Learning how to use and care for your Tacoma's spare tire might save you in an emergency.
You don’t want to wait until you have a flat tire to determine where the spare is on your Tacoma. In fact, you should check the Tacoma spare tire regularly to ensure it has the right amount of air pressure.
In this guide, I help you find the spare on your Tacoma. I will also show you how to remove it and give you helpful tips to care for it.
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Where It’s Located
The Toyota Tacoma has been in production since 1995. In 28 years of production, one might think that the spare tire location has changed, but that’s not the case.
It doesn’t matter what model year or trim level Toyota Tacoma you drive, the spare tire is found under the bed of the truck, as seen in the photo below.
Learning how to remove the Tacoma spare tire before you need it is helpful. Here are some step-by-step instructions for you.
- Park in a safe location. Avoid changing the tire in heavy traffic.
- Assemble the jack handle extension. It’s found with the spare tire.
- Insert the jack handle extension end into the lowering screw
- Turn the handle counterclockwise
- Once the tire is lowered to the ground, remove it from the holding bracket
If you need further guidance, you check out this YouTube video or look for more tips in your owner’s manual.
When you are done using the spare tire, you want to put it back in its place. Simply follow our instructions in the reverse order to mount the tire under the truck bed again.
All Toyota Tacoma models come with different size tires. For example, the 2023 Tacoma is equipped with a variety of 16-18” wheels, outfitted with different tires. Here are some of the options available:
- 16” bronze-finished wheels with P265/70R16 Goodyear® Kevlar® All-Terrain tires
- 16” TRD Pro black alloy wheels with P265/70R16 Goodyear® Kevlar® All-Terrain tires
- 18” chrome-finished alloy wheels with P265/60R18 tires
- 16” dark gray alloy wheels with P245/75R16 tires
- 16” machined-contrast alloy wheels with P265/70R16 tires
- 16” black alloy wheels with P245/75R16 tires
- 16” styled steel wheels with P245/75R16 tires
- 18” dark smoke alloy wheels with P265/60R18 tires
- 17” machined alloy wheels with P265/65R17 tires
Based on the wheel and tire chosen, your spare tire would match the size. According to Toyota, all new Tacomas are sold with a full-size spare.
Spare Tire care
You want to take care of the spare tire to ensure it’s ready to go when needed. Just as you regularly maintain your truck tires, the spare should not be neglected. Here are some suggestions to keep your spare ready to go.
1. Monitor the Pressure
The pressure in your spare tire should be checked when you look at the regular tires. Temperature plays a significant role in pressure changes, so you should check it with every season change. If you notice the pressure going down without any temperature change, you should inspect the tire for a leak.
2. Rotate the Tires
If you have a full-size spare on a matching rim, it should be included in the tire rotation. In many cases, the spare gets placed on the right rear position, and the older one moves under as the spare. If you’re unsure if rotation is right for your Tacoma, check with your local tire shop.
3. Inspect Tire Tread
Plenty of tread must be left for your tires to keep you safe. When the tread wears too thin, traction is lost, especially when the roads are wet. Check the tread depth by using a special wear indicator or sticking a penny in. It’s best to think about a replacement at 4/32” or when you can start to see the top of Lincoln’s head on an upside-down penny.
4. Watch for Recalls
Occasionally, Toyota issues a recall because of a safety concern. In the past, automakers have issued recalls because of defective tires. If you are notified about a tire recall, it’s best to visit the dealership immediately.
5. Use Caution When Installing the Tire
Finally, it’s important to be especially cautious before you put the spare tire on in an emergency situation. Not only do you want to check for proper inflation, but you must make sure there’s no damage. After all, this tire rides underneath your truck. If you see anything wrong with the tire, do not drive on it.
What happens when you are in a situation where you need to use the spare tire? It’s important to understand what to do in this scenario, so that’s why I want to review the steps with you now.
For starters, as soon as you recognize you have a flat tire, pull over to a safe spot. Getting off the road is preferable, but that’s not always possible.
Once you do that, follow these tips:
- Turn on your hazard lights to alert oncoming traffic
- Place the truck in Park
- When possible, use wheel chocks to keep the truck from moving
- Remove the spare tire from under the truck bed, as shown above
- Break the lug nuts free on the flat tire, but don’t remove them
- Jack up the truck
- Remove the lug nuts and the flat tire
- Slide your spare into its place
- Put the lug nuts back on and tighten them slightly
- Lower the truck back to the ground slowly
- With the tire back on the ground, tighten up the lug nuts, working in a star pattern
Once you have the spare tire in place, throw the flat tire in your truck bed and get to the nearest tire shop. It’s possible that the tire shop can repair the puncture. However, if the damage is done to the sidewall or the tire is old, you may need a new one.
You don’t have to keep your spare tire on the underside of the bed. You have other options.
For example, some people choose to make modifications to their Tacoma and haul the tire somewhere else. A popular option is on the back of the truck, mounted to the tailgate.
You also have the choice to install it in the truck bed. However, when you fill the truck bed with the aftermarket bracket and mounting gear needed, along with the tire, there’s little room for anything else.
If you want to shop around for ideas, look at what’s offered online. Remember to choose a reputable brand that offers a decent warranty term. Also, if you aren’t sure about the installation, hiring a professional is best.
Don’t Get Caught Without Your Spare
You may not realize how much you need your Tacoma spare until the time comes to put it on. You should always monitor the tire pressure and integrity so that it can protect you in an emergency.
Remember to look at the spare when you check your other tires. Keep it properly inflated and in good shape, so you don’t have to worry if you puncture one of your other tires.