The 10 Best Spare Tire Covers
This wiki has been updated 27 times since it was first published in June of 2016. If your vehicle's spare tire is stored on the rear of your car, truck, or SUV, it is at risk of deterioration from exposure to the elements. Make sure your emergency backup is ready for service when you need it by protecting it with one of these handy covers. Available in a wide range of graphics and color options, they also offer you the chance to express your style. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
May 05, 2020:
Your spare tire deserves adequate protection, and all of our choices will do just that. At this time, we've kept both plain and decorated models, for those who want to show off their personal style. For drivers with a patriotic inclination, there's the Plasticolor American Flag and the Tire Cover Central Eagle. Of the two, the latter is the more rugged and durable choice, but it's also quite a bit more expensive than the former. If you're more of a sports fan, the Fremont Die NFL remains an excellent, and officially licensed, option. It has vibrant colors, but you can expect these to fade some over time, especially if you live in a sun-intensive environment. The Life is Good Black is also a fun choice for showing off your personality. It is offered in a range of styles, including plain text, a cute daisy, and a compass.
Those who don't need sayings and graphics might instead consider the Adco 1757 or the Classic Accessories OverDrive. Like a windshield shade, these give you protection to safeguard your investment. Both are very affordable, and they're offered in white or black to meet a variety of needs. Note that the white color can begin to yellow with exposure to the elements.
Finally, a word on fit. Some choices, like the Mopar Compass, are made to accommodate a wide range of tire sizes, but even so, they may not fit each and every spare out there. And if you're choosing a model that is fit-specific, be sure to measure carefully. You can stretch a cover some, but if you pull too hard, even higher quality models can rip.
Mopar Black Molded The Mopar Black Molded is a hard cover with the Jeep logo molded right in, true to its name, giving you both protection and style — for an admittedly steep price. It was designed for the Wrangler JK, and should work with model years 2007 through 2018. moparonlineparts.com
Boomerang MasterSeries Painted When nothing less than perfect color matching will do, the Boomerang MasterSeries Painted is your go-to, as you can select from factory colors. Offering more protection than most, it boasts a stainless steel ring that is lockable for your peace of mind, and it's compatible with a spare tire mounted backup camera for your safety. boomco.com
TireCover Central The only limit is your imagination with the TheCoverGuy Custom. Choose images and text to create just the design you want, which is printed onto a heavy-duty vinyl cover that is UV protected for longevity. There are plenty of sizes to select from, too, so you don't need to worry about fit. etsy.com
Uncovering The Reasons For A Cover
Covering it up, depending on your cover, might help you avoid attention.
Maybe you’ve always had a spare tire cover or perhaps you’ve got a new vehicle and are agonizing over whether you even need one. We won’t try to argue that a spare tire cover is more important than some of the other tire accessories you can buy, but there is a definite case to be made for putting one on your spare.
In the first place, while it’s true that all your tires are exposed to the elements, your spare may get an extra dose of sun and its attendant harmful UV rays simply because of its positioning. For folks who rotate all five tires regularly, this may be less of a problem. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, however, and a spare tire cover is one way to keep your rubber away from the sun’s UV rays. Since these rays can cause rubber to crack and rot, the less exposure, the better.
A spare tire cover will come in handy if you happen to live in an intense winter climate, as well, since they keep the wheel from becoming packed with snow and ice. This may not be harmful, but it can be a pain, making the back door heavier. A cover will keep some salt from being kicked up on the tire, too, although if you live in the Salt Belt, you’re probably already washing your vehicle fairly often. Salt is no friend to any part of your auto.
And even if you aren’t worried about protecting your spare, you might not want it seen for other reasons. Perhaps it doesn’t match your other four, or perhaps it’s high quality and you’d rather that people didn’t notice. People who are casually walking by might not look at your tires, since they’re on the ground and not really in a usual line of vision, but a spare tire certainly is. Covering it up, depending on your cover, might help you avoid attention.
Showing Your Personality
Beyond material concerns about wear and protection, there’s one other reason that people choose a spare tire cover, and it’s a big one: to show off their personalities. While not everyone wants to make a statement with their vehicle accessories, plenty of drivers choose interesting spare tire covers and other decorations.
Beyond material concerns about wear and protection, there’s one other reason that people choose a spare tire cover, and it’s a big one: to show off their personalities.
For one thing, this is a good way to capture attention, especially from those who have the same views or interests. If you’re on vacation at an RV park, say, having a spare tire cover that’s emblazoned with your favorite football team’s logo is a great conversation opener for like-minded fans. Or, if you love putting your sense of humor on display, a funny cover is sure to get a remark from those who see it. Of course, you might also attract negative attention, although many proponents of car personalization state that life’s too short to worry about what people might think.
A spare tire cover with a picture or logo can also help you find your vehicle faster in a crowded parking lot. Sure, you always think that you're definitely, for sure this time, going to remember where you left your SUV, but does that always happen? Keeping your eyes peeled for your unique spare tire cover is a great way to get back to your vehicle, faster.
Finally, if you’re dying to showcase your personality, a funny or decorative spare tire cover is a good way to do so without lowering the value of your vehicle. Bumper stickers, for instance, can mess up your paint job and potentially lower the resale value, a problem you won’t have with a spare tire cover. These covers are less expensive, too, than many other modifications you might make, such as a new paint job.
Tips For Changing A Flat
Perhaps the first and best advice anyone can give you for changing a flat tire is to learn how to do it beforehand, both in a general sense and more specifically for your own car. Spend a little time reading the manual and check out where the jack goes, which can vary depending on the vehicle. If you do this before you catch a flat, you’ll feel much less stressed when the actual event happens. You could also ask a friend or relative to show you if you need a more hands-on approach.
If you’ve invested in a chock, use it on the wheel that’s diagonal to the flat.
Another small thing you can do is to check the air pressure in your spare twice a year when you change the clocks for daylight saving. These two changes happen around the shift between warm and cold weather, perfect conditions for a spare tire’s pressure to change. (It’s a great time to check your smoke detector batteries, too).
Then, you might consider beefing up your tire change kit. Experts suggest a handful of items, none of them terribly expensive, that you can add for safety and simplicity, including a flashlight, gloves, reflective triangles, a rain poncho, a wheel chock (you could use a piece of lumber), a towel (so you don’t have to sit, kneel, or lie on dirty ground), and some hand sanitizer or baby wipes.
Finally, if a flat does happen, find a safe place away from the flow of traffic, and before you start to jack up the vehicle, make sure that the brake is set. If you’ve invested in a chock, use it on the wheel that’s diagonal to the flat. Put the lug nuts in a safe place once you get them off; you’ll hear people commonly assert to put them inside your hubcap, but if you think about it, there are more secure places that you can’t tip over — like the inside of your car’s door or a pocket. Then, when it’s time to tighten them back up, don’t do so in order. Instead, work in a cross pattern, tightening first one, then the one that’s diagonally across from it.