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If your spare tire sits on the exterior of your vehicle, then it is open to the elements and at risk from damage from dirt, debris, and changes in weather conditions. A damaged spare tire is of little use should it ever be needed, and while it sits on your vehicle the damage is visible and affects the overall aesthetic of the vehicle. This is important when it comes to considering the resale value of the vehicle. Investing in a spare tire cover is the best way to avoid damage to your spare tire and to protect the value of your vehicle. However, with such a wide range of covers available, it can be difficult to know where to start. Our panel of automotive experts has compiled a list of the best spare tire covers to help point you in the right direction.
The Best Spare Tire Cover
You simply slip the cover on and make sure the elasticized hem is secure. It is fairly snug and doesn’t flap around in the wind. The item is also water repellent and backed by a three-year manufacturer’s warranty.
Fits tire diameter 26.75” to 29.75”
Larger size available (30” to 33”)
Slip-on fit with elasticized back hem
Made from a durable, water-repellent, wipe-clean material
Soft, non-scratch interior
- BrandClassic Accessories
- Weight12.8 ounces
Easy to fit
Protects your tire from UV damage
The water-resistant material reduces the risk of mold build-up
The cover potentially exposes users to Di-iso-nonly phthalate (DINP)
Some concerns over the durability of the cover close to the hem
The Camco Life is Better at Campsite 27” Vinyl Cover with Elastic Hem features a colorful fade resistant design that will make your vehicle stand out. The cover is made from highly durable vinyl material and the seams are finished with durable thread to ensure they are strong and waterproof. The cover is designed to protect your spare tire from rain, sun, and dirt and is finished with an elastic hem to ensure it fits snugly around the tire.
Fits 27” diameter tire
Durable vinyl material construction
Fade-resistant printed design
- Weight1.05 pounds
Protects from sun, rain, and dirt
The weatherproof seams ensure the interior stays dry
The elastic hem provides a snug fit
Some concerns of the vinyl cracking particularly in dry, hot conditions
The ADCO 1757 Polar White Vinyl Tire Cover J is designed to fit 27-inch diameter spare wheels. The heavy-duty vinyl cover is available in 10 different sizes, so it is the ideal choice of any size wheel. The cover protects your spare tire from everything from UV rays to bird droppings. The interior side of the material is flannel to reduce the risk of damage to your tire from scratching or rubbing. It is designed with a hollow bead welt cord and an elasticized back that makes it very easy to fit.
Designed to fit a 27” diameter tire (with other size options available)
Heavy-duty vinyl with a flannel interior
East to fit
Hollow bead welt cord and elasticized back
- Weight1.01 pounds
The elasticized back makes the cover easy to fit and holds it securely in place
The cover is weather resistant and protects for dust, dirt, and grime
The flannel interior reduces the risk of damage from rubbing and scratching
The vinyl used to create the cover is not very thick
Some concerns over sizing and fit
The Jeep Wrangler (JK) 32” Rigid Tire Cover is specifically designed to Jeep models JK and JKU between 2007 and 2015. The cover consists of a molded plastic faceplate and a heavy-duty vinyl band.
32” rigid tire cover for the Jeep Wrangler
Molded plastic faceplate
Heavy-duty vinyl band
- Weight3.8 pounds
Perfect fit for factory installed Jeep Wrangler spare tires
Durable and easy to fit
Offers excellent protection
Only suitable for specific Jeep Wrangler models and spare wheel types
The ADCO 1787 Printed Vinyl Tire Cover J is designed to fit spare tires with a 27” diameter. However, the cover design is available in seven different sizes. It is made from heavy-duty vinyl with a hollow bead welt cord. The elasticized back makes it easy to install and ensures that it remains in place while you are on the road. The cover comes with a clear and bright flag design and is capable of protecting your spare tire from bird droppings, road debris, and UV rays.
Fits 27” diameter spare wheels (6 other sizes are available)
Heavy-duty vinyl construction
Hollow bead welt cord and elasticized back
- Weight5.4 ounces
Protects against weather, UV rays, and road dirt and debris
Easy to fit with elasticized back
Constructed from durable heavy-duty vinyl
The paint on the flag design fades with use
Some concerns over the quality of the stitching
If you are looking for something a little different, then the Plasticolor Taz Back Off! Spare Tire Cover might be just what you need. The black all-weather tire cover comes with a unique Taz character design that adds a touch of individuality to your vehicle. The cover protects your spare tire from rain, sun, mud, and other dirt and debris. The durable tire cover fits snuggly over your spare tire and includes high-quality UV silk screens.
Designed to fit tire diameters from 27” to 31”
All-weather heavy-duty vinyl cover
UV silk screens
Taz character design
- Weight1.19 pounds
All-weather cover protects against the natural elements including UV rays
The elastic lining ensures the cover is easy to fit and provides a snug fit to your tire
Made from long-lasting, durable vinyl
The colors on the design fade quite quickly
Some sizing issues – comes up larger than expected
The Leader Accessories Universal Spare Tire Cover is designed to fit spare tires from 26 inches to 28 inches in diameter. The tire cover is created from waterproof vinyl and features a soft cotton non-scratching backing. The cover is easy to install, and the elasticized back hem ensures a snug fit to your tire.
Designed to fit tire diameters from 26” to 28”
UV and mildew resistant
Waterproof vinyl construction with non-scratching soft cotton backing
Elasticized back hem
Easy to install
- BrandLeader Accessories
- Weight13.4 ounces
The waterproof vinyl cover protects from rain and sun damage
The soft cotton back reduces the risk of damage to your tire from road debris and scratches
The elasticized back hem ensures a snug fit and keeps the cover firmly in place
Some concern over the durability and quality of the elastic cord
The weather-resistant Bully CM-02 Large Universal Spare Tire Cover is designed to protect spare tires with diameters from 26.5 inches to 29.5 inches. The vinyl construction includes an elasticated hem for easy installation and to provide a snug fit to your spare wheel. The cover protects your tire from dirt and road debris, as well as from harsh weather conditions and UV rays.
Designed to fit tires with diameters from 26.5” to 29.5”
Vinyl construction with elasticated hem
Easy to fit
- Weight1.5 pounds
The weather resistant cover protects from harsh weather conditions, water damage, and UV rays
The elasticated hem provides easy installation and ensures a secure fit
Loosely fitting, which can cause water to pool in the cover
Some reports of the cover tearing easily with very little use
Designed to fit 27-inch diameter spare wheels, the ADCO 9757 Silver Diamond Plated Steel Vinyl Spare Wheel Cover J is designed to match the plating on your vehicle. The cover is constructed from heavy-duty vinyl and includes an elastic inside hem to ensure a secure, snug fit. The cover is UV and cold crack treated and includes bottom drainage that helps to prevent moisture build-up.
Designed to fit 27” diameter spare wheels with 9 other sizes available
Heavy duty vinyl construction with elastic inside hem
UV and cold crack treated
Diamond plated steel design
- Weight1.5 pounds
The cover is easy to fit and the elastic inside hem ensures a secure and snug fit
It protects against harsh weather conditions including cold and UV rays
Bottom drainage prevents moisture build-up that can cause mold
Sizing comes up small
Some reports of tearing as the cover is fitted
The Dee-Type Paws Spare Tire Cover is constructed from wipe-clean, waterproof vinyl and includes a soft, non-scratch backing. It is designed to fit R17 and R16 tires and the slip-on design means that no tools are required for installation. The cover protects your spare tire from moisture, dirt, dust, and other road debris.
Designed to fit R17 and R16 tires
Waterproof, wipe-clean vinyl construction
- BrandDee Type
- Weight1.2 pounds
Slip-on design makes it easy to install
The cover protects against all weather conditions
Non-scratch, soft backing provides additional protection for your tire
Some concerns over the quality of the seams and the stitching
Best Spare Tire Covers Buying Guide & FAQ
The main purpose of a spare tire cover is to protect it from damage; however, the right spare tire cover can actually enhance the visual appeal of your vehicle as well. It is the ideal way to add a personal touch to your vehicle and make it stand out from other similar makes and models. In this section of the buying guide, we explore what you should look for when buying a spare tire cover for your vehicle, what the benefits are of having such a cover, and the different types of spare tire covers that are available. We also offer some tips on using a spare tire cover and answer some of the most frequently asked questions about spare tire covers.
What to Look for When Buying Spare Tire Covers
While you want your spare tire cover to look good, the color and design need to be secondary to its function and durability. It doesn't matter how good it looks if the stitching splits as you install it or the wind blows it away the first time that you go for a drive. With this in mind, these are the key things to look for when buying spare tire covers:
- Durable materials
Your spare tire cover is going to take a lot of punishment. It will be open to the elements in all weathers. It needs to be made of a strong material that will withstand temperature changes, objects striking it, and being caught by the wind. Heavy-duty vinyl is a good choice as it meets all these requirements and has the added benefit of being water resistant.
- Strong stitching
Once in place on your spare tire the cover will be under continual strain. It doesn’t matter how durable the material is if the stitching is of inferior quality. The stitching that holds the faceplate to the sides and that creates the hem needs to be created from a strong thread that can withstand temperature changes without fraying or snapping. Look for straight stitching that is not too close to the edge of the material. Check for fraying, dropped, or missing stitches that may cause weak points to appear.
As well as the material itself being water resistant, you need a design that is waterproof. This means checking edges and joins for potential sites where water could enter. Also, check the hem and space around the hem. Can water enter here or create pools anywhere around the tire?
The fit of the tire cover is one of the most important aspects to check. If the tire cover is too small, it simply won’t fit. However, if you choose one that is too big, you risk it not fitting correctly causing spaces where water can enter and pool, resulting in damp and mold build-up. More significantly, if the cover is too big, it could easily be blown off or fall off while you are driving. This risks the cover becoming a hazard for you and other road users.
Look for a cover that is easy to fit and remove. Most have elasticized hems that make them easy to position over your spare tire. They may then have clips or ties that help to keep them in place. Check the quality, materials, and durability of any additional parts as a flaw here could easily make the whole cover fail.
Benefits of a Spare Tire Cover
The right spare tire cover will offer the following benefits.
- Weather protection
Continuous exposure to the elements is not good for your spare tire. Temperature changes, damp, and exposure to UV rays will wear away at the rubber. Over time this can cause issues with the composition and stability of your tire, leaving you with a spare tire that is at best useless and at worse dangerous. A tire cover protects your tire from these issues and protects it from uneven discoloration.
- Dirt and debris protection
Of course mud, dust, and dirt wash off, but it all adds to your upkeep time. Having a spare tire that is covered in mud also increases the risk of mold and bacteria growth that could affect the tires usefulness and performance over time. Some other dirt, such as bird droppings can also carry elements that scratch your wheel and can even carry diseases. This is much easier to deal with on a flat washable surface, rather than on your spare wheel, just as you need to change the tire on your vehicle.
Spare tires, particularly for some vehicles, such as Jeep spare tires are not cheap to replace. Given this, easily identifiable tires are often the target of opportunistic thieves. Buying Jeep spare tire covers helps to protect your spare wheel. Not only does it make it a little less obvious, but it means it will take more time and effort for the wheel to be removed. This can be enough to deter many thieves. If you are unsure that the cover itself will be enough, then you can get an additional locking system to complement the tire cover.
- Rodent protection
There are a wide range of little furry critters that are always on the lookout for somewhere warm and dry to sleep, something to scratch at, or even something to gnaw. Your spare tire fits all these criteria. However, using a tire cover can help block access to your tire and protect is from sharp teeth and claws.
This can cause damage to your spare tire and potentially to your vehicle as well. Spare wheel covers are a great way to reduce humidity build-up.
Adding a spare tire cover to your vehicle allows you to add a personal touch to the exterior design of your vehicle. Whether you choose plain Jeep tire covers or go for one with a unique design, it makes a personal statement.
Different Types of Spare Tire Covers
There are two types of spare tire covers; hard and soft. As the name suggests the difference is in the type of materials that are used in their construction.
- Hard covers
These are created from rigid materials such as stainless steel or molded plastic; often hard covers use a combination of both. A hard cover consists of a face plate and a ring. The ring sits around the tire, while the faceplate covers the front. The ring locks the faceplate in place, keeping the whole thing secure and providing full tire coverage.
Hard spare tire covers tend to last longer and provide better resistance to mold and mildew. They also offer better security than soft covers. However, they are also much more expensive than soft covers; up to twice the price in most cases. Hard covers are also much more difficult to fit, and you may find that you need to modify your tire mount to ensure the cover fits correctly.
- Soft covers
Generally made from high-quality vinyl, soft covers wrap around your tire and are held in place by an elasticized hem or cord. Most higher end soft covers also have a felt or cotton interior that provides extra protection from scratches and other damage.
Soft covers are generally much cheaper and are easier to fit. However, they are likely to need replacing more often than a hard cover and offer less security.
Tips for Using a Spare Tire Cover
The most important thing to remember when using a spare tire cover is to make sure you get the right size. Most spare tire covers are sized by the diameter of wheel that they fit. Remember when measuring the diameter, you need to do this from the outside edge of the tire, unless the cover states otherwise.
Check your spare tire cover regularly, at least once a month to look for mildew or moisture build-up. Also, check for wear and tear and remember to replace the cover at the first signs that it is beginning to fail.
Maintain your tire cover correctly by following the manufacturer’s instructions in terms of washing and general care.
Best Spare Tire Covers FAQ:
Q: What size spare tire cover do I need?
A: Measure the diameter of your spare wheel from the outside edge of the tire. This will give you the size cover that you need. Check with the manufacturer's manual if you are unsure of your measurements fall between two different cover sizes.
Q: How to measure for spare tire cover?
A: Spare tire covers are fitted using the diameter of your spare tire. You should use a tape measure to carefully measure the diameter of the wheel from the outside edge of the tire. Ensure you measure straight across to the opposite outside edge. Alternatively, or to check your measurements, you can check the numbers printed on the tire’s sidewall.
Q: Can I paint my spare tire cover?
A: This depends on the material that the spare tire cover is made from. Most are made from heavy-duty vinyl that can be painted effectively with the right materials. If you are going to paint your spare tire cover, then take your time, ensure you plan out your design, and use the right materials for the best finish. Acrylic paints are ideal for this task and clear coat can be used to protect your design from the elements once it is finished.
Alternatively, find a professional artist that can create a unique design for you and who can airbrush the design onto your spare tire cover.
Q: How do I install a spare tire cover?
A: Installing a soft spare tire cover is very simple. However, it is worth remembering to take your time and not to try forcing the cover as this risks tearing either the material or the stitching. For the best results, follow these steps:
- Remove the cover from its wrapping or box and line it up with the spare tire
- Stretch the elastic over the tread, but only to around halfway across, keep the cover as even as possible as you work it onto the tire, this will prevent you from overstretching or damaging the cover
- Check that the cover is straight if you have a design on the cover check that this is positioned correctly
- Now gently stretch and pull the cover over the remained of the tire until you have achieved a smooth finish
- Connect any clips or addition attachments as per the manufacturer’s instructions.
Your tire cover is likely to stretch over the first few weeks so you may need to adjust the fit carefully to ensure it remains tight and in place over your spare wheel.
Our Top Pick
Our top pick is the easy to fit Classic Accessories OverDrive Universal Fit Spare Tire Cover. It features an elasticized back hem that provides a secure fit over your spare tire. The cover is created from a durable, water-repellent, wipe-clean material that offers protection from the elements, including from UV damage. It also protects your tire from dust, dirt, and other debris that can be thrown up from the road surface while you are driving. The interior of the cover is soft and non-scratch to ensure that it does not damage the tire during use or when being placed over the tire.
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