The 5th Wheel: Spare Tire Dos and Don’ts


by Rob Hopp, Cars for Keeps Owner

The concept of the spare tire seems pretty basic, but it’s surprising how often they’re used improperly – or not at all. For those car owners out there who are “mechanically challenged”, we’ve put together a few simple suggestions for maintaining and using your spare tire to ensure it’s there when you need it most.

Do: Learn how to install the spare on your vehicle – before you have to! Locate where the spare tire, jack, lug wrench and wheel lock key (if equipped) are located and ensure the components needed are actually there. The jack is almost always intended to engage the vehicle in several specific areas to safely lift it without damage. Practice changing a tire. This will make it a lot easier on that cold, dark rainy night when your vehicle has a real flat.

Do: Check the spare tire’s air pressure with a tire pressure gauge on a monthly basis, when you check all other tires on the vehicle. There’s nothing more aggravating than a flat spare when you have a flat tire. (This is performed at Cars for keeps whenever we perform our Free Pit Stop or other scheduled maintenance). All temporary (compact) spare tires are designed for short-term use only; they are not designed with the same capabilities as full size spare tires in terms of load capacity, speed capability, or all-weather traction. Refer to your vehicle’s owner’s manual and a temporary spare’s sidewall for instructions on proper use.

Do: If your vehicle’s spare is located under the vehicle, understand how it is lowered or released. This type of location leaves the assembly exposed to all the debris, salt and moisture you drive through day after day. Cars for Keeps will help you ensure the assembly is lubricated and functional when you need it.

Don’t: Forget the spare when you are preparing for winter, a road trip or sending a loved one off on their own.

Cars for Keeps can help when it comes to keeping the car safe, reliable and ready for life!