Review & Install Video
I'm Ryan from extremeterrain.com, and this is my review and installation of the Rugged Ridge Heavy Duty Tire Carrier, fitting all 1987 to 2006 Wranglers. Today, we're gonna talk through the installation of this bracket, which is going to be a very simple one out of three wrench installation. This is designed to bolt directly in place of your factory spare tire bracket, so you won't need to drill or cut anything. And this install should only take you about an hour, but we'll talk more about that in just a second. We're also going to talk about the construction and a few of the features of this bracket.
This is for those of you who are looking to run a larger-than-factory spare tire in your factory spare tire mounting location. That is, you aren't ready or don't feel the need to get a tub-mounted or a bumper-mounted tire carrier, but you don't trust your factory stamped steel tire carrier to hold up to the additional weight of that larger spare. The other benefit to this is that it gives you a little bit of lift, so that you can run that larger tire without the tire hitting the bumper when you open and close the tailgate.
Now, this is going to be a lot stronger than that factory spare tire mount. It is going to hold up to the additional weight of a larger-than-factory spare a lot better than the factory mount will. However, the mounting bracket is really only one problem that comes from hanging a big, heavy spare off the back of your Jeep. You can still have issues with the tailgate itself fatiguing. You can have issues with your hinges. So if you're only going a little bit bigger than factory or a little bit heavier than factory, you might be able to get away with a bracket like this. But if you're going with a big 35-inch by 12 1/2-inch tire, big knobby, heavy wheel/tire combination, I would still recommend going with a bumper-mounted or a tub-mounted tire carrier. This is going to be for those of you who are only going a little bit bigger than factory but want the peace of mind to know that they've upgraded their otherwise fairly weak mount that's only rated for a factory spare tire to this much stronger and beefier option.
Now, speaking of strength, this is 1/4-inch steel. It's covered in a textured black powder coat finish. In fact, this bracket, and it is a two-piece bracket, weighs in at about 17 pounds, so again, very, very strong. This does have an area on the top that's drilled in a couple of different ways, so whether you're installing this on your TJ or your YJ, you will be able to bolt your factory's third brake light up onto this. However, if you are running a larger-than-factory spare, chances are you're not going to be able to see that third brake light over the spare, anyway. You'll either wanna relocate it or add some spacers in order to get that light up over the tire.
What's important to note about this is is that it's not adjustable. So even though it does give you that additional room and the additional strength to carry a larger-than-factory spare tire that's wider on maybe a wheel that has less backspacing, it's not going to allow you to get the tire nice and tight up against the tailgate snubbers or the tailgate bumpers. And that's really what you want. Even though this is a lot stronger, if you have a 35-inch tire hanging off the back of your Jeep, every time you hit a bump, it's twerking around a little bit. That's not good for your tailgate. Even though this bracket's much stronger, it's not good for the bracket. You really wanna make sure that tire gets tight up against the tailgate, and this isn't going to give you any in-out adjustability. So you might have to do a little bit of work on your tailgate snubbers to ensure that you get a nice, solid connection.
To get this installed on your Jeep, again, is a one out of three wrench installation at about an hour, and all you're going to need are you traditional hand tools. The first step is, of course, removing your spare tire. Then you can unbolt your spare tire bracket, making sure you're careful to unclip your wiring harness for your third brake light. Once that is removed, you can go ahead and hang this angle bracket up on the top of your tailgate. Then hang the rest of the bracket from the angle bracket, attaching it to the bottom of the tailgate. Then you can remove your third brake light from your factory mount and attach it to your new mount if you plan on using that. And finally, all you'll need to do is attach your new, larger spare tire onto your new, stronger mount.
This bracket comes in at right around $50, which for the build quality, for the strength, even for the quality of the powder coat finish, I don't think is that bad of a price. However, when you consider the fact that this doesn't solve all of the problems of a big, heavy spare tire, it just really solves one of them. If it's worth the price really comes down to you. Some of you will just wanna save the $50 and put that toward your tub-mounted or your bumper-mounted tire carrier, which is more of a complete solution. Others, like I said before, that might just be running a little bit of a larger tire and want to beef up their bracket a little bit are going to get a good value out of this bracket. Now, there are other brackets on the market. There are some that will just give you some additional clearance without completely replacing your factory spare tire mount, and those are going to be a little bit less expensive simply because there's less material here. There is also a version of this which is slightly more expensive from Olympic. However, it's just another option that is going to do pretty much the same thing.
So if you're running a slightly larger-than-factory spare tire on a light wheel, but you still wanna upgrade your factory spare tire mount to something that is beefier, this is going to be a good option for you. It's going to be stronger, and it's going to give you some additional clearance to run that slightly larger tire. However, even though this can hold up to the weight of a 35-inch tire, I'm sure, because it's very strong and very well-built, you have to consider your tailgate and your tailgate hinges, which are other weak points in carrying a large spare in the factory location. So if you are going to be running a really large, 35-inch, heavy wheel/tire combination, I would recommend going with a tub-mounted or a bumper-mounted tire carrier. So that's my review of the Rugged Ridge Heavy Duty Tire Carrier, fitting all 1987 to 2006 Wranglers, that you can find right here at extremeterrain.com.