Ask anyone about the critical maintenance items in your car, and they will usually answer by saying oil changes, air filter, tire pressure, fluid check, and wiper blades. The internet is filled with DIY maintenance guides on these items and is often the first thing people think of when considering regular maintenance. Things that are often forgotten are your spare tire and your emergency car jack.
You never think about your spare tire until the ones in use give out. You can go a good 12-15 year old without even having to touch your spare tire while the jack can go missing, or you may have forgotten about it after giving it to someone.
Now, there is nothing worse than finding yourself in a parking lot or on the side of the freeway with a flat tire and only finding out that your spare tire is either missing or isn't good enough. Add to that if you find your car jack isn't functional, with the closest tire shop near you being miles away. In that situation, you yourself may blow a gasket.
We here at AutopartsZ thought we should let you know how you can maintain your spare tire & jack to avoid this altogether. After changing the tire, you can drive to the nearest auto parts store to get yourself some new ones. So here are some simple steps to maintain your spare tire and jack!
Monthly Pressure Check
As car owners, we all know that we have to do monthly tire pressure checks to ensure optimum driving efficiency and tires' longevity. Now we usually check all four tires and often overlook the spare one. Remember that temperature fluctuations impact tire pressure, so in the winter months, the tire pressure will go down even if no air was released. While in the summertime, the pressure may increase. So make sure you keep checking the pressure each month have the spare tire at its most efficient pressure level.
Do All The Tire Pressure Checks At Once
You have to get into the habit of checking all the tires at once, and yes, that includes the spare. People usually forget to check the spare; when checking the tires, make sure you are not one of them. Also, if you are taking your car for an oil change, then ask them to check the spare. Remember, your garage may not offer the service as part of the oil change so ask them to do it whenever you are doing an oil change.
Having The Right Jack
One of the first things you should do as part of your spare tire and jack maintenance is to have the right jack. Usually, we find that people don't have the right jack because it was either borrowed or swapped. Ensure you have the right one in the car with you, and ensure that you have all the handle-tools to work the jack. Make sure you are familiar with the process and know how everything works. The best thing you can do is go on practice runs and make sure the jack is performing correctly and lifting the car perfectly.
Make Sure You Have A Working Lug Wrench
Lug wrenches are an essential part of changing tires, so ensuring you have the proper one is vital. Trust us; there's nothing worse than finding yourself in the middle of the road with everything and then finding out you don't have the correct lug wrench for the tires.
So first, make sure you always have a lug wrench in your car, and then make sure that the lug wrench you have fits the lug nuts perfectly. Remember that there are some aftermarket wheels and even factory wheels that come with a lug lock. So if you have one, then make sure it's in your spare tire tool kit or the glove box.
Test The Spare Tire Hoist
If you have a truck or an SUV, then the odds are your spare tire is under the vehicle. The tire is lifted by what's called a tire hoist, and to get it down, and you need to insert a rod in through the back bumper, which will make the hoist crank down, dropping the spare tire to the ground. The first thing here is to make sure you have the rod. Then the next problem is twofold. One the lack of use and the other is road dirt, water, and salt/rust. What we recommend is cranking down and up the tire every two oil changes to ensure everything is working as it should.
Now many systems are semi-sealed, meaning they won't need to be lubricated, but there are open tire hoists as well, and you should think about lubricating that. Please don't assume the tire hoist is ok. Always know definitely that it is functioning well. It's better to do the hard work beforehand than finding out it isn't working in the middle of the road. Remember that even if the hoist was sealed entirely, it might not work properly with a prolonged period of not using the hoist. So always test it out!
Never Bolt The Spare Tire Too Tight
If you have your spare tire in the back as it does in most SUVs, then the odds are it has some protective covers on it. So these spare tires usually don't see the light of day for years and years. Now, you may think that removing the lid and re-installing it is hard or a hassle. We won't disagree with you.
However, it is the only way to check the spare tire, and we think you should take out some time to do it. A pro tip we can offer is to always check for rust on the lug nuts and never to make the lug nuts too tight. That way, you won't have trouble removing them later on. Spare tires are notorious for losing tire pressure, and if you don't do regular checks, then you may find yourself in the middle of the freeway with more than one bad tire.
Do Not Rely On Emergency Services For Equipment
We know many car owners who thought they could rely on emergency services to get them out of changing their tires when they need one on the road, only to find that there isn't one available at the moment. Knowing how to change your spare tire and having all the tools at hand is a vital part of being a car owner. Even with emergency services available, most will charge you for tools if you don't have them and need a spare tire change.
Another thing to remember is that your spare tire can get dry-rotted and might be unable to hold air, especially if the spare tire is under the vehicle. So again, we implore you to do regular spare tire checks because if your spare tires don't work, even the emergency service vehicle won't be able to help you.
Know The Spare Tire's Date Codes
This is a simple check you can do. Whenever you are changing your tires and getting a new set, ask the tire shop to check the date code on the spare one. If you see it is older than ten years and isn't a "trunk tire," then we recommend you get a new one or rotate to one of the tires from the old set. However, getting a new one is always the best and cost-effective option in the long run. There are plenty of cheap tire shops nearby that you will find with a quick Google search.
Have The Lug Nuts Hand Torqued
So this is the last step of the maintenance, and it's a pretty simple one where you only have to ask. Whenever you are doing some servicing and one or more tires have to be removed, ask your garage always to hand torque the lug nuts. Nothing is worse than having lug nuts zipped down with an impact wrench and over-torqued so much that you can't remove them on the side of the road. To avoid it, ask your mechanic to hand torque the lug nuts to the proper spec.
Find Cheap Tires Easily
So there you go, those are the simple steps to maintain your spare tire and jack. Follow it accordingly, and you should have no trouble on the road if you need to change the tire. Finding the right place for tires can be a hassle, and researching online can become monotonous.
So we here AutopartsZ created the perfect place to find tires without hassle with our state-of-the-art tire finding search engine. Now you don't have to go online and search for "cheap tire shops near me." We have all you need, and you can say that we are the nearest auto parts store around.
You can check out the intuitive AutopartsZ App and get all your tire needs fulfilled. And that's about all we have for you today. Let us know in the comments below whether or not you find this guide helpful. Also, hit us up on our socials and send in your thoughts and suggestions on what we should cover next. We will come back with something new from the ever-changing automotive world soon. Until then, see ya!