How To Remove Tires and Re-Use Rims

How To Remove Tires and Re-Use Rims

No one likes to throw away perfectly good stuff, especially when it’s RC parts. But when it comes to worn-out tires, they usually hit the trash bin glued to perfectly good rims. The glue that allows the tires to stay stuck despite jumps, bumps, cornering forces and centrifugal force also makes them darn near impossible to remove from the rims–so in the trash they go. But they don’t have to! By soaking the tires and wheels in acetone, you can break down the cyanoacrylate glue to completely remove the tires and re-use your rims.


RC Car Action - RC Cars & Trucks | How To Remove Tires and Re-Use Rims
  • Sharp tire scissors
  • One-gallon of acetone (available at any hardware store)
  • Paint bucket with a snap-on lid
  • Funnel
  • Rubber gloves
  • Safety glasses


Acetone is a flammable solvent and must be handled with care. Read, understand and follow all the warnings and instructions on the container. Handle with caution and keep all toxic materials away from pets and people.



Acetone will attack painted or plated finishes. The process detailed here is best used for wheels that are molded in color and do not have an applied finish.  


STEP 1. Cut away the tire carcass

RC Car Action - RC Cars & Trucks | How To Remove Tires and Re-Use Rims

Trim away the tire until only the strips of rubber actually glued to the rim remain. Use caution not to snip the foam inserts inside, as you may be able to reuse them. If the inserts are still intact and return to shape when squeezed, save them.


STEP 2. Soak in Acetone


Clearly label your bucket “CAUTION: ACETONE,” and find a safe place away from pets, children and curious adults to place the acetone bucket. Place the wheels in the bucket, and put on your rubber gloves and safety glasses. Open up the Acetone and pour in just enough acetone to cover the wheels. Pour slowly to avoid splashing. Acetone is a solvent, and will attack the finish of anything you spill it on. Snap the bucket’s lid tightly in place.



RC Car Action - RC Cars & Trucks | How To Remove Tires and Re-Use Rims

Depending on the tire glue and how well it was applied, it may take up to 24 hours to de-bond the rubber from the wheels. When the acetone has neutralized the glue, the rings of tire rubber will fall right off the wheel. If they don’t come off easily, continue soaking the wheels. When the rims are finally free of rubber, remove them from the acetone and wash them thoroughly. Dry the wheels, and they’re ready for new rubber.



There’s no better container for acetone than the one it came in. Using a funnel, pour the acetone from the bucket back into the original container, and cap it tightly for storage. You can re-use the acetone when you next need to strip tires.


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Updated: September 13, 2013 — 12:17 PM
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