How to Remove the Spare Tire from a Ford F-150 Truck?

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Finding yourself with a flat tire while out on the road can be a frustrating situation. Thankfully, Ford F-150 trucks come equipped with a spare tire that can get you back on your way quickly. However, you first need to know how to properly remove the spare from its storage location under the truck bed. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the complete process step-by-step.

Key Takeaways on Removing the Ford F-150 Spare Tire:

  • Locate the spare tire under the truck bed or attached underneath the vehicle.
  • Find the release mechanism hole near the rear left fender to insert the tire tool.
  • Use the tire tool to turn counterclockwise and lower the spare tire completely.
  • Once fully lowered, detach the tire bracket and remove the spare tire.
  • Follow the owner’s manual for model-specific instructions and safety measures.


Having a spare tire readily available in your truck is an essential safety net for continuing your journey in the event of a flat. Ford F-150 trucks have the spare stored under the rear of the truck bed or mounted underneath the frame. Accessing and lowering the spare when needed, however, requires knowing the proper steps and mechanisms. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the complete process for removing a spare tire from a Ford F-150.

With clear instructions, step-by-step detail, and supporting images and videos, you can have confidence when retrieving your spare. We’ll cover locating the spare, utilizing the tire tool, lowering and detaching the tire, and any model-specific nuances. You’ll also learn key safety recommendations from Ford and driving experts for changing a flat and installing the spare. Equipped with this knowledge, you’ll stay safe and avoid damage while getting back on the road promptly.

Learning how to remove the spare tire on an F-150 is an essential skill for drivers. This guide distills the manufacturers recommended steps for a smooth, seamless process. Keep reading to ensure you can locate and lower the spare, remove it fully, and handle any challenges that arise. The ability to change a flat and get rolling again quickly can prevent a minor issue from becoming a major interruption to your travels.

Step-by-Step Guide to Removing the Spare Tire on a Ford F-150

Follow these key steps to safely and effectively remove the spare tire from its storage location on your Ford F-150:

Step 1: Locate the Spare Tire

The first step is identifying where Ford has stored the spare tire in your truck model. On most F-150s, it will be one of two locations:

  • Underneath the Truck Bed: The most common placement is beneath the rear center of the truck bed. It may be visible between the rear bumper and the bed or fully obscured.
  • Mounted Under the Frame: Some models have the spare attached under the back of the vehicle towards the rear axle area. It may be held in a cradle assembly.

If you cannot easily see the spare, refer to your owner’s manual for the exact location in your truck. Also inspect the rear bumper and undercarriage for any visible cables, brackets, or hardware that may indicate the spare’s location.

Step 2: Find the Release Mechanism

Once you’ve identified the spare tire’s storage spot, next find the release mechanism. This is typically a small hole or opening in the rear fender well on the driver’s side.

For models with the spare stored under the truck bed, look for the hole in the left rear fender, usually towards the bottom. This allows access to lower the tire.

On models with the spare mounted underneath, look for the access hole near the rear bumper on the driver’s side.

Refer to the owner’s manual if you cannot locate the release hole. There may be a removable cover or cap protecting it.

Step 3: Use the Tire Tool to Lower the Spare

With the access hole located, you can now use the tire tool to lower the spare tire. Insert the pointed end of the L-shaped tool into the hole.

Turn it counterclockwise to release the winch/cable mechanism holding the spare tire. This will slowly lower the tire until it reaches the ground.

The tire tool should be included in the truck’s tool kit, often found behind the seat or in the glovebox. If missing, check if the previous owner kept it or if the dealer provides a replacement.

Keep turning the tool until the spare is lowered completely and you can access it from under the truck. The tool may catch or skip while lowering; apply steady downward pressure while turning to prevent jamming.

Step 4: Remove the Spare Tire

Once fully lowered, you can now remove the spare tire from the truck. For models with the tire stored under the truck bed, it will simply lower to the ground on the cable/winch.

Reach into the center hole of the wheel and detach the retaining S-hook from the winch mechanism. This will release the spare tire fully so you can pull it out.

For models with the spare mounted underneath, it may stay connected in the cradle assembly when lowered. Look for a bracket or chain securing it and detach this from the tire’s center to release it.

Carefully pull the spare tire out once it is detached. Set it aside and clear of the truck for now. Recoil or secure any dangling cables/winch to avoid damage while changing the flat tire.

Step 5: Follow Safety Precautions

With the spare tire removed, follow these additional safety tips before jacking up the truck and changing the flat:

  • Ensure the truck is on level, stable ground with the parking brake engaged.
  • Block both the front and rear of the wheel diagonally opposite of the flat tire.
  • Loosen the wheel lug nuts of the flat tire before jacking up the vehicle.
  • Use the automotive jack that came with your F-150 model. Position it according to Ford’s instructions.
  • Jack up the truck just enough to raise the flat tire off the ground and remove the lug nuts fully.
  • Mount the spare tire and install the lug nuts by hand until snug before lowering the truck.
  • Finish tightening the lug nuts in a star pattern once lowered. Recheck the torque with a wrench.
  • Consult Ford’s guidelines on driving with the temporary spare installed. Do not exceed 50 mph.

Taking these precautions will keep both you and your truck safe while changing the flat tire. Refer to the owner’s manual for full jacking, lifting, and spare tire installation instructions specific to your F-150 model.

Frequently Asked Questions When Removing the Ford F-150 Spare Tire

Removing the spare tire on an F-150 is usually straightforward, but questions can come up. Here are answers to some of the most common FAQs:

How Do I Turn on the Spare Tire Winch?

There is no electronic switch to activate the winch/cable that lowers the spare tire. It is released manually using the tire tool in the access hole in the rear driver’s side fender well. Insert the tool and turn it counterclockwise to lower the spare.

What Do I Do If the Tire Tool Won’t Turn or Is Stuck?

Don’t force the tire tool if it will not turn smoothly. The cable may be jammed or tangled. Try jiggling the tool gently to release tension. Squirt lubricant like WD-40 into the access hole if needed. Apply steady downward pressure on the tool when turning. If it still won’t release, the winch mechanism may need repair by a dealership.

Where Can I Find a Replacement Tire Tool?

If your tire tool is missing, you can obtain a replacement from a Ford dealership. Provide your VIN number and they can order the exact tool for your F-150 model. Aftermarket versions are also available at most auto parts stores, but confirm it will fit your release hole location before purchasing.

What If I Can’t Fully Lower the Spare Tire?

If the spare tire stops lowering before reaching the ground, the cable may be caught. Try jiggling or rotating the tire tool in both directions to release any stuck portion of cable. Applying lubricant into the access hole can also help. If needed, safely use a jack to lift the rear of the truck just enough to provide any slack needed to fully lower the spare the remaining distance.

How Do I Raise the Spare Back into Place After Use?

After using the spare and eventually replacing it with the repaired original tire, you will need to raise it back into the stored position. Use the tire tool in the access hole again, but this time turn it clockwise. Keep turning until the spare is lifted fully against the truck underside and secured into place.

Can I Store Items on Top of the Spare Tire Under the Truck?

It’s not recommended to place heavy objects over the area where the spare tire will lower, even if you don’t anticipate a flat. This could obstruct it or get knocked loose when trying to access the spare. Use approved tie-down points in the truck bed instead to securely store any needed cargo.

Professional Maintenance for a Reliable Ford F-150 Spare

While you can remove and install the spare tire yourself, it’s smart to have regular professional maintenance checks on the full spare tire system. Over time, cables and pulleys can wear and wheel mounting hardware needs proper torque.

A study by AAA [1] found that over 60% of spare tires they inspected were not properly inflated. Having a flat spare tire when you need it will lead to further delays. As part of scheduled maintenance, a qualified Ford technician will:

  • Inspect the winch/cable mechanism for damage and verify smooth operation.
  • Ensure the spare tire is inflated to the recommended 60 psi for proper function.
  • Check that mounting brackets or attachments are secure, with no corrosion or loose hardware.
  • Confirm the tire itself is in usable condition, with adequate tread depth remaining.
  • Lubricate pulleys, cables, and hinges as needed to prevent binding or sticking.

Following the recommended maintenance intervals will provide confidence that your F-150 spare tire will deploy and function when called upon. Taking a few preventative measures can help avoid finding yourself stranded with a flat tire and no working spare.


Having to access your truck’s spare tire is never the ideal situation, but flats and blowouts do occur. By learning the necessary steps and release procedures ahead of time, you’ll be prepared to remove the spare tire from your Ford F-150 smoothly and with no complications.

Locate the spare, utilize the tire release tool properly, detach and remove the spare fully, and stay safe while elevating the truck and replacing the flat. Refer to your owner’s manual for model-specific guidance as needed. With these best practices, swapping the spare for a flat will be a relatively quick, painless process to get you back on the road.


[1] AAA Automotive Research Center study on spare tire inspection.

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