The StinkyTruck had a flat tire, which turned out to be due to a screw. I raised the truck, a 2009 Tacoma, with my nice (non-Toyota) floor jack and removed the flat tire, to take to the shop in the StinkyJeep. Unfortunately, Ilana needed the Jeep, so I instead had to put the spare on.
For the Taco, the spare is mounted under the truck bed. To remove it you need to assemble this long rod which is like an old tent pole: 4 sections, one end with a hook, and the other end with a handle that doubles as a 1 foot long tire iron. What a piece of crud! The rod pieces are held together by little twist bolts and friction, and do not hold the rod together … then, you need to go fishing blindly through a slot at the top of the bumper, hoping to get the hook on the rod into a slot over the pulley holding the tire. All while trying to keep the whole assembly from falling apart (good luck!), and then turning the pulley to lower the spare to the ground.
Then, several of the same pieces are used in a different configuration for the smallish hydraulic jack that comes with the truck. I didn’t put the floor jack in quite the right place, so needed to also use the truck’s hydraulic jack. This is a truck that is, otherwise, quite heavy duty and capable. But the process of removing the spare, and using the jack, is ridiculous. Considering that a flat tire is, by definition, never good news, Toyo should give some thought to a spare and removal system that is not so frustrating. Consider:
- Having a permanent turnscrew, so that only a single section is needed to lower the tire (and no hunting in the dark under the truck for the slot to insert the thing into)
- If a multiple-section tent pole system is really needed, put some holes or deep dimples where the screws insert, so it actually holds together
- A foot long tire iron is not going to be adequate, and even if the tent poles give you extra length it warps and bounces if the lug nuts are tight. Give a full-size, large bore, tire iron. In fact, a full-size tire iron, plus a sane system for lowering the spare, would replace all the toy parts
This design advice is grated to the public domain, with hugs and puppies to our pals at Toyota.