Innovative Recycling: Transforming Old Tires into Car Body Armor

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Rubber and automobiles have shared a mutually beneficial relationship since the advent of the motor wagon. The elastic material has firmly entrenched itself in the car-making industry as an indispensable solution for keeping the wheels turning.

However, tires have multiple applications on a car beyond being just a point of contact with the ground; they can also serve as a form of paint and body protection.

The mainstream use of automotive tires involves installing them on circular metallic supports, commonly known as ‘wheels.’ The rolling motion of the rubber compound facilitates the easy movement of whatever they are affixed to.

However, there’s another unconventional use: flooring the accelerator pedal until a thick cloud of rubber smoke envelopes the surroundings.

Regardless of the application, tires inevitably wear out over time and are no longer suited for automotive functions—or are they? As you might have guessed, the following narrative delves into another intriguing episode of Garage 54’s makeshift contraptions. So, sit back and enjoy the ‘Why didn’t I think of this before?’ fun session.

Once tires reach the end of their life, they are ideally recycled rather than ending up in landfills or strewn by the roadside. The raw material is repurposed into various forms, one of which is crumb rubber. This finely ground rubber, ranging from speck-like particles to half an inch in size, finds its way into numerous applications like playgrounds, sports fields, and parks.

The smallest and most sophisticated use of recycled rubber is crumb rubber, typically in a 10:20 mesh size (approximately between 0.08 and 2 mm, or 1/8th to 3/4th of an inch). This mesh size denotes the number of holes in every square inch of the sizing screens.

Garage 54, the team of car enthusiasts from Novosibirsk, Russia, has ingeniously chosen this crumb rubber as a perfect body protective element.

No, they’re not protecting human bodies, but rather the sheet metal panels of automobiles. The fine granules of recycled rubber are mixed with glue and evenly spread over an old Soviet-era Lada 1200. In typical Garage 54 fashion, the application involves rudimentary tools and plenty of elbow grease.

The team coats the exposed parts of the car with a mixture of glue and alcohol, then meticulously lays and presses the rubber granules onto the surface.

To ensure even coverage on vertical surfaces, the Russians even resort to flipping the car on its side and pushing it by hand. Once the rubber plating settles and the glue dries, the transformed Lada hits the road for testing.

The results are immediate and impressive. Not only does the car sport a sleek matte black finish compared to its original worn-out appearance, but the protective rubber layer also serves as a sound deadener, reducing vibrations and noise.

Moreover, the rubber coating enhances the car’s aesthetic appeal, giving it a stealthy look reminiscent of Cold War-era stealth technology.

However, the primary purpose of this experiment is practical rather than aesthetic. The crumb rubber coating is designed to protect the car’s body from minor scratches and abrasions. Field testing confirms its effectiveness, as the rubberized Lada withstands brushes and impacts without a scratch.

With innovative experiments like these, Garage 54 continues to demonstrate the potential of unconventional solutions in the automotive world. Who would have thought that old tires could find new life as body armor for cars


By Park-Shin Jung

I am Park-Shin Jung. I am a professional content writer for cars.

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