Cannot release spare for Dodge Caravan

Recently, when I (thankfully, at home) had to retrieve my Dodge Caravan spare tire, I could not. I rotated the inside spare release bolt with the lug wrench, and cable was released under the car, but the spare did not drop.

After a lengthy trial and discovery period, I have found: In a typical way of crappy American engineering, the spare tire release mechanism is something that works fine when the car is new, but stops working when it inevitably starts to rust.

There is a release mechanism that is inaccessible when it gets rusty. You WOULD NOT be able to retrieve a spare if the mechanism rusted, in a field condition. I had to basically pry the tire out.

I greatly recommend for you to operate the mechanism every fall, and to lubricate it with Lithium grease or equivalent.

Additionally, it looked like once the mechanism rusts, lubricating it will not ensure it will work properly in the future. Because of that, I installed an "emergency manual release" mechanism, in the form of a rope attached to the release.

The mechanism works when the silver wire pulls on the latching mechanism (arrow points to it), which releases the plastic tire holder that is hanging on the cable.

Refer to pictures below.


Additionally, road salt collects in the tire, and rusts the rim. I recommend you lightly coat the rim with pain such as Rust Converter or Hammered Finish or equivalent. My rusty rim:


Oh, and do inflate that spare to the proper 60 psi.

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Page last modified 12-Apr-12 21:37:23 EDT
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