Spare Tire Carrier Mount Buyer’s Guide
- For SUVs, trucks, and other off-road vehicles, there’s a wide range of options for storing the spare tire internally or externally using a spare tire carrier mount.
- A spare tire carrier allows you to mount your spare tire securely in your preferred location, whether that’s on the rear of your vehicle, on the truck bed, underneath the chassis, or elsewhere on your vehicle.
- Common spare tire carrier types include: hitch mount spare tire carrier, bed mount spare tire carrier, bumper mount spare tire carrier, and undermount spare tire carrier.
- When choosing a spare tire carrier mount, consider the following: size of your spare tire, ease of access, material of the mount, impact on your vehicle, and other useful features.
- A basic spare tire carrier mount for regular size spare tires cost around $50 or less while high-end spare tire carriers capable of carrying 40” tires or bigger can cost as much as $1,500 or more.
No matter what type of vehicle you’re driving, carrying a spare tire is absolutely essential. After all, a spare tire allows you to drive safely to a nearby car repair shop when you get a flat. For sedans, spare tires are usually stored in a spare tire well in the trunk. But for SUVs, trucks, and other off-road vehicles, there is a wider range of options for storing the spare tire internally or externally. That’s what the spare tire carrier mount is for.
Spare Tire Carrier Types
A spare tire carrier allows you to mount your spare tire securely in your preferred location, whether that’s on the rear or front bumper, on the truck bed, underneath the chassis, or elsewhere on your vehicle. Here are some common spare tire carrier mount options to choose from:
Hitch Mount Spare Tire Carrier
A hitch mounted spare tire carrier gives you the freedom to mount your spare tire either on the front, rear, or side of your vehicle. Most hitch mount spare tire carriers are universal fit, which means that they can be attached to almost any vehicle with a two-inch receiver hitch.
Hitch mounted spare tire carriers are among the most popular options because they don’t take up a lot of space, they are relatively lighter compared to other tire carriers, and there’s a vast range of choice for this particular type of mount.
Bed Mount Spare Tire Carrier
Bed mount spare tire carriers or truck bed mounted spare tire carriers come in a number of configurations, but the most popular one is the angled bed mount tire carrier. This allows you to carry your spare tire on the truck bed in the optimum position for easily accessing the spare tire during emergencies.
Other types of bed mount spare tire carriers include heavy-duty tire straps that can secure your spare tire by strapping them down and tire racks that allow you to store your spare tire vertically to save on truck bed space. There are also low-profile flat bed mounts that allow you to secure your car flush to the bed of your truck.
Bumper Mount Spare Tire Carrier
Bumper mount spare tire carriers can refer to any type of spare tire carrier that mounts to the front or rear bumper. These tire carriers are usually bolted on using U-bolts. This helps improve their stability and reduce or diminish rattling noises that can happen with hitch mounted spare tire carriers. The downside is that bumper mounted spare tire carriers can be bulky and heavy, so they might affect the total payload of your truck.
Undermount Spare Tire Carrier
If you want to keep your spare tire out of sight, an undermount spare tire carrier might be the best choice for you. These spare tire mounts are bolted on the underside of your chassis and have a mechanism that allows you to pull out the spare tire easily. The drawback of mounting your spare tire beneath your vehicle is that it’s bound to get really dirty since it’s so close to the ground. It can also reduce your vehicle’s ground clearance.
These are the more popular types of spare tire carrier mounts, but there are other ways to stow away your spare tire. Depending on your car, you can find spare tire mounts that will allow you to store your spare on the roof or even inside the engine bay.
Choosing Your Spare Tire Carrier Mount
Here are some factors that you need to consider when you choose your spare tire mount.
Size of Your Spare Tire
Are you carrying a full-sized or oversized spare tire? If that is the case, you need to make sure that your spare tire carrier mount can handle both its size and its weight. Manufacturers of spare tire mounts usually indicate the maximum size and weight that their mounts can carry, so you can use these numbers as your guide.
Material of the Spare Tire Mount
Steel is the material of choice when it comes to spare tire carrier mounts. Steel mounts are very durable, and they are designed to effortlessly hold even the heaviest tires. This is especially useful if you want a hitch mount because this type of mount needs to be small enough to remain unobtrusive but strong enough to securely carry your spare tire. To make steel spare tire mounts more resistant against corrosion, steel spare tire carrier mounts are typically made with a powder coated finish.
Other common types of spare tire mount materials are aluminum, plastic, polyurethane, and rubber. Plastic, polyurethane, and rubber have the benefit of being rust-proof, but they can crack or break after continued exposure to the elements. Aluminum is an excellent lightweight material that won’t affect your truck’s payload. However, it’s more expensive than the other materials.
Ease of Access
A good spare tire mount should allow you to access your spare tire easily. It also shouldn’t hamper your access to other parts of your vehicle. Spare tire carrier mounts that swing out, retract, or slide out are great for giving you easy access to your spare tire.
Impact on Your Vehicle
When choosing a spare tire carrier mount, it’s also important to take note of how it will affect your vehicle. If you’re opting for an undermount spare tire carrier, you need to make sure that you still have enough ground clearance after installing it. If you’re going with bumper or hitch mounted spare tire carriers, you need to make sure that they don’t affect the handling and aerodynamics of your vehicle or block tailgate clearance.
Some spare tire carrier mounts, particularly hitch mounted ones, don’t just hold your spare tire, they also have added features that can be extremely useful. These features include a secondary hitch for towing, additional mounts for carrying other large equipment, and an option to add a bike rack.
How Much Does a Spare Tire Carrier Mount Cost?
Since there are so many options available, there’s also a wide range of price for spare tire carrier mounts. You can get super basic mounts for regular size spare tires for $50 or less while high-end spare tire carriers capable of carrying up to 40” tires or bigger can cost as much as $1,500 or more.
How to Install a Spare Tire Carrier Mount
If you're traveling for more than a few miles with your recreational vehicle (RV) or some other light duty vehicle (or if your RV is your home), then having a spare tire and its respective carrier mount is a must. You never know when you'll get a busted tire and it pays to at least have one spare tire available to change your busted or flat tire with when you're on the road or in the middle of nowhere. It should also save you money in tow truck services. Also make sure that your tire carrier mount fits the right size of tire that your RV makes use of (like, for example, a 37-inch tire).
Difficulty Level: Moderate
What You'll Need
- Wrench set
- Tire carrier
- Clamp (usually included with the tire carrier)
- Y-bolts (usually included with the tire carrier)
Step 1: Hold your spare tire carrier at the rear bumper's center of your RV. Make sure that the arm is placed vertically upwards and your square plate is against the bumper. It should include a hole designed for a direct fitting for OE-standard carriers.
Step 2: The square plate has two holes up top that should be placed just above the bumper's top. In turn, the two holes on the plate's bottom should be placed just below the bumper's bottom. Line them up by sight and get an assistant to hold the carrier down if you have to.
Step 3: Put the first u-bolt around the bumper then put it in the top and bottom holes on the left of the square plate. The respective nuts of this bolt should then be hand-tightened on both ends of the u-bolt.
Step 4: Meanwhile, place the second u-bolt around the bumper then put it in the holes on the square plate's right side. You should then hand-tighten the nuts into the bolts too.
Step 5: Check the positioning of the mount then tighten up all four bolt ends. Begin with those on the left then move to the right. You can avoid making the torque move the carrier by torqueing them down in a diagonal pattern a la with lug nuts.
Step 6: To be more specific, begin with the bottom left, move to the top right, go to the top left, and finally tighten up the bottom right in a sort of hourglass-emblem-like pattern. This prevents your carrier from going off-center.
Step 7: Make use of the clamp that comes with the spare tire carrier kit in order to mount the spare tire on your new mount. Wiggle the spare tire for good measure to make sure that the mount is in place and the tire won't get dislodged by any bumps on the road as you drive.
Tire carrier installation is moderately easy to do and makes use of the least amount of tools possible. It's no more complicated than changing your tire. What's more, storing your tire out of your RV (which for many people serve as their home and living space) allows you to save on valuable storage space. Just make sure to buy the best, most cost-effective carriers you can find without the need for welding or drilling anything on your RV. Always think ahead and avoid any potential road emergencies out there