old car parts.  My Dad was the same way, so I come by it honestly.  So, what can I do with this crusty beast?

Inspiration from Facebook

I fancy myself as pretty creative, but was not feeling inspired so turned to my Facebook friends for help.  I posted a pic of that old tire and asked the simple question: “Ideas?”  Here was the response:

  • Find an axle, bolt it to the wheel, cut the other end to length and mount a seat to it! could be a cool bar stool. (Matt Thorson from GT Garage Talk)
  • Succulent Planter (Jill Brumley)
  • Outdoor planter. Clean it. Paint it. Plant it. (Linda Pesonen) (see her pictures below, which also includes some crazy characters)
  • Swing for future grandchildren, but needs a good cleaning (Lee Yarber, sharer of the obvious) 
  • Make a clock (Brian Gilbert)
  • Tape an M80 to it and video the video the result (Bill Stuart)
  • Sandblast it and repaint it (Paul Coleman)
  • Janet Geissler even shared a link showing 43 Brilliant Ways to Reuse and Recycle Old Tires
  • And a number of table suggestions

These were all great ideas.  Being short on time due to another household project, I wanted to do something simple that could also inspire others to tackle a seemingly difficult task.

Spare Tire Ottoman

Yep…every basement man cave needs a place to rest your feet and place your drink.  It never needs to be fancy, but it should always involve car parts!

Both the wheel and tire were in rough shape.  I was able to sand most of the rust and paint pitting from the wheel, but that tire just would not come clean.  It was literally sand blasted from all of those years under the truck.

Use What You Got

For this to be a true recycle project, I did not want to buy any supplies.  Nothing.  Luckily, I have an ample supply of oil based paints on hand, so I decided to spray paint the tire with a Massey Ferguson Gray tractor paint, and brush the wheel with a custom blue Rustoleum paint I bought for a pedal car project that is waiting for completion.

Special Note About Prep:  I really wanted to keep the tire, with its white stripe, intact. I just could not get the tire clean enough. I even tried the pressure wash at the local do-it-yourself car wash. No go…all those years of exposure under the GMC stained the rubber. Good news:  all that cleaning prepped the rubber for paint.

For the table “legs,” I used four empty quart-sized paint cans I was getting ready to dispose.  They were the right height to make this an ottoman.  If I end up keeping them for this project, I may end up painting them to match.  Or not.  We’ll see.

Here are the before and after pics of this project:

dirty and rusty spare tire
painted tire and wheel sitting on 4 paint cans
spare tire with cup sitting in the center hole

As you can see in that last picture, the center bore of the wheel makes a nifty cup holder!  I suppose I could also spread chips or other snacks around the wheel and place some chip dip in that center.  Man cave ready!

Thank you to all of my friends for the ideas.  I considered Bill’s M80 idea at one point, but the responsible side of me won out.


Since I originally posted this article, I remembered that I had a stand from a broken chiminea in my backyard. as it turns out, it is the right height and diameter for this tire.

The stand and tire sitting on the stand are shown below. My dog, Lucky, is shown for scale.

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1 Comment

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