Taking care of the four rubber things that keep your car on the ground is important. But it's just as vital you look after the spare tire that's in place in case one of those four goes flat. Here's a list of things you should always keep in mind about your spare tire, compiled from tips our writers have published in the past.
1) Make sure it's inflated.
The last thing you want to find out when you get a flat tire is that your spare is nearly flat as well. At least once a month (or whenever you can access it), check to see that your spare is properly inflated.
2) Check and detail it every so often.
Just because your tire is safely stored away doesn't mean it's not subject to wear and tear. You should regularly see if there are leaks by spraying it with water or some other liquid and checking for bubbles. In addition, coat the tire with a quality protectant or lotion to prevent cracking or dry rotting.
3) Check the mechanism that holds it in place.
You can go years without ever needing to remove your spare tire from its spot in your car. But that means that the bolts and locking mechanisms holding it in place could rust or rot over time. These can sometimes get so corroded that you can't remove the tire at all. Check and lubricate them when you can.
4) Keep your tire-changing tools in tip-top shape.
A spare tire isn't much use if your jack is broken, or your tire wrench is rusted beyond belief. Make sure you take care of your tools by inspecting, cleaning, and lubricating them as needed.
5) If it's a dedicated spare, use it only when necessary.
If you notice that your spare tire is a different size to the ones installed on your car, then it's probably a dedicated spare. These are only designed for temporary use to get you to the nearest repair shop. They're not meant to be a permanent replacement or to be driven for long distances, so use them sparingly.