Should I keep my 43lb. spare-tire in the BACKSEAT or the TRUNK?

Car: 2007 Corolla, FWD, NOSE-heavy.

The spare-tire is not factory (that one is small and lightweight and thin, I lost that one.) It is an after-market.

As it is now, it is in the trunk where the factory spare-tire is usually kept.

I was thinking about putting it in a large bag and keeping it in the passenger side of the back-seat.

Why? Weight distribution. Keeping the weight more towards the center of the car might help it handle slightly better. I bet it’s trivial, and I bet it won’t make much of a difference.

What do you think?

You would get better gas mileage by leaving the spare tire at home and traveling with a can of “fix-a-flat” which only weighs 12 ounces.

Seriously though, if your car feels “nose heavy” you are driving too fast and reading too many back issues of “Car and Driver” and “Motor Trend”.

When Toyota designed your vehicle, they forecast for safety and performance. If you are looking to improve handling a possible 4 tire and wheel change along with or without replacement springs & struts would be appropriate. Placing a 43 lbs projectile in the front seat qualifies you for the Bozo Deluxe award.

Furthermore, if you THINK the car is nose-heavy, moving the spare from the trunk into the front of the car will make it MORE nose heavy.


well, my understanding is that the ideal weight distribution is towards the center as much as possible… i could be wrong…

and the least ideal is nose-heavy, and tail-heavy

i could be wrong.

Yes, you’re making it more nose heavy if you move it to the back seat, along with creating a possible problem with a 43lb tire bouncing around the interior in a crash. Leave it in the trunk.

This doesn’t seem sensible. First, why would you want it bouncing around the passenger compartment in a crash? Second, why are you moving weight forward if you’re already understeering?

If the car is nose heavy, moving 43 lbs. forward from the trunk to the back seat will make it more so. Frankly, Toyotas are generally tuned for ride rather than great handling, and I doubt that moving the spare tire would make a real noticeable difference. It sorta reminds me of a friend of mine who has a car that drives like a pig on stilts, but he raves about how much better it is with nitrogen in the tires.

I’m now carrying a full sized spare in my Ford Escort (similar sized car).

I weighed the emergency “donut” that came with the car and then the full sized spare. The weight difference was all of about 12lb. I think I have more than that in old beach & river sand ground into the trunk carpet.

So I just bolted the full sized spare in where the donut went. The key there is bolted in. If some lunkhead rear ends me I don’t expect it to slam me (or a passenger) in the back of the head.

I doubt that where you put it will make even a little but of difference - unless it isn’t securely attached. So pick a spot and get the thing strapped down.

Yep, you are wrong. 50:50 is preferred, but mass centralization is good for sports cars, where you want rapid response to steering inputs, but not for street cars, where stable handling is more important. The Toyota MR2 is an example of good mass centralization, ‘snappy’ handling, but you could spin one more easily. Leave the spare in the trunk, where it will not be a danger during a crash and will improve your weight distribution.

Go to a salvage yard are buy the proper replacement (temporary) spare tire. Put in the compartment under the trunk and then you can have your trunk and your back seat again to use for cargo and passengers.

If you want to improve the weight distribution, then you need to have your car weighed at each individual tire, then add weigh to the car until all 4 tires have the exact same weight reading.

Once you get there, then you will need to replace all 4 springs and struts so that they are all capable of dealing with that weight, in a controlled manner. Luckily, that part is the easier part, as there are lots of aftermarket companies that sell struts that have adjustments for rebound and compression damping. Once they are installed, you need to have the car aligned properly, and the ride height set.

Then, you need to make adjustments to your rebound and compression settings until you get the car to react to bumps in the way that you prefer.

Also, I would lay money that all the weight would need to be added to the trunk.
Best place would be in the spare tire well. Nice and low.


Yeah, if you want a less nose-heavy car, move the tire as far aft as possible. Think about a see-saw: if one see-sawer is heavier than the other, he shifts in, the lighter one shifts outward, and the see saw balances.

If you’re really nuts about weight distribution, you can even have the battery relocated to the trunk.

“Weight towards the center” is about polar moment of inertia, and is a different (but related) issue. Basically, you can keep the same center of gravity, move as much weight inward as possible, and reduce the P.M.I. This makes the car more nimble (or “twitchier,” depending if you like the effect or not), but shouldn’t affect over/understeer.

Without buying a mid-engined car, the best you can really do is get the CG where you want it. I’d say getting the CG LOW, as well as aft, is a bigger deal than moment of inertia.

(By the way, given that this is a Corolla we’re talking about, I’m reminded of an amusing anecdote re: silk purses and pig ears.)

Keep it in the trunk where it will help to anchor the rear of the car. There isn’t enough weight back there without it. If you do move it “inside” don’t put it in a plastic bag or you will negate its air freshening characteristics.

It’s too bad you didn’t have the car in the 1950’s. The solution would have been simple–put on a “Continental” spare tire kit. The weight would be at the back and you would have easy access to the spare tire.

You’d be surprised which cars have a “Continental” kit:

I think your nuts…

If handling is your concern why are you driving a Corolla?

No fair! You didn’t tell us how you lost the spare tire! How did you lose it?

What you should do is buy an engine from a junkyard and put it in your trunk.

For the best handling you want 50-50 but a car that is 50-50 with most of the wieght in the center will turn more nimbly and spin easier.

A 50-50 car with the weight at front and rear is less likely to spin, but if it does spin it is harder to recover from.

I don’t know if the weight distribution will improve, but I can tell you with 100% certainty that putting the spare tire in the back seat of a car this new will definitely make you white trash.