How to Get Spare Tire from Under Car: Step-by-Step Guide for Safe and Easy Access

How to Get Spare Tire from Under Car: Step-by-Step Guide for Safe and Easy Access

Ever found yourself stranded on the side of the road with a flat tire and no clue how to get the spare from under your car? You’re not alone. Many drivers face this dilemma, especially when they haven’t had to deal with it before.

I’ll guide you through the steps to safely and efficiently retrieve your spare tire. With a little know-how and some basic tools, you’ll be back on the road in no time. Let’s dive into the process and make sure you’re prepared for any roadside emergency.

Key Takeaways

  • Identify Spare Tire Location: Understand that spare tires can be stored in various places depending on your car model, such as the trunk, under the vehicle, or in a dedicated compartment.
  • Gather Necessary Tools: Ensure you have essential tools like a jack, lug wrench, and any specific tools required for your car’s spare tire system before you need them.
  • Follow Step-by-Step Process: Locate the access point, safely lift your vehicle, and carefully remove the spare tire following a clear, step-by-step procedure to avoid mishaps.
  • Prioritize Safety Precautions: Always check for traffic, secure the area with hazard lights, and use proper lifting techniques to prevent accidents and injuries.
  • Maintain Spare Tire Condition: Regularly inspect and check the air pressure of your spare tire. Proper storage practices can significantly extend its lifespan and reliability.

Understanding Your Car’s Spare Tire Storage

Types of Spare Tires and Their Locations

Different cars have varied types of spare tires stored in specific locations. Full-size spares, for instance, match the size of the vehicle’s regular tires and are often found in trunks or under the vehicle. Compact temporary spares, or “donuts,” are smaller, lighter options, typically stored in the trunk area under the floor. Some SUVs and trucks have spare tires mounted under the rear of the vehicle, accessible through a wheel well or hitch area.

Tools You’ll Need to Retrieve Your Spare Tire

Retrieving a spare tire requires specific tools readily available in most vehicles. A jack helps lift the car off the ground. The lug wrench, or tire iron, assists in loosening and tightening the lug nuts. In vehicles with an undercarriage spare, there may be a winch mechanism operated using a crank handle or specific tool, usually located near the jack and lug wrench. Ensure these tools are in your car before you need them.

Step-by-Step Guide to Getting Your Spare Tire

Locate the Access Point

First, identify the access point for the spare tire. Check underneath the rear of your vehicle. Most SUVs and trucks have a release mechanism attached to the frame. Look for a metal cable or a winch that controls the spare tire. Some cars require a special key or tool to operate the release mechanism. Refer to your owner’s manual for specific instructions.

Safely Lift Your Vehicle

Position the jack under the car’s designated lift point. Use a solid flat surface, as soft ground can cause the jack to slip. Raise the vehicle until the tire is a few inches off the ground. Use the emergency brake to ensure the car doesn’t move. This stabilizes the car while you work underneath.

Unscrew and Remove the Spare Tire

Locate the retaining bolt or nut that holds the spare tire in place. Use a lug wrench to loosen it. If your car has a winch system, lower the tire by turning the winch mechanism counterclockwise. Once the tire reaches the ground, slide it from under the vehicle. Store the spare tire in an accessible spot for easy installation.

Safety Precautions When Handling a Spare Tire

Safety Precautions When Handling a Spare Tire

Checking for Traffic and Securing the Area

Make sure the car is on a flat surface before attempting to retrieve the spare tire. Turn on the hazard lights to alert other drivers. Place reflective cones or triangles around the vehicle if available, especially at night or in low-visibility conditions. Ensure a clear, safe working area away from the road.

Using the Right Lifting Techniques

Keep your back straight and bend at your knees when lifting the spare tire to avoid injury. Use both hands to lift and carry the spare tire. If the tire is particularly heavy, consider seeking help. Avoid jerking motions and lift smoothly to maintain balance and control.

Tips to Maintain Your Spare Tire

Regular Inspection and Air Pressure Checks

I inspect my spare tire every month. Regular inspections ensure the tire’s ready when needed. Check for cracks, punctures, or uneven wear. I use a tire pressure gauge to maintain the correct PSI (pounds per square inch) specified by my vehicle’s manual. A well-inflated spare prevents unexpected issues during emergencies. Consistently monitoring tire condition and pressure reduces the chance of failures on the road.

Proper Storage Practices for Spare Tires

Proper storage prevents spare tire degradation. I store my spare in a cool, dry place if it’s not under the car. Exposure to direct sunlight and extreme temperatures can cause damage. If my spare’s under the car, I ensure it’s securely fastened and that the mechanism is free of dirt and debris. Regularly cleaning and lubricating the storage area helps keep the spare in good condition. Proper storage practices extend the life of my spare tire.


Knowing how to access the spare tire under your car is crucial for any roadside emergency. By following the steps and tips provided, you’re better prepared to handle flat tires safely and efficiently. Regularly inspecting and maintaining your spare tire ensures it’s ready when you need it most. Proper storage practices also help extend its lifespan, giving you peace of mind on the road. Stay proactive with your tire maintenance to avoid unexpected issues and keep your vehicle in top shape.

Retrieving a spare tire from under a car can be a straightforward process if you follow the correct steps. Firstly, locate the release mechanism, often found in the trunk or under the back seat, and use the appropriate tool to lower the tire, as detailed in this step-by-step guide by Firestone. Ensuring you have all necessary tools and understanding the specific mechanism for your vehicle model will make the task easier and safer, as outlined by Bridgestone.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I locate the spare tire under my car?

Check your vehicle’s manual first as it provides specific instructions. Generally, the spare tire can be found in the trunk, under the floor panel, or mounted underneath the car, accessible through a release mechanism.

What tools do I need to retrieve the spare tire?

You’ll typically need a lug wrench and a jack. Some vehicles might require a specific tool to release the spare tire from its holder; this should be included in your car’s tool kit.

What are the steps to safely retrieve the spare tire?

First, ensure the vehicle is parked on a flat surface and turned off with the parking brake engaged. Follow the instructions in your vehicle’s manual to release and secure the tire. Use a jack to lift the car if needed.

How often should I inspect my spare tire?

Regularly check your spare tire at least once every six months. Look for cracks, punctures, and ensure it has the proper air pressure. Routine inspections help prevent unexpected issues.

What are the best practices for storing spare tires?

Store spare tires in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and harsh weather conditions. Avoid exposure to chemicals or oils, and if possible, use tire covers to protect against dust and dirt.

Why is it important to monitor spare tire condition and pressure?

Consistent monitoring helps reduce the risk of tire failure during use. Proper tire pressure and condition ensure that the spare tire is ready for emergency situations, offering safety and reliability on the road.

Can I drive long distances on a spare tire?

Spare tires, especially space-saver or “donut” spares, are meant for temporary use only. They are designed for short distances and lower speeds. Refer to your vehicle’s manual for specific limitations.

What should I do if my spare tire is in poor condition?

If you discover any cracks, punctures, or signs of degradation, replace the spare tire immediately. Keeping an unusable spare tire can leave you stranded during an emergency situation.