Rednecks are a resourceful lot. They often use very extraordinary methods to accomplish very ordinary tasks. Like using a tarp and a pickup truck to make a hot tub. Or using a beer can and duct tape to fix…anything. Necessity is definitely the mother of invention, and in the video below, you will see how a little off-road ingenuity combined with some determined good ole’ boys show you how to mount a tire redneck-style, using nothing but a match and some firecrackers. Yes, you read that right, firecrackers. What’s there to worry? Think of the bright side, if it goes badly, you can just grab the garden rake, a pack of hot dogs, and grill supper!
Tire Care 101
In order to keep a tire on the wheel, you need; a) tire pressure, and b) a secure tire bead seal. It doesn’t matter if you’re running an All Terrain tire, a chunky Off Road tire, snow tires, or a performance tire, you’ve got to maintain proper air pressure to keep the tire beads seated on the wheel. If enough air pressure is lost, the tire will separate from the rim, and you won’t be able to just “air it up”.
What is a Tire Bead?
A tire bead is that bit of rubber on the inner edge of the tire, just behind the lip of the wheel. It’s made of a special rubber compound, molded around a length of steel bead wire. The rubber is shaped to fit securely against the edge of the wheel, and the steel ensures an airtight seal. The air volume inside the tire pushes against the sidewall, keeping the tire bead pressed against the wheel. If the tire bead ever detaches from the wheel, all the air will rush out, and not only will you have a flat tire, but you run the risk of permanently damaging the structural integrity of the tire.
It’s common practice with A/T tires and off-road tires, to partially deflate them when you’re out on the trail. This allows more of the tire to be in contact with the ground, improving both grip and traction. However, severe terrain can often cause the tire to roll too far on the rim, breaking the tire bead seal. In this situation, using fire to mount a tire can be a useful ‘trail fix’.
Mounting a Tire the Traditional Way
Since a tire bead is held against the wheel with air pressure, you’ve got to inject enough air between the rim and the tire, to force the tire bead to seat itself onto the lip of the wheel. The air pressure from a standard compressor won’t have enough force to push the tire bead over the wheel lip. That’s why most tire shops use a compressor with a special dump valve that can blast a giant amount of air into a tire in less than a second. This makes the tire seal against the rim, and a soap-like liquid is brushed onto the tire bead prior to the air blast, helping the tire bead seat itself in one blast.
Using Fire to Mount a Tire
Now that you’ve got some background on tire safety and how a tire mounts onto a wheel, let’s talk about using fire to seal a tire. In the video below, you can see this guy using a firecracker to seat a tire bead. And although ignoring basic tire safety can be dangerous, this redneck gold shows a man successfully using explosions to fix their tire. It can be a pretty timely trail hack for us offroaders, so let’s talk about why it works.
If you paid attention in school, then you might recall that hot air expands very quickly. That’s the basic premise behind using fire to mount a tire onto the rim. Creating a small explosion between the tire and the wheel will cause extremely high pressure to form in that cavity, forcing the tire sidewalls to expand and seat the tire bead onto the rim. It’s a logical solution that can work brilliantly. But should you try it?
Tire Safety 101 tells us that rubber tires are extremely flammable, and they can burn for quite a long time if they’re ever fully ignited. So obviously, adding an accelerant like Ether/Starting Fluid, propane, or gasoline, is not recommended. If your fiery explosion goes array, the tire could ignite and burst into flames putting your truck or even worse, yourself in danger.
Secondly, if Bubba McTirethumper gets too happy with the accelerant, too much pressure could buildup, and the entire tire could explode. This would turn the tire’s internal steel belts into shrapnel, and your moment of redneck glory would be lost as everyone ducks for cover. This is obviously a ‘worst case scenario’. But the explosion could still cause the tire to over-inflate, and releasing said air pressure can potentially turn the tire valve stem into a projectile.
So consider yourself warned. Using fire or firecrackers to mount a tire can work and as you can see in the video below, it can even be a pretty sweet trail hack. However, just like an old toilet can be used as a flower pot. But just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should…