The 10 Best Spare Tire Covers
Uncovering The Reasons For A Cover
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.
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.
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.