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How Not To Install A Spare Tire

I had someone come in yesterday to have their tire repaired.

Notice anything wrong with the spare?


Frugal method for a wider stance?

It looks neater that way. Folks used to do that to their VW Bugs to make them look like hot rods.

Scary. Did you think to suggest that the wheel should be installed the other way?

It’s much easier to find the curb that way.


This is one of those times that I can’t be too harsh. Could be the first time changing a tire and had never really looked at a vehicle with a temp spare on it.




Well DUUUUH, That tire is for the left side.


There was a young man around here a couple of years ago driving around in an older Honda with 4 space saver spares mounted on it and all 4 of them were reversed like that.

Close enough, as long as it works I suppose. (would love to say don’t get your undies in a bunch over it, but I think there is a better term out there on the world wide wiver of infowmation)

And can’t forget the temp that repainted the wheels on my former f250 work truck and managed to put every lug nut on backwards, and it did not take more than a couple of years for the paint to wear off the tires.

This was clearly just an attempt to emulate the “wide stance” of former Senator Larry Craig (R-Idaho)–albeit in a very different environment.



Until the Larry Craig story, I thought that “Getting lucky in the men’s room” meant finding a motion-sensing faucet that actually worked.


I see Civics with the wheels/tires sticking way out of the wheel wells all the time. I don’t think these kids understand how much load they’re putting on the ball joints, bearings, etc. There’s an old axiom; “give me a long enough lever and I can lift the world”. These kids are in effect adding levers to the loads on the components.

They’re also changing their suspension and steering geometries in ways that they don’t understand.


Not only do they not understand, how this changes the steering/suspension geometries, and adversely effects handling and control. The idiots plain just don’t care.

This is the correct way!!

Um… about that fifth lug nut… :smiling_imp:


I can see it now, big yellow stickers being required that say “this side out”. Like the sod layers “green side up”.

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Interesting comment, Bing. Doughnut spares may be the last thing left that don’t have warning labels, and they’re the one that can get you killed the most easily.

Loved the “green side up” joke. I heard it many years ago, and never forgot it.
Perhaps the others would enjoy it. :yum:

Wow! I’ve never even tried to do that to see if it was even possible. Here are my guesses at why this happened:

1.) First time use, didn’t know any better, not an observant person

2.) Put it on the correct way first, but it looked so recessed and buried in the wheel well that it looked less safe, stability-wise, than what he ended up with

3.) So many people these days installing protruding wheels that he thought the spare could be installed that way too.

4.) Didnt trust the wheel and wanted to be able to actually see it from his side-view mirror. Maybe it was a really short hop at very low speed, too.

5.) Maybe was afraid he’d forget he installed it if it wasn’t sticking out like that?

Makes you think, though, that those things should be designed such that they only can be installed one way. Maybe you weld some uneven, protruding “pegs” on the outside so if this side is placed against the hub you cannot get the wheel over the studs, or its so uneven that’s it’s obvious to you that it cannot be mounted that way. Could also paint the hub two different colors and/or have raised white lettering on the tire sidewall to help indicate which side goes where. It would also be nice if they could design the mini spare to make an annoying sound to encourage the person to replace it ASAP. I see so many people driving around on those things on the interstate at speeds that have to be dangerous for them.

Tester - did you notice if the metal on either the spare or the hub at the contact point was worn down at all? Isn’t the metal raised around the bolt holes to make the lug nuts fit snugly? If you mounted this side against the hub, I would think if you drove around long enough you’d started to see grinding of metal on one or both parts without a flush/flat fit

I thought it was interesting that in Sioux Falls, they were having a class for teenagers on car maintenance including how to change a tire.