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How to Remove the Spare Tire on a Toyota 4Runner

by Jody L. Campbell

Having a flat tire on the side of a dark, cold, and wet road is not the time for a crash course in Spare Tire Removal 101. This is why you must plan ahead, locate the required equipment, and practice a few times in your own driveway to get used to the process.

Step 1

Grab a flashlight. It would be a good idea to keep one in your glove box and check the batteries in it often to make sure the flashlight is working properly.

Step 2

Locate the spare tire/jack tool kit (usually in one of the side door panels in the very back of the 4Runner where the jack is. You may have to refer to the manual as different generation 4Runners may have put the jack and tools in different locations.

Step 3

Separate and assemble the three parts of the spare tire tool, starting with the rounded hook end. Attach the straight rod to that, then the lug wrench will have a 3/8 inch hole in the middle that will fit on the end and create a T-handle, but do not attach the lug wrench just yet.

Step 4

Locate the spare tire tool chamber located on the bumper/tailgate of the 4Runner by the license plate. It's an oblong shaped hole. Turn on the flashlight (you will need the flashlight to line the tool up on the sunniest day of the year, let alone a dark night) and look into the chamber. At the end, you will see a slot in the winch device that the head of the rounded hook fits into. Slide the tool into the chamber and align the hook into the slot of the winch device.

Apply the lug wrench on the end to make the T-handle and turn counterclockwise to unwind the cable holding the tire to the undercarriage of the 4Runner. You will want to lower enough cable to allow enough slack to remove the hub key from the center of the spare tire. Practice taking it off and putting it back on a couple times. To raise the tire, simply replace the hub key and turn the tools clockwise to engage the winch.


  • Make sure to make a note of which side of the spare tire is in the up and down position as it sits in its stored position. Most often the top of the tire (or the outside sidewall) would be facing upward with the valve stem also facing upward. It might be a good idea to have the garage that performs your oil change services to check the air in the tires including the spare tire. This often gets overlooked and you do not want to discover it's as flat as the tire you have to replace in an emergency. In some cases, Toyota offered some locking devices for spare tires. The procedure would be the same, however there would be a key chuck that would fit on the end of the tools and into the winch device to lower and raise the spare tire. Again, finding this out before it's an emergency will only help you prepare yourself.

Items you will need

  • Spare tire removal kit/jack tools (equipped with the jack of the vehicle)
  • Flashlight (strongly recommended)

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