Review & Install Video
I'm Ryan from ExtremeTerrain.com, and this is my review of the Smittybilt SRC Oversize Tire Carrier, fitting all 2007 to 2016 JKs. When you have larger tires on your Jeep, you'll want to be able to run a full-size spare. But when you put a large, heavy, full-size spare tire on your factory spare tire mount, you can run into three major issues.
One is that the tailgate hinges themselves can start to wear out and sag, which will mean you need to lift up the tailgate every time you open it and close it. The second issue that can occur is breaking of the tailgate welds themselves. The tailgate is made from a few pieces of metal that are welded together, and those welds can fatigue and break, causing a lot of noise, and eventually the tailgate can fail. Finally, the spare tire mount itself that's on the tailgate has a weight limit. And if you're running a much larger, heavier spare tire than the factory one, the metal of that mount can fatigue and eventually break.
Now, something like this is one solution to a couple of those problems. You can install a bumper-mounted tire carrier, a tub-mounted tire carrier, or you can replace the factory spare tire mount, which is what this Smittybilt system does. This system does include these tire bars, which allow you to keep your spare tire tight up against something, which keeps it from torqueing around, which is partially what fatigues that factory spare tire mount. However, this is not going to address the issue of the tailgate welds or of the tailgate hinges. That being said, this is significantly less expensive than those other tire carriers that address all of the issues of running a larger, heavier spare. So this is priced appropriately.
As I said, this is designed to replace the factory spare tire mount, and it mounts in the same location on the tailgate, so you don't need to drill anything, which is a really nice feature. This has three different mounting locations, which means you can move the mount up and down, depending on whether you're running a larger or a smaller spare tire. If you're running a smaller spare, you can move the mount down, giving you maximum visibility out of the back of the window. But if you're running a 37-inch spare, you can move the mount up to give you enough clearance between the bottom of the spare tire and the bumper.
Now, these tire bars are also included in this kit, and as I mentioned, they're very important. Part of the reason that a factory mount can fail is having the tire torqueing around or moving every time you hit a bump. So you want that tire to be pressed tight up against something other than just the mounting location in the center of the hub, and that's what these bars do. By the nature of the attachment mechanism, this does have some in/out adjustability. So regardless of what width tire you're running or what back spacing you're running, you can make sure you get that tire nice and tight.
The piece itself is gusseted. It's fully welded. It's covered in a textured black powder coat finish, which means it's going to hold up pretty well over time against rust and corrosion. Something that I really like is right over here. It allows you to use your factory third brake light. It gives you a mount to put that third brake light up a little bit higher over whatever size spare you're running, which means you don't have to purchase an additional third brake light.
Something that makes this setup pretty unique is what I alluded to earlier, which is the actual attachment mechanism for the tire to the mount. It is this threaded rod with this piece here that goes in the three lug nuts that you would normally use to attach your spare to your spare tire mount. This is something that makes it a little bit easier to get the spare on and off. You don't necessarily need a tool. However, you'll need that socket set to actually change the tire anyway. So I'm not sure that this saves you a ton of time.
To get this spare tire mount installed on your Jeep, all you need to do is first remove your factory spare tire mount. In order to do that, of course you'll remove the spare, and then remove the eight bolts that are holding that mount onto the tailgate. At that time, you'll also have to remove a couple of Phillips head screws from your factory third brake light and remove that as well. Once everything is removed from the tailgate, you can lay your spare tire face down, lay the mount on top of it, and attach it to the spare tire. Once that's done, you can line up your third brake light mount to make sure that you have the height correct.
You want the third brake light just peeking out over the top of the spare tire. Doing it on the ground will ensure that you don't have to lift up the spare tire and mount it and unmount it to get your spacing figured out. So once you have the third brake light bolted up to the mount itself, then it's a matter of attaching the mounts onto the Jeep. Now, as I said, there are three different mounting locations and the instructions for this tell you which hole you should be using for different size spare tires. Or you can take a couple of measurements if you prefer to do it that way.
Once the spare tire mount is attached onto the tailgate, you can move on to attaching the tire bars. Once the bars are installed with the included hardware and spacers, it's just a matter of attaching your third brake light onto the third brake light mount that you've already screwed onto the tire mount, putting the spare tire onto the Jeep, and you're pretty much finished up. The whole process shouldn't take you more than about two hours, and you won't need any specialty tools at all, just some traditional hand tools.
Now, whether you've tried mounting your larger spare tire on your factory mount and found that you physically don't have the room or you've been reading horror stories of having a heavy spare tire on the factory mount, and you've been shopping around for other solutions, you'll know that this one is much less expensive than a full tub-mounted tire carrier system, or a bumper with a bumper-mounted tire carrier. There's a reason for that. Like I said, this solves really just one of the few different problems that mounting a large, heavy spare on your factory location will cause.
So if you're looking to just be able to physically fit the spare tire by moving it up a little bit, and make sure that it's tight up against something so the tire is not torqueing around, this will solve that problem. If you're looking for something that will also ensure that the welds on your tailgate don't break or that your tailgate hinges don't wear out, you're going to want to look at one of those more complete and more expensive systems. So that's my review of the Smittybilt SRC Oversize Tire Carrier fitting all 2007 to 2016 JKs, that you can find right here at ExtremeTerrain.com.