I know some people are not as adept at changing tires as others. My husband and I were never mechanics but we could check the oil, change a tire and perform other basics tasks around our vehicles with ease. You should have seen our faces the day we got a flat on our new 2006 Dodge Caravan in city park only one week after getting it.
First, we were bummed over the flat but we knew we had a spare and luckily we had brought drinks and snacks to the park anyway so we hauled all of the kids out to play and snack and decided we’d change the tired. This turned out to be easier said than done.
We found the jack, jack handle and lug nut wrench in a compartment in the driver’s side rear luggage compartment and set about jacking up the van and removing the flat tire. As he worked on this, I was going to get the spare tire to make quicker work of the job and that’s when it occurred to me I didn’t have a clue where it was.
There aren’t very many places a spare tire can be so we found it underneath the vehicle (under the very center of the van) but that was the easy part. Next, we would have to figure out how to remove it. I had never before then had a vehicle that stored the spare tire underneath like this and didn’t have a clue about how to get it off.
Here’s how we did it:
1. Find the cable winch under the floorboards. Remove the three bars from the tool pouch we found in the storage compartment. 2. Insert the spring-loaded notched bar into the middle of the “L” shaped bar. Then attach the third bar to form a long “T” handle. 3. Remove the cap to the spare tire winch on the floor of the Caravan. We found this between the two front seats (after some searching all over). 4. Insert the long end of the “T” handle into this drive nut and turn counterclockwise as far as it will go. 5. The disassemble the “T” handle and reassemble the bars to form a hook. You will use this spare tire hook to reach under the van for the spare tire. 6. Reach under the caravan with the spare tire hook and use it to hook the edge of the spare tire rim and pull it out from under the van. 7. The tire will be sitting in a rim that holds it to the bottom of the vehicle. You have to pull it out of this in order to get it onto your wheel rim.
Well, that’s the clean and knowledgeable version. In our version, we were sweaty, dirty and frustrated rolling on the ground trying to get the tire loose from the bottom of the vehicle without breaking something on our brand new van. I’ve done many DIY automotive repair and maintenance tasks in my lifetime but I have never had one as frustrating as this. In theory, the location of the spare tire is fantastic as it allows more room for people and storage in the Caravan but it should come with better instructions on just how to get that thing out of there.