Tires are made of rubber, but it’s not just any old rubber that tire companies scrounge up on a whim. There are specific compounds used for tires and they’re designed to exacting standards. There are summer tires, winter tires, and performance tires because each offers its best grip in specific conditions. The temperature, road surface, and speed a tire can handle are all carefully engineered. Thinking of tires as just hunks of black rubber on your wheels is wrong. This is why you can’t simply replace a tire with another rubber, like rubber bands.
It’s not something most people would ever think to try and that’s a good thing. If you have a problem with your tires, then you need to purchase new tires designed for your car and where you drive that car. Maybe, just maybe, you balked at the price of tires and wondered if there was something else you could use instead. You may have wondered, but you never dared try any of your crazy substitute ideas. Bring on the Russians.
Garage 54 ENG is a Russian YouTube channel that tries all sorts of crazy things with cars. They actually do the things you thought of when you were sitting there with your buddies having one too many beers on a Saturday night.
The video itself is in Russian, but it’s all dubbed in English so you can hear what’s happening and follow their latest undertaking. The idea for the rubber band tire actually came from fans of the channel who made the suggestion.
The guys start with a wheel and painstakingly attach 25,000 rubber bands in place of a tire. Their first challenge is that their high-quality rubber bands keep snapping. Tying the broken ends of a few pieces together worked to created bigger rubber bands, but slowed down the process quite a bit.
Undeterred, our Russian YouTubers and a crew of helpers spent the better part of three nights building the rubber band tire. The finished rubber band tire is large enough to keep the wheel itself from touching the road, but it wasn’t exactly standard-sized when it was all done.
The easy part was mounting the wheel to the car and then taking it out for a spin. At low speed on dry pavement, this Frankenstein creation worked just fine. The problem came when they picked up speed and it slowly started to come apart. A slow demise is no fun. The obvious solution? A burnout until the rubber bands are completely shredded.