Around the internet, you'll find various uses for old tires such as making sandals for your feet. Below are some notes about how to remove a steel belted radial tire from the rim and cut it apart.

Here's the donor car for the tire and rim

The car had locking hubcaps. Luckily, the key to remove them was in the glovebox

Now that we've seen the donor car, let's take a look at the wheel and tire that were removed from it.

The tire is junk due to a couple unrepairable gouges in the sidewall. I had read on the internet that it's possible to cut a tire off the rim, and was intrigued. I looked around for my sawzall, but couldn't find it so out comes my angle grinder instead

And a small rotary dremel tool with a reinforced fiberglass cutoff wheel

A drywall knife

A long prybar

A large 8" C-Clamp

All the tools laying side by side.

Looking at how a tire changer machine like the hunter tc3500 works, you'll notice that it squeezes squeezes the two sides of the tire sidewalls inwards. Backyard mechanics don't usually have access to one of these machines, but a large c-clamp can provide similar compression.

You could get more uniform load distribution by placing a block of wood in between the c-clamp and the tire sidewall on each side

Do note that there is no hydraulic assistance with like a professional tire changing machine, so you might have to really push hard on the c-clamp handle to get it to move.

With a fully inflated tire that hasn't been cut in half like this, you'll want to remove the valve core from the valve stem first. This will allow air to freely flow in and out of the tire. If you don't have the proper valve stem tool, a pair of fine tip needle nose pliers can be used to spin the valve core out. Or you could just cut the valve stem off all together.

The tire is held to the rim by an area called the bead. This is a thick peice of rubber with a bundle of wires inside it. Tire shops use a special long prybar called a tire spoon to compress the rubber enough to lift it over the rim flange. Since most shadetree mechanics don't have this tool, the tire bead wires are going to be cut instead.

During this process, the prybar pictured above was used to keep the tire far enough away from the rim that a dremel could get in. The prybar was not used to brute-force the uncut tire bead over the rim flange because this would have left numerous tool marks on the rim.

The sidewall in between the bead and tread surface is relatively weak on steel belted radial tires. You can cut though it with a the drywall knife pictured.

You will however need a saw blade or cutoff wheel for the bead wires. That bead wire is strong stuff, and there were 16 individual wires in this particular tire.

You'll also want something other than a knife to cut through the tire tread surface. The rubber in this area is quite hard and is really thick which would take quite some time to carve out. But the big thing is that there are two layers of steel reinforcement belts here too. So you'll need a saw blade or cutoff wheel again.

The steel belts and bead wires are the silver colored reflective dots in the picture.

The nylon overlays are easy to cut through with a knife. It's the steel belts underneath that you won't be able to cut through with this tool

Even if the two peices of the tire are placed back onto the rim, it seems unlikely that the tire will ever hold air or be able to be balanced again.

Here are more pictures of one of the tires that I cut in half

Most modern production cars will have a "drop center" rim similar to this. Notice how the rim is raised on each side, and there is a lowered portion in the middle?

This was a cordovan brand tire manufactured by cooper tire in georgia. It had an "S" speed rating.

TBC Brands is the owner of the cordovan trademark

This centron model tire had a dot code of DOT 3DX0 TMT 0806. This means the tire was manufactured by cooper tire on the 8th week of 2006.

Tire Cutting Notes:

General notes: