LAST UPDATED: March 9, 2019
Best Spare Tire Covers: Our Top Picks for Clean Spares
Keep your spare tire in tip-top shape with a good tire cover
The Review Team
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PUBLISHED ON March 9, 2019
Spare tires are not only useful but can also be a great aesthetic as well. If you’re looking to add to the sleekness of your vehicle, consider a spare tire cover for your mounted spare. Commonly seen on off-roading vehicles like the Jeep Wrangler, these covers protect your spare from the harsh effects of the sun and the weather. Read on to find out everything you need to know about the best spare tire covers out there.
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Why Buy Spare Tire Covers?
- Protection from sun damage. A spare tire mounted to your vehicle is exposed to a lot of harmful UV rays that can wear down the finish on the rim and degrade the rubber tire. A spare tire cover blocks these rays so the tire remains protected.
- Protection from the elements. Frequent exposure to dirt, wind, rain, cold, and heat can be detrimental to your tire. This can cause the weakening of the rubber and cracks in the sidewall, making it less structurally sound. A spare wheel cover will help to minimize this damage.
- Anti-theft. When your spare tire is covered, there’s an extra deterrent to would-be thieves. Hard covers, in particular, offer great protection, thanks to hard-to-open latches.
- Customization. Since spare tires come in a variety of sizes, it’s important to get the right fit to keep the elements out and your tire protected. Beyond the right fit, it’s sometimes possible to customize the materials of the cover, from shiny vinyl to a glossy, hard shell.
Types of Spare Tire Covers
A hard spare tire cover is made of a rigid material like stainless steel or molded plastic. These covers come in two parts: a faceplate that covers the front of the tire and a ring that wraps around the spare, locking in place with a clasp or latch. In terms of protection, these provide the maximum amount of security. Hard covers also have the bonus perk of looking very sleek.
These covers use soft vinyl and wrap around the spare tire from the front, tightening in the back with an elastic cord or rope. The higher the quality of the soft cover, the more likely it is to include an interior felt pad that offers extra protection. Most fabrics for soft covers are UV- and weather-resistant. They also come in a wide variety of designs and colors to match your vehicle. Compared to hard covers, however, they are less durable and will fade faster.
Founded in 1999, Fremont Die continues to be a market leader in spare tire covers. From their headquarters in Williamsburg, Virginia, they design covers that are well-made and durable, featuring a number of popular sports teams. Top products include their NFL Covers and their Kansas City Chiefs Cover.
An online-based distributor of great automotive accessories, you can find many custom options with this brand. They’ve produced more than 20 million protective covers, with their most popular products being the White Vinyl Cover and the Black Ultra Tyre Gard.
Tire Cover Central
Based in Erlanger, Kentucky, Tire Cover Central makes high-quality, custom tire covers to suit many different needs. In business for over a decade, their materials are durable, and their designs are state-of-the-art. Bestsellers include the Flippin’ Frog Premium Cover and the Wolf and Moon Cover.
Spare Tire Cover Pricing
- Under $20: At this price range, you’ll find a small number of lower-quality tire covers that are mostly made from thinner materials. If you’re looking to keep your tire protected from the weather, we recommend investing a little more into a better cover.
- $20-$50: In the midrange, you can find a variety of high-quality products with premade designs and colors. The materials used are more durable to improve the overall protection of a spare.
- $50 and above: In this price range, custom and hard shell covers, which tend to be the most expensive available, are common. They’re often worth the extra cost, however, since they offer the best protection from the elements and look great aesthetically.
Size matters! Both soft and hard shell tire covers need to fit properly onto your spare tire, so make sure you get the correct size for your tire. Check the wall of the tire for a number that looks something like this: 225/75/15. This number will tell you the exact size you need.
Spare tire covers come in a variety of durable materials, most of which are weatherproof and UV-safe using white colors. Soft covers tend to use heavy-duty vinyl material, while hard shells vary; many are made from a combination of stainless steel and hard plastic.
Depending on the type of cover you select, the closing mechanism might be a simple elastic band sewn into the hem or a more secure metal latch. The former is more common on soft covers, which may also have strings that need to be tightened to fit around the spare. Hard shell covers tend to have clasps or latches.
- Inside layer: Most wheel tire covers come with an inner lining. High-quality options often have a lining made of fleece to protect the tire from damage and the cold. Ideally, this lining will be the perfect fit for the wheel so it doesn't get loose.
- Warranty: It’s a good idea to choose an option that has a stellar warranty so you can get a replacement or a repair if something is wrong with the cover. Typical warranties run about a year but can last two or more, depending on the manufacturer.
Best Spare Tire Covers Reviews & Recommendations 2020
Harsh weather elements—like the harmful UV rays emitted by the sun—can damage your car’s spare tire. That’s why you need to get the best spare tire cover for your tire. It will protect the tire from the sun, snow, rain, and other weather elements. This tire guard by ADCO has been UV-treated and cold crack treated to protect your tire from dangerous UV rays and cold weather. It also keeps your spare tire safe when your car is parked.
The tire cover comes in a variety of sizes. However, this specific model fits bus tires as its diameter is 40-42 inches. The fabric it's made from resembles diamond-plated steel. Its color also looks like your vehicle’s plating. The cover is easy to use; simply use the strap and buckle at the rear to secure your spare tire.
This tire cover comes in a set of two and has a three-year warranty. It is one of the longer-lasting tire covers on the market. However, it doesn’t cover the bottom part of the tire. You will also need to check the size of your spare tire as the size the manufacturer gives is not very accurate.
Classic Accessories makes a great universal cover that comes in small and large sizes to fit a spare. The design is sleek and rugged, making for a great addition on any type of vehicle, especially Jeeps and RVs. The slip-on fit makes the cover easy to install, allowing quick access to the spare when needed.
The material is also water-repellent and weatherproof. Rugged and easy to clean, the fabric boasts a soft, scratch-resistant backing to help protect the spare. The back hem is elastic and can be tightened for a secure fit. A three-year warranty ensures that the cover itself is covered should any defects turn up.
Compared to some other tire covers, this one is not quite as durable as its competitors. If you’re looking for something with longevity, you might want to pick one of the other covers on this list. That being said, it’s still a great value pick if you want something to protect your spare that doesn’t break the bank.
Although touted as a “universal fit,” this cover actually comes in five different sizes. It also comes in a variety of colors and styles, so you’re sure to find one that fits your tire and matches your vehicle.
Designed with an elastic hem and a tightening strap, this cover offers a tight fit over the spare tire. It’s easy to install/remove and even easier to clean—just wipe it down with a soft cloth and you’re good to go. The cover is waterproof, scratch-resistant, and UV-safe, making it a great pick to keep your spare in good condition.
A great cover overall, this one is best for crossovers and smaller SUVs. The material is thinner than some other competing models so it might wear out more quickly if you tend to mount and remove the spare tire cover regularly.
Moonet has created a dependable and durable spare tire cover. It comes in five different sizes, though it is advertised as a universal fit. The size ranges from 14 to 18 inches, though there is not much of a difference in price between them. For the product line altogether, it fits wheels from 24 to 33 inches. It is waterproof and scratch-resistant, with an elastic back hem to help the fit. The spare tire cover itself weighs just over a pound, making it easy to handle. It has a leather-like appearance, though it is not real leather.
Some other perks of this product is that it is washable so you can keep it shiny and clean. You don’t need any tools to install or uninstall this cover. You simply just slip it on and off and won’t need a second person to help with the installation due to the elastic.
It is plain black and will go well with any car, so if you are looking for more individuality, you won’t find it here. You should let the cover stretch out and relax for about a half hour before attempting to install it, as forcing the cover has resulted in ripping.
A break away from the traditional black, this off-white or cream-colored spare tire cover is great for white vehicles or those with lighter color schemes. It comes in 10 different sizes, ranging from 21.5 to 34 inches. If the off-white doesn’t do it for you, you can also get it in pure white, black, or two black versions with camping designs. This allows you to show off your more adventurous spirit and add some more personalization to your vehicle. It weighs barely over a pound, so it is easy to handle. It is waterproof and made with heavy nylon thread. It also falls into the mid-price range for this type of product, making it easy to afford.
If you buy a white color, it could fade to yellow if left in the sun continually. There are also reports of some of these spare tire covers cracking after a few months to over a year of use. The vinyl just doesn’t seem to hold up that well in harsh weather conditions like intense sun or heavy rain for extended periods, leading to cracks and water getting stuck in it.
If you are looking for a simple appearance and a long-lasting design, Fasmov may be your ideal choice, particularly because they are more affordable than others on the market. This spare tire cover fits tires that are between 27 and 30 inches. It has an easy, slip-on installation and is waterproof and scratch-resistant. It weighs just over a pound and can safely be hosed off for any dirt or debris on it. After removing it from the package, it is better to allow it to sit and smooth itself out, or you will have a harder time installing it and it will look wrinkly on your tire.
The size seems to generally fit what it says it does, though it can be a bit loose. It has a string to cinch it, but it can get lost in the fabric. There have also been reports of it melding together in its package and then ripping when pulled apart. To try to avoid this, open it slowly, especially if you live in a very hot area. It has also been reported to crack after over a year of use, but you do get what you pay for and it is a cheaper price due to thinner materials.
This white vinyl spare tire cover comes in 10 different sizes to ensure they have the right size for your wheel. If this white isn’t for you, it also comes in simple black. This is made of heavy-duty vinyl with a hollow bead welt cord and an elasticized back. This makes installation as simple as slipping it on and cinching it. It weighs one pound and is slightly cheaper than others on the market. ADCO is a reputable brand, having been around since 1995, so it gives you more peace of mind when buying this cover.
One downside is that their sizing chart comes on the packaging, but it is not listed on the product advertisements or on their website. For this reason, it takes a bit of extra time to really find the right size. As is a common problem with vinyl, after too much time in intense sun, these will crack. Overall though, it is a durable product.
This simple black spare tire cover comes in a large range of sizes from 22 to 35 inches. While it works great for cars and trucks, it is also designed to fit RVs and trailers. It is waterproof and can be wiped clean of any dirt and debris. It is made from vinyl, is scratch-resistant, and has elastic for ease of installation. It weighs less than a pound and is very affordable compared to others. It is designed to be UV- and mildew-resistant with a cotton backing.
There are some reports of it being too loose and getting blown off in the wind, so you may want to buy a slightly smaller size, or ensure you get it cinched tightly on your spare tire. It has a strap that can be used to hook around the tire to prevent this from happening. It is of a medium thickness and has very few reports of any cracking or tearing, so it is of good quality, even with a cheaper price tag.
Spare Tire Cover Tips
- Replace your spare tire cover as soon as it shows signs of wear to keep your spare protected from the elements.
- Measure for a hard shell cover by checking both the width and circumference of your spare. These extra measurements are important so the shell fits tightly around the spare without any room to move.
- Check your spare tire cover at least once a month to see if there are any moisture or mildew problems. If you do see some issues, give the tire a chance to dry and use a new cover to keep it protected.
- Maintaining your spare cover is simple: Hard shells can be washed and polished, but make sure you don’t use a cleaner that’s too abrasive. Soft covers can be wiped down with a damp cloth to get rid of any dirt or spots and then left to dry.
- If you live in an area with a lot of sun, a light-colored tire cover is best since it will reflect more light rays than dark covers. This will help keep your spare in good condition, as dark colors tend to retain more heat and “cook” the tire.
Q: How do I check if I have the right cover size or not?
A: It’s actually pretty simple: The inch measurements on a spare tire cover give the tire diameter. Measure your spare’s diameter and pick the appropriate size from the manufacturer.
Q: How do I measure the size of the spare tire?
A: Easy! You can check the numbers printed on the tire’s sidewall, which will tell you the diameter. You can also measure the diameter from the bottom to the top of the tire.
Q: How do I install a hard shell spare tire cover?
A: Hard shell covers come in two parts: the outer ring and the faceplate. Start by placing the ring around the spare. Then, maneuver the faceplate into position. Lock the two pieces together and close the clasp or latch on the ring for a secure fit.
Q: What type of fabric should I choose for a soft cover?
A: Vinyl is always a solid choice, but anything that is durable, waterproof, and UV-resistant will work. If you’re worried that a soft cover won’t be enough, check out hard shell covers instead. They offer the best protection for your spare.
If you’re looking for the best spare tire cover out there, we recommend the ADCO Vinyl Tire Gard Wheel Cover. It features a great, high-quality design and is an ideal pick for most vehicles.
Looking to save a bit of cash? Then the Classic Accessories Overdrive Universal Fit Spare Tire Cover might be the way to go. It’s sturdy, sleek, and comes at a great value price.