I work from home out of my garage and I needed some extra storage for wheels and tires. Instead of buying a tire rack or shelving unit from the store, I decided to build one. This may also benefit anyone living in an area where they need to have an extra set of winter tires for their cars. This will also work as a heavy duty shelf by just adding 3/4" ply to the shelves. This whole project was done in a morning for $31. It can be done well with little to no carpentry experience.
What you'll need-
(7) 2x4's 96" in length
(48) 4" long wood screws (usually come in a box of 50
Saw (power or manual, your choice)
And ratchet straps
Step 1: Planning
Start by going over your plans for the tire rack. I have posted pictures of my own plans (feel free to copy). Before you start building though, make sure that you have adequate space in your garage to put the tire rack where you want it, but also make sure that you have enough room INSIDE the rack for the tires that you plan on storing there. I deal with wider wheels and tires on a regular basis, so I wanted to make sure that I had room for them. My rack is capable of holding a full set of 265 width tires on each shelf. Most passenger cars are in the 205-225 range in width, so you may not need to build it as wide as I did.
The other thing to take note of is the height of your individual shelves. Mine are space 29" apart so that I am able to fit some medium size SUV tires on there, as well as car tires. If you have bigger truck tires, you may need to adjust the dimensions.
When drawing out your plans, remember that 2x4's are not actually 2x4... they are 1.5"x3.5". The fully assembled dimensions of my tire rack is 43" wide, 19" deep, and 72" high. Remember to take your ceiling height into account also, as you'll probably want to be able to get tires onto that top shelf too.
NOTE- Don't forget that any changes in the dimensions of the unit will likely alter the amount of lumber that you will need.
Step 2: Measuring and Cutting
Now that you have all the plans laid out, start measuring everything. Remember the old adage- measure twice, cut once. Plan out all your cuts carefully as to use the least amount of lumber possible.
Once everything is measured out, start your cutting. You may want to opt to go for power tools at this point, but I am on a diet right now, and I needed the calorie burn, so I went the old fashioned way, haha.
Be precise with your cuts. If you are planning on loading this rack full of wheels AND tires, it will need to be capable of holding around 400-500 pounds! (some wheel/tire combos can weigh between 40-50lbs each!) To do that, you's want it to be perfectly square.
Step 3: Framing
Now, find a nice flat and level surface to start laying out your framing for the rack. Measure and mark where each 2x4 will need to go. Don't just trust your marks though, as you go around the frame, continue to use your square to make sure that everything is maintaining 90* angles.
Now, I am a bit of a perfectionist, so I went a little overboard with drilling pilot holes and countersinking each and every screw. While this is not necessary, it will give you a cleaner, more professional look in the end. I do recommend though, to always pre-drill a pilot hole (even if you don't intend to countersink) as this will help to keep the wood from splitting.
Once you have finished the frame, rinse and repeat. Make sure that you take the same care on the back side as you did the front. Triple check everything with your tape measure and square. You'll want both frames to be identical.
Step 4: Side Pieces
Now that you have the frames made, its time for the side pieces. I found that the easiest way was to attach all the 12" sections to one frame while it was on the ground (again, triple checking everything with tape measure and square as you go)
Once all the 12" pieces are attached to one side, stand it up and mate it with the other frame (be sure that you are on a level floor). I used ratchet straps to hold it together and to put extra pressure on it as I went around with the square to check all the angles. After you're sure that all the angles are correct and that the unit itself is square, finish attaching the other side of the frame to the unit.
Step 5: Add the Tires!
Congratulations! You have now completed your tire rack. Now drag that sucker into the garage and start throwing some tires at it! Then look around you garage and realize that you should probably build more units like this, because one can never have too much storage in their garage!