Tire Cover Buyer’s Guide
Many older SUVs, and even some fairly new ones, have their spare tires mounted on the back. Most of the time, these spares don’t come with any cover whatsoever. This can look cool, especially if you have good-looking rims, but this setup exposes the tire to damaging environmental elements. To help preserve the condition of your spare, it is best that you get a suitable tire cover for it.
When left unprotected, the rubber of your spare tire can lose its integrity due to prolonged exposure to the sun’s rays. When the time comes that you finally need your spare, you’ll find yourself with a broken down tire that can cause you more harm than good when used.
What is a tire cover?
A spare tire cover is a protective accessory that goes over the spare tire that is usually attached to the outside of an off-road vehicle, a car, or an SUV. Spare tire covers, including many Jeep tire covers, come in different materials and styles and can be taken off every now and then for maintenance.
Types of tire cover
Tire covers are classified according to their construction and the materials they’re made of: hard and soft.
This type of cover is made up of a face plate and a ring. The former protects the front while the latter is placed around the tire. The ring also secures the face plate so the entire assembly can provide complete coverage to the enclosed spare. Stainless steel and other durable materials are typically used to make this type of cover.
Hard covers are more resilient and secure, making them the perfect choice for the long haul. This type of cover also keeps the growth of mold and mildew at bay, so that’s one less thing to worry about. However, hard spare tire covers are usually significantly more expensive than their soft cover counterparts. Also, be prepared to make adjustments to your tire mount to get a snug fit.
These are typically constructed from relatively pliable materials, such as vinyl, and are fastened onto the vehicle with a built-in elastic. Soft spare tire covers are usually lined with felt or cotton to prevent scratches from forming on rims. Due to their construction, they are easier to put on the vehicle and come at a cheaper price. However, be aware that this makes soft covers easier to remove, making them more prone to theft.
What to consider when shopping for a tire cover
It’s easy to dismiss tire cover shopping as something that can be done without putting much thought into it. However, there are certain factors that you have to consider in order to get the best tire cover for your vehicle.
Think about the environmental conditions you typically experience when driving your vehicle. Is your ride frequently exposed to the sun? Then you might want to get a tire cover with UV protection. Frequently encounter rain and hail? Then you might also want to consider the weatherproof qualities of your cover. You should also consider how you intend to store it in case you need to take it off for some reason.
An ill-fitting tire cover will not be able to protect your spare wheel well. It can even fly off while you’re in transit, making you possibly liable for damages. As a preventive measure, make sure you are getting the right size of tire cover for your spare. To find out the exact specs that you need, look at the sidewall of your tire where the tire size information is listed. That should give you the measurements that you need.
Another thing you should consider is how the material of your tire cover will hold up to your intended use. Some tire covers are more heavy duty than others, so choose one that you think will best suit your purpose.
Tire covers are built with different types of closing mechanisms. Soft covers typically have elastic bands or strings at the hem while hard covers have latches. Consider which type of locking mechanism is more convenient for you.
Benefits of getting a tire cover
You might be one of those people who sees using a tire cover as unnecessary and even a deterrent to the aesthetics of the vehicle. Or you might have an existing cover that you’re not sure if you need to replace or want to continue using. That’s fine, but you may be missing out on some advantages of having a good tire cover, such as the following:
Reduction of maintenance costs
Using a tire cover allows you to keep your tire in the best shape possible, which means you won’t have to buy a new spare quickly. A cover also makes cleaning up your spare tire a breeze, allowing you to spend less time caring for it.
Prevention of theft
Some tire covers, particularly the hard shell types, are made with special locking mechanisms that can be difficult to break into. While this does not completely eliminate theft, it can deter the robber from getting to the spare tire easily.
When chosen properly, a tire cover can significantly enhance the appearance of your vehicle, even allowing you to show a bit of your personality. In case you couldn’t find the particular tire cover you want in the market, you may opt to get custom spare tire covers made.
When should you replace your tire cover?
It could be that the tire cover you got doesn’t fit as snugly as you thought it would, or it has started showing signs of wear. If you find that your current cover is not working for you anymore, then it’s time for you to replace it.
Also, consider that covers are protective accessories and are thus exposed to various environmental and safety hazards all the time, making wear and tear inevitable. Thus, it is important that you replace it every now and then to ensure continuous performance.
Find the right tire cover quickly and easily by typing in your vehicle’s year, make, and model into our website’s built-in vehicle selector.
Choosing the Right Tire Cover
Taking care of your spare tire should always be in a car owner's priority list. Even if you take really good care of your tires, you never know when one of them might get a puncture or lose tire pressure. It's not quite a favorable situation, especially if you're alone on the side of the road, with very few motorists to ask help from. The spare tire comes in handy during times like these, and when you take it off from its mounting, it should be good as new. Otherwise, if the spare tire is in disrepair at the time when you need it most, you'll be left thinking why you didn't take care of it when you had the chance. This is the job of the tire cover. It serves as the spare tire's protection from potentially damaging factors like harsh weather and road debris.
Heat resistance and fit
Everyday exposure to sunlight, dust, and water can leave your spare tire brittle. Weathering can weaken the sturdy qualities of your tire, so you have to find a tire cover that resists heat well. Heavy duty, cotton-backed vinyl tire covers, usually with double-stitched seams, will take care of the job for you. Shop for covers that are mildew- and UV-resistant. Find one that does not lose its shape easily, as a loose and ill-fitting tire cover can be an eyesore. Most tire covers have a sewn-in elastic band that ensures a snug fit, but always bear in mind that you have to choose a tire cover that fits the size of your spare tire.
The color of the spare tire cover might not be important for owners who are only after its function, but for people who are sensitive when it comes to design, it is equally as essential. It should at least match your car's color a shade lighter or darker.
You might not notice it until you get stuck with a flat and discover your spare tire is out of shape, but exposure to damage from the sun and weather accelerates the aging process and shortens the life of your spare tire. A spare tire cover is a good investment, if you wish to prolong the lifespan of your spare tire.
If you are the type of owner who doesn't want to worry that much about your spare tire being damaged right when you need it, look for a good tire cover for your spare tire today.
How to Put on a Spare Tire Cover
Regular inspection of spare tires for cracks, wear, or other tire damage is an important maintenance check that every car owner should practice. You never really know when you'd get stuck on the side of the road with a flat tire-when that happens, you'll need your spare tire to perform in tip-top shape. Nobody wants to get caught in this very unfortunate situation with a defective tire. Furthermore, protecting your spare tire with tire covers can extend the service life of your tires. A good tire cover can perform this job for you. Here we give you a step-by-step procedure on how to put on a spare tire cover properly.
Difficulty level: Easy
Tools you'll need:
Step 1: Find the inside of the tire cover by finding where a tag is usually located on the inside. Turn the cover right side out.
Step 2: Pull and stretch at the top of the tire cover and pull it over the top of your spare tire. Let go of the cover so that it rests on the top part down over the spare. Since the cover has elastic edges, the tire protector should snap back to its size and fit snugly.
Step 3: Making sure not to remove the top part of the cover that already rests on the top part of the tire, stretch the bottom part of the cover down and let it snap into place at the bottom of the spare tire.
Step 4: Note that the tire cover does not entirely cover the left and right sides of the spare tire. This is normal. The cover was manufactured like this by purpose.
Step 5: Pull the left and right edges of the tire cover towards the back of the spare tire near the mount. You have now successfully covered the whole tire.
In case of emergency, it is always a good idea to have a spare tire that's in excellent working condition. A tire cover ensures that your tires are in top condition when you are ready to get your vehicle or trailer back on the road.