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Mold under the spare tire in J007 Jeep Patriot

After 2 years of smelling mold and having several body shops look at the car, I was vacuuming and removed the spare tire from the trunk. The mat under the spare time and the seams of the trunk are covered in black mold.

I’ve already had a body shop look at this (they were pretty shocked and made me throw out the liner of the trunk) to see if it was related to some work done - but they replaced a door and it doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the trunk area.

Has anyone seen this before? Any ideas what could cause this or how to figure out what causes this?

What should I do next?

Water can make its way into a car in ways you can’t imagine. Our Acura had a similar problem. Every time it rained, there was water present in the spare wheel well. I thought it was the decklid seal. No dice. Rear window seal - no. The power antenna. Nope!. It was driving me insane because where it came in from was not obvious.
It ended up getting in through a tail light and found it by sprinkling suspected areas with baby powder. When it rained and water was present in the well area, it was clear where it came from by looking at the entrails of missing baby powder as the water stream would remove it as it went. Worth a shot. Baby powder is cheap and smells better than mold.

You might go to a self-serve car wash with a high-pressure wand, get in the trunk (after disinfecting it) with a flashlight, and have someone start spraying the car from all angles. If you’re lucky, you might see where the water is coming in.

Jeep has issued a Technical Service Bulletin that addresses water leaks into the interior of the vehicle.


THANK YOU!!! This is great.

So of course I didn’t discover the issue until not but the smell started in 2011. Any idea how I go about getting this covered by Jeep? Should I start with the dealer?

This is a “you” problem, not a “Jeep” problem. They aren’t going to help you out a bit. Use rubber gloves and a good solution of bleach to kill it and clean the area. Find out where its leaking-a number of methods, and repair that. Then replace the mat if you want.

Hey JeepGalinPA,

I recently spilled milk in my trunk of my 14’ Patriot which stunk up my car and now need a new mat that goes under the spare wheel. If you got a new since you threw your moldy one out would you care to share where/how you got a replacement. Thank you!

JeepGallinPA hasn’t posted in here in 3 years. You could try a Jeep dealership, any place that does interior customization, body shops, Google, etc.

Thank you! I’ll update my solution. I’m thinking of looking at a junkyard but i’m having a hard time finding a junk yard with a patriot! :frowning:

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I’ve never owned a car with a mat under the spare tire, nor would I ever want one.

I’ve had both cars with and without a mat under the spare tire

I see no particular problem with just leaving it out

But if you insist on replacing it, here’s an idea . . .

Peel off the old mat with the spilled milk and measure the dimensions. Now head over to Joann’s fabrics or some such place. But some generic black felt with a similar texture. Also buy some spray adhesive. Clean off the old residue, felt, etc. in the spare tire well. Cut the joann’s felt to the same dimensions as the old mat. Apply the spray adhesive to the felt and allow it to get tacky. Now apply the felt to the same location as the old mat


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