Most trucks, vans and SUVs stow the spare tire under the vehicle. It's a great space-saving idea, but one that doesn't always work well in the real world. The corrosive brew of road salt, mud and sand usually eats away at the tire lift's metal components, rendering the lift unusable when you need it most. Picture yourself with a flat tire at the side of the road—in a storm, of course.
You can prevent that nightmare by checking your spare tire lift right now, in the comfort of your garage. If you don't know how to lower the spare tire, consult your owner's manual. Check to make sure you still have the factory cranking tools. Now is the time to get any replacement parts.
Start by raising your vehicle and supporting it with jack stands. Try lowering the spare tire. If it's stuck, shoot spray rust penetrant through the wheel openings to saturate the lift.