How to Lower the Spare Tire on Vehicles

by Contributing WriterUpdated June 12, 2017

Spare tire locations have changed over the years. All Vehicles spare tires are mounted under the rear of the Vehicles between the bumper and the rear end. They are attached by a cable which has a metal cap on one end and the other end attaches to a crank pulley. When the crank pulley is turned it rolls the cable up or down to lower the spare tire. This tire will lose air pressure over time so it should be checked every three to six months.

Under The Hood:

 How to Lower the Spare Tire on an Explorer

Locate the crank handle and rod for the vehicle. It may be under the hood in front of the hood prop or behind the rear driver side seat. The owner's manual should give the exact location.

Attach the rod to the crank handle. Insert the rod end into the hole which is above the license plate on the top edge of the bumper. Some Explorer models require the rear lift gate to be opened to access the slot for the spare tire crank.

Turn the handle counter clockwise to lower the tire. Continue lowering the tire until it can be removed from under the vehicle.

Unhook the cable from the center of the rim by angling the cap on the end of the cable and pull the cable out from the center of the rim. Remove the tire from under the Explorer.

 How to Lower the Spare Tire on a 1997 Ford Explorer

Remove the jack handle from under the rear seat and the lug wrench from the side panel in the cargo area where the jack is stowed.

Connect the jack handle to the lug wrench by putting the square end of the jack handle through the matching opening in the lug wrench, forming a handle.

Open the rear hatch of the Explorer to expose the actuator hole just above the rear bumper.

Insert the jack handle into the actuator hole until it engages with the spare tire lowering mechanism.

Turn the jack handle using the lug wrench in a clockwise direction, lowering the spare tire to the ground. Crank out enough cable to pull the spare tire to the back of the Explorer and unhook the cable from the tire.

 How to Lower the Spare Tire on My 2004 Chrysler Pacifica

Lowering the Spare Tire

Open the Pacifica's rear liftgate and open the storage bin built into the rear cargo floor. A tool compartment is concealed within the storage bin, just below liftgate sill. Open the tool compartment and remove the jack and jack handle. Pull up the round trim panel, located on the right side of the storage bin, to reveal the spare tire winch drive nut. Place the jack handle over the winch drive nut, then turn the nut counterclockwise to lower the spare tire to the ground. Continue to turn the drive nut to create slack in the winch cable. Lift the spare tire up until you can reach the winch retainer on the underside of the wheel; tilt the retainer sideways and pull it out of from the center of the wheel.

Tire Change Procedure

Crouch along the side of the Pacifica, near the damaged tire, place the jack under the nearest engagement flange on the Pacifica's frame rails. The forward flange is located directly behind the front wheels, while the rear flange is just forward of the rear wheel. Loosen the wheel nuts, using the wrench included in the tool kit, then lift the wheel off of the ground with the jack. Unscrew the wheel nuts and pull the wheel off of the hub. Lift the spare tire onto the wheel hub, then screw the wheel nuts into place until they are hand-tight. Lower the wheel to the ground and tighten the wheel nuts, using a criss-crossing pattern. If possible, tighten the wheel nuts to 95 foot-pounds, using a torque wrench. Take the Pacifica to the nearest service station to have the damaged tire replaced immediately.

Stowing the Spare Tire

Once the damaged tire has been replaced, the spare tire should be returned to its original position under the car. Lower the winch cable and retainer, then slide the retainer through the center of the spare tire. Turn the winch drive nut clockwise to lift the spare tire into place. Push the round trim cover over the winch drive nut, then stow the jack and jack handle in the tool box and lower the rear storage bin lid.


The spare tire is intended only for emergency situations and should be used only as a temporary solution. Avoid driving at speeds over 50 mph to reduce the possibility of overloading the tire. Additionally, a torque wrench should be used when tightening the wheel nuts to ensure that the tire is secured to the wheel hub. If you do not have access to a torque wrench, tighten the wheel nuts as much as possible and drive carefully to the nearest service station. Finally, the winch drive nut should only be operated with the jack handle included in the Pacifica's tool kit. Using air-powered tools can round off the drive nut, rendering it useless.

 How to Lower the Spare Tire on a Ford F-150

Insert the ignition key into the lock located above the rear license plate and turn the key counterclockwise to unlock the winch that holds your spare tire.

Assemble the jack handle according to the instructions in the owner's manual of your F-150.

Insert the jack handle into the hole on the underside of the center of the rear bumper.

Turn the jack handle counterclockwise until the tire lowers to the ground.

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