Why Should I Use a Spare Tire Cover?
If you own a sport-utility vehicle (SUV) such as a Jeep Wrangler, Toyota Land Cruiser, or Mitsubishi Montero, it most likely has a rear-mounted spare tire. Even some of the smaller crossover vehicles like the older-generation Honda CRV and Toyota RAV4 also have them. While it may look ungainly and unsymmetrical to some people, others feel that it adds a bit of dash to your off-roader (even if you don’t really go off the road).
For those who own a vehicle with a rear-mounted spare tire and want to make their SUV look even better, putting on a spare tire cover is the way to go. By definition, a spare tire cover is an accessory that covers the externally-mounted spare wheel on a vehicle. Spare tire covers are either hard shells made from durable ABS plastic or composite material, polyethelyne (the material used to make tarpaulins), or even soft vinyl. Spare tire covers are actually a great investment. Not only they make your vehicle look better, but they also act as protection for your spare tire, whether from the weather or other factors.
Here are four reasons why spare tire covers are a great idea:
1. They protect spare tire from weather and ultraviolet (UV) damage
Ultraviolet rays don’t really have much effect on tires while they’re on the ground and inside the fenders or wheel wells, but it’s a different story for externally-mounted spare tires. Since these are fixed in position, they don’t rotate. This makes the tire prone to weather damage such as heat and cold, as well as UV rays.
Parking on the same spot every day out in the open exposes your spare tire to all these meteorological factors. The ozone in the atmosphere can react with the material in car and truck tires which causes them to dry up and get brittle. This is called “ozone degradation” or “dry rot”, and damage that appears because of this, such as cracks, can’t be repaired. Tire makers have gotten around the issue of dry rot by blending waxes into the material, but the wheel has to rotate and flex for the waxes to come out regularly. Since a spare tire doesn’t see much use, being stationary all the time, it is deprived of this sort of protection. Even wheels are prone to degradation too. Too much sunlight can bleach the finish of the metal and can discolor the wheel after long periods of exposure to sunlight. This is most noticeable when sunlight hits the spare tire at an angle.
2. Spare tire covers offer protection from theft and vandalism
Unlike objects inside a car (where a thief actually has to break in to steal the items), spare tires are fairly easy to steal. Since most spares have actually never even touched the road, the tire and wheel have minimal wear and tear, making it a great target for thieves. If the thief knows what he’s doing, a spare tire can be unbolted and removed in less than a minute. Even using a special locking bolt won’t deter many a seasoned thief, as they have ways to remove a bolt in a short time. Covering the spare, especially with a cover of the same color as your car’s body, greatly lessens the chances of it being noticed by a thief. Some hard shell covers also come with a cable lock kit. This secures the cover and makes it extra hard for the thief to get his hands on it. The cable lock also helps prevent the cover itself from being stolen.
In the same way, a cover helps stop hooligans, preventing them from slashing or causing other kinds of damage.
3. Spare tire covers enhance the look of your vehicle
There are different kinds of spare tire covers available in the market. You can buy them from any reputable automotive specialty shop. You can choose a color and material that matches your vehicle and its interiors, or you can choose a cover that offers a contrast. It all depends on your taste. Whatever you choose, just make sure you get one that fits your spare tire. It is important that the cover fits the tire properly in order for it to keep the elements out.
4. Making a statement is easy with spare tire covers
If you drive a sport-utility vehicle or a serious off-roading machine, you might want to make a statement about how your drive won’t need roads. Maybe you want to say something about your personality, or just want people to know about your beliefs. You might own your own business and want to advertise cheaply. Whatever the reason, spare tire covers are a great way to convey a message. Everyone driving behind you would have to be blind not to see and read it. In this case, the person does not have any business driving anyway.
Some shops can customize spare tire covers for you, either by using high-quality, weather-resistant stickers or having someone paint it. The tire cover can have a particular message or slogan like “Good girls go to heaven, bad girls go everywhere!” or “Rock crawlers like it rough!” or even the Ralph Waldo Emerson quote that goes “Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail!” You can have your company’s logo printed on the cover, or maybe even your country’s flag. The sky is the limit when it comes to designs.
Whether you use tire covers to protect your spare from the harsh rays of the sun and the cold during winter (especially road salt in places that experience cold weather and snow regularly), or just like them because they look really great, spare tire covers are a really good idea. It’s all just a matter of finding the right spare tire cover that fits both your car and your personality.