by Matt Konkle
Quadratec Channel Editor
Perhaps your Jeep already had one hanging off the tire when you bought the thing. Perhaps you just saw one on the Wrangler in front of you this morning and liked the design. Maybe you really want to complete a certain look for your vehicle, or are hoping for a bit more security.
Whatever the reason, owning a spare tire cover is so much more than just throwing some canvas over that tire sticking out from the tailgate. So here are five reasons why utilizing a spare tire cover can be a beneficial investment.
There is no greater enemy of rubber than UV and weather, and without the proper protection your spare tire will be exposed to lots of each over its lifespan. It is just something you can’t totally avoid. And after enough time, this exposure can be very damaging to your tire – causing cracks in the sidewall, weakening the rubber and making it less structurally sound.
Now, if you are someone who uses all five tires in your rotation schedule, then this type of damage probably will not be as bad. That’s because driving actually helps keep tires supple. When a tire is driven, the rubber flexing causes it to heat up and stretch out a bit. This process stirs up protective wax compounds that rise to the surface, keeping the rubber protected and in good shape.
Unfortunately, the large majority of Jeep owners never touch their spare unless there is some problem with an active tire. And without that flexing, those with unused spare tires just sitting on the tailgate become prime candidates for premature breakdown, dry rot, or sidewall cracks. Dangerous stuff if you end up actually needing the spare down the road.
So covering your spare tire with a high quality UV- and weather-blocking cover such as ones from Bestop, Rugged Ridge, Smittybilt, MasterTop, Rampage, Warrior and even Mopar just makes sense. After all, we all know tires are expensive, so protecting the ones you have is certainly a good investment.
If you are like many Jeep owners, you have enough to worry about and maintain on your vehicle. Things like winches and bumpers, to soft top windows/zippers, maybe even suspension products you have added during your travels. So helpful products with low maintenance can definitely be a plus. And spare tire covers are about as low maintenance as you can get for your Jeep.
Soft spare tire covers can be easily attached thanks to their elastic band which quickly secures the cover in place. Now, we all realize a Jeep does get dirty from time to time and a tire cover is no exception. In fact, this is something we are asked quite a bit when people call in to inquire about tire covers – what happens if the thing gets dirty? The answer is just as simple as the process. Simply pull off the cover and clean off. Maybe even wash it. That’s it. Your cover definitely does not have to sit on the tire forever once installed. In fact, you should put a reminder on your phone to take the cover off to clean every few weeks anyway.
Like we said before, tire are expensive. And spare tires, unlike the wheels on the ground, can be unbolted and removed very quickly if someone really wants to steal one. Now, security wheel locks can certainly help deter theft of your spare tire, and are a great product to own, but so can a tire cover.
Hard shell tire covers with a locking system in place, as well as soft covers with a cable lock, work well to conceal and further protect that important (and expensive) spare tire from prying hands. Multiple studies by law enforcement show just the mere act of concealing a valuable item can reduce the odds of its theft by more than 50 percent. Plus, add in that extra time required to cut off a cable lock and most out looking for something quick to take will pass.
Just like tires, a tire cover is not a one size fits all accessory. There are many different size options so you are easily able to get one that perfectly fits your spare tire. This is important because, after all, the goal is to keep out the elements and an ill-fitting cover just does not do that effectively.
Beyond a proper fit, you can also customize the material in the cover. Do you like the shiny black that vinyl offers, or the textured black of denim? Do you want a hard shell tire carrier for added durability? Perhaps a soft cover with a clear center section to still show off those great wheels you have, while still protecting the tire from weather and sun.
Perfecting That Finished Look
Making a statement. Many Jeep owners love to do just that with all the stickers and window vinyl they put on the front of their vehicles. And if making a statement is your kind of thing, then not only can you customize a tire cover by the type of material, but you can pick colors to match your Jeep – even designs or logos that will make your vehicle stand out.
Will a Jeep Logo cover fit your needs, or maybe a Willys, Rubicon, or Sahara lettered one? How about a cover with your favorite collegiate squad? Or baseball, hockey and football team? Many also love the Smiley Face and Camouflage. Hard shell covers offer even more design options as their glossy exterior makes it easy for anyone to personalize a design or image they love.
You can check out all of our tire cover options all in one place on our Tire Cover Category page.