Pick-up trucks with under-the-bed spare tire storage provide more room for cargo in the bed of the truck. I have owned two pick-ups in the last ten years and both of them had spare tire storage underneath the bed. There is a grave disadvantage with this type of storage.
I purchased a 1989, V6, extended cab, long bed, manual shift, Toyota, pick-up truck in 1996. I loved everything about the truck until I had a flat tire. The crank, to let the tire down from the tire storage, was packed away, under the fold-down back seat in the cab. Of course, the back seat was loaded with cooler chests and blankets. I unloaded the back seat on the side of the road, folded the seat up and found the crank. It was bolted down with a wing nut that someone had tightened down with a power wrench. I opened up the back of the truck and found a pair of channel-lock pliers.
Finely, with crank in hand, I went to the rear of the truck and found the hole below the tailgate to insert the crank. Once you stick the crank through the hole, there is no way to see where the end attaches to the lowering mechanism. I fished around until the crank hooked into position and the tire came down easily. Using the jack that I found in a storage cubbyhole under the back seat, I finally changed the tire. I put the flat tire in the back of the bed and cranked the hanger cable on the spare tire rack back up, leaving the rack empty. I reloaded the truck and was on my way. A fifteen-minute tire change took me over an hour.
I had a new tire placed into the tire storage rack. Feeling comfortable that I had a spare tire again, I never thought to check on it until I noticed that I had a soft tire on the front. It looked too soft to drive on it so, I went for the spare in the rack. It was gone. It had come loose from the rack and fallen out. I limped into town on the soft tire, which cracked the sidewalls. I had to buy two new tires and a rim.
I bought a 2007 Chevrolet Silverado in 2009. I love this pick-up truck. It does everything I ask it to do except release the spare tire from the tire storage rack under the bed. I live in Arizona and to go anywhere, I have to drive across the desert. My friend and I headed for a fishing hole. The place we were going to fish was sixty miles from home. The day before we left, I checked the tire pressure on all the tires, including the spare in the rack, under the bed.
Sixty miles, in Arizona, is not far, unless you get stranded half way there. Forty miles from home, I had a flat tire. I grabbed the spare tire crank from under the back seat. The hole for the crank has a lock that works with the ignition key. I opened the lock and slid the crank through the tube that puts the crank end directly into the slot. I started cranking but the tire wasn’t coming down. The crank kept jumping in my hand like a gear that was missing a tooth. I tried for over an hour to let the spare tire down. I decided the only way to get to the spare tire was to cut the cable. That would take a hacksaw.
I called my neighbor and asked him to bring a hacksaw. We were beside the road, in the middle of the desert for seven hours before we got the tire changed. We never got to go fishing.
If you depend on the spare tire rack under your vehicle, you’re taking a chance. You may not have access to your spare tire. You are also exposing your spare tire to all the elements that dry rot your spare. I now keep my spare tire in the back bed of my truck where it’s under the camper cap, out of the elements and handy when needed.