I remember the old hay rope we had up in the barn on our old farm, we used to use it to swing from the top of a little wooden motor shed over to the mixer. This was probably really dangerous, no it was definitely dangerous, but we wanted to be like Indiana Jones, I mean who didn’t back then right?
We never did get anything more than a couple bumps or bruises, which was lucky I guess. When we first moved in to our house my wife pointed out a tree limb on one of our trees and said that it looked like a good spot for a tire swing. Now four years and one two year old later I got to work making a tire swing.
Now I am your typical male so I set about creating a tire swing, Tim The Toolman Taylor style of course, (popular sitcom during the 90’s called Home Improvement, still not ringing any bells, sorry I’m dating myself now). So I of course procured a semi tire instead of just a normal car tire!
If you are looking for a good source of free tires drive out to the country and visit some local farms, they usually have plenty of extra tires laying around and are eager to get rid of them! A little steel wool and dish soap is all you need to clean off any grease, dirt, manure, or whatever else may be included with your free tire!
All you need once you get the tire is a length of chain long enough to reach the height of where the swing will be hung and also long enough to make your three supports that attach to the tire. Then you need three eye bolts, three nuts, and some anti seize. I used a large heavy duty carabiner to attach all three chains to a large hook in the center and one small carabiner for each of the three support chains. Please feel free to use these affiliate links if there are any tools you need to get for this project. I used some fender washers that fit the eye bolts, a sharp drill bit that works for steel, and a good ratchet.
It took me about 30 min to put the whole thing together it is pretty simple. You can measure out the placement of the support chains if you want to, as long as you get them pretty close it will hang just fine. Use a good sharp drill bit and one you don’t mind ruining, tires are really tough on drill bits, make sure you use a bit that is at least one size larger than your eye bolt because the rubber will shrink around the hole as soon as you pull the bit out. Smear a good amount of anti seize (it’s a little pricey but one can will last you a lifetime!) on the eye bolt and make sure you have a large fender washer on each side of the eye bolt. Once you tighten the bolt the washer on the inside will keep the nut from pulling through the rubber over time and the washer on the outside will keep the wires from sticking out and hurting anyone.
Get all of your eye bolts in place and tightened, then you are ready to cut your support chains. Get an idea of how much room you will need to sit in between the chains, it will be different depending on the size of the tire and the size of the people who are going to swing on it. Mine are about 3 feet long because right now my wife gets more use out of the swing than anyone else! I used an air cut off tool from my days in the shop to cut the chains which takes seconds but you can use a hack saw, sawzall, or bolt cutter, whatever you have on hand. The best way to measure chains is just to count the links and make sure they are all the same.
Once your three chains are cut attach them to the eye bolts with the medium carabiners, then attach them all in the center to the large carabiner. I used a regular medium sized chain hook with a spring clasp on the end of the main chain and just hooked both hooks together. This way when it comes time to take down the swing for winter all you have to do is unhook it, and you can also unhook each chain individually for easier storage instead of having chains dangling from the tire while you are trying to move it. The last thing you need to do is hang the swing, I set my tire on a wooden box that was the right height and then wrapped the excess chain around the tree, securing it with a stainless steel threaded chain clasp so it wont rust and I can easily take it apart to put away.
Next is the fun and enjoyment that everyone will get from having an awesome tire swing and the memories that will last a lifetime. You don’t have to make a swing that is big enough for the whole family like I did but it is a lot of fun!