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The Pros and Cons of DIY Tire Cradles


If you’re heavily invested in the car community and have a ride that you might not take out for weeks or even months at a time, then chances are that you’ve considered tire cradles. Also known as wheel cribs, these devices are meant to remove a lot of the strain and stress that extended periods of inactivity can place on your car’s tires. They’re also a favorite of many gearheads, as they provide the elevation needed to get under and around your car to make the repairs and tweaks that we all love to make.

That said, it can be hard to know which types of equipment are best to buy from a store and which you can get away with making on your own. Tire cradles are just such a device—we have many drivers who come to us unsure whether they should rely on their own handiwork or invest in the known quality of a commercial model. There are plusses and minuses to each route—read on for some more thoughts about whether commercial tire cradles could be the right call for you.

Pro: Low Costs

Low cost is usually the biggest lure for anyone seeking to do their own work. DIY projects often seem like the cheaper alternative, after all, especially when it feels like you have all of the time in the world. Many DIY tire cradle plans call for little more than 2 x 4 x 8’s, screws, wood glue and some power tools that most people are going to have laying around their garage or workshop anyway. This doesn’t add up to a lot of money after all, and if you have a weekend, why shouldn’t you save some money by utilizing some elbow grease?

The truth is, sometimes there can be more to a project than meets the eye. For starters, the cost of materials isn’t always an automatic advantage. Wood prices can skyrocket depending on factors outside of your control, for example, and we’ve all seen examples of that in the past few years. Next, you have to gauge what your time is really worth—if working on these means that you have to miss the family cookout, did you really save all that much?

Con: Less Quality Control

We’ve all tackled DIY projects before that have quickly turned into something that we might not have bargained for. It can make for an interesting process for sure, and you can really learn a lot about yourself and your skills by going through such an endeavor.

On the other hand, you might not always feel so confident in the end product, especially if you deviated from the instructions to rig up something that wasn’t quite to plan. How much can you trust something that you’ve made yourself if it wasn’t within your area of expertise? This comfort level is something that everyone has to figure out for themselves, but store-bought products from quality companies don’t typically come with this same uncertainty.

Pro: No Lift Needed

A lift is an incredibly expensive piece of equipment that’s usually only owned by professional mechanics and garages. You likely don’t need one if you’re just a hobbyist, and DIY tire cradles mean that you can elevate your car or truck to a height that mimics that of a lift without needing to sink thousands of dollars into the project. This might seem obvious, since height is one of the main benefits of tire cradles no matter what (DIY or not), but it’s worth reiterating.

Con: Less Portability

Homemade wheel cribs can be beautiful pieces made by skilled carpenters, but that doesn’t mean they’re not sometimes a nuisance. All of that wood can make for a seriously heavy piece, and they can also be quite large. This is no big deal when they’re in use, but it makes for a real problem when it comes time to store them somewhere in your garage or in the house. Commercially-made tire cradles don’t have this problem—the ones that we sell here at Race Ramps are made of a lightweight but incredibly strong foam. They’re only about 7 pounds apiece, so they can easily be picked up and placed on a shelf thanks to their small size.

If you’re thinking that tire cradles are what you need then the DIY route can certainly be appealing, especially if you know your way around a tool bench. However, questions of reliability and size mean that many customers have chosen our signature Wheel Cribs here at Race Ramps over the years. If these sound like they might be up your alley, then give us a call or email today and see how these pieces can offer you a safe and reliable way to elevate your car and give you the tinkering freedom you’ve been craving.

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