Here's What Happens To A Regular Car Tire Spun Up To 385 MPH

Tires do a lot of work keeping car occupants safe and comfortable for thousands of miles. But what happens when you take a regular car tire far past its limits, far past the top speed of even the fastest production car?

We love the team at Garage 54 for their outlandish experiments. Whether they’re washing a car in subzero temperatures or making pistons out of plastic, the team is always a good watch. One of their latest tests is seeing what happens to a car tire at 385 mph.

That speed is incredible and makes the Garage 54 test even faster than even the fastest production cars like the SSC Tuatara. But cars that go that fast tend to get tires designed for the job. The Garage 54 team? They’re using what appears to be a used snow tire.

That snow tire is attached to a weird-looking rig. It’s the remnants of another experiment to create a double-wide car.

One good question is how can the guys get a half of a Lada to spin a tire to 385-mph? After all, a beater Lada is probably lucky just to break the speed limit.

This setup is a little odd. The team bolted the wheel to the pinion flange of a differential (where a driveshaft would normally go) and turned the pinion flange via an axle shaft.

Speed is measured by a tachometer that reads a white mark put on the sidewall of the tire. Vlad then runs a calculation to determine the wheel’s speed based on the resulting rpm.

To make the wheel even faster, Vlad demonstrates how the open differential of the Lada works. When one axle shaft isn’t allowed to move, the wheel that is moving speeds up. Garage 54's rough calculations were that the wheel hanging off of the pinion flange is spinning six to eight times the speed of the axle shaft. The result is some incredible speed out of our volunteer tire.

And my, they got a ton of speed out of it. The tire was only meant for a top speed of about 120 mph, so they’re taking it far beyond its design.

They got about 60 mph out of first gear, alone, but the subsequent gears are when the speeds start getting really high.

The team got the tire to hit about 340 mph. The centrifugal force caused the tire to be stretched out further than it could go and eventually the bead failed. Vlad figured this was in-part because they didn’t put too much air in the tire.

They put the tire back on the wheel, pumped it up, then gave it another go. This time, they got the wheel to 385 mph before the tire failed in a bizarre fashion.