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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My wife had our 2006 loaded with cargo and the middle chairs folded forward to accomodate the large load. She had a flat tire and the owners manual says to lower the spare by turning the nut in the floor. Is this nut accessible with those seats folded forward?

Tom
 

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No not possible, the nut in is behind the the front passenger seat and right middle seat in the floor.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
She said the same thing sitting on the side of the road. I just wanted to confirm. Her options were to unload the entire contents on the side of the highway or get a tow. Seems like a bit of an oversight in the engineering department, but one that I'll have to remember when traveling. The van has 225,000+ miles and the one time we need the spare...... :-/
 

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Did the spare function ok? Being 15 years old? Mine had many cracks visible on the sidewall. I tossed it and opted for a full size spare which takes up some space in the rear seat well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
She couldn't access the lowering nut, so we had the vehicle towed to a tire shop and had the tire replaced.

A year or so ago, I lowered the spare and it was not even set on the bead. Who knows how long it had been flat. I had to clean all the pebbles and debris from around the lip of the rim/tire and reseat it. I checked it before she left this time (how ironic) and it was holding air. On a 15-year-old spare, I wouldn't advise to drive very far or very fast, but worst case, if the spare goes flat, just drive 5 mph on the rim. I'm sure they're nearly free from any junkyard. Good call on the full-size although I wouldn't sacrifice the space...but we're all different and I commend you on your choice.

Tom
 

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I got my spare tire (06 also) replaced recently before our trip to Florida. There were cracks all over the original tire. I did not get chance to use it over the years. But I did check it a couple of years ago and it looked ok that time.
 

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I wouldn't trust a 15 year old tire exposed to the elements. It's not like a Toyota Camry where the spare tire is located inside the trunk. For the price of a tow you could of got a new spare tire and a used wheel. I am also guilty of that too because I just recently replaced the spare tire. So definitely replace the spare tire. Next time if you are going to load up the van take out the spare. Or remove that middle seat, taking in consideration on how you load the van should you need access to the spare tire.
51321
 

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As much as I have a full size spare, (got a great deal on Ebay , same tire as on the vehicle ) I plan on replacing the regular spare. The rim looks good, hardly any corrosion (FL van) and I see that Tirerack carries the original spare size.
I will use the full size when I go on long road trips
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
For those of you replacing your spare, don't forget a new valve stem. Those things rot at the same rate as the tire with the end result being the same.

But someone help me understand.....why not trust a 15 year old spare? As long as you're not getting up to any speed, and even if it's flat, it'll still get you a few miles down the road, and in today's day and age, there should be a tire center of some sort unless you have terrible luck and get a flat in the worst possible location, or time (late night/holiday). My wife was in rural Alabama when it happened and she was still only 5 miles from a tire center. And also consider many newer cars don't even have a spare. Although I can see the prudence, is the cost worth it (and I'm really trying to understand, not start a spare tire battle). If I would have known how bad her tire was (not just a nail), I would have asked her to drive slowly on the flat tire since it was going to be replaced anyhow. The rubber sidewall would protect the rim for quite a distance.

Tom
 

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The majority of my van's miles are driven in the middle of nowhere, multiple tens of miles from the nearest tire center. It would make me paranoid not to have a spare.

I'm with you on relying on the old spare. Mine loses about 1 PSI per year and, while it is checked and weathered, I think it would be serviceable for 50 miles at 40mph. It's a risk I'm willing to take.
 

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For those of you replacing your spare, don't forget a new valve stem. Those things rot at the same rate as the tire with the end result being the same.

But someone help me understand.....why not trust a 15 year old spare? As long as you're not getting up to any speed, and even if it's flat, it'll still get you a few miles down the road, and in today's day and age, there should be a tire center of some sort unless you have terrible luck and get a flat in the worst possible location, or time (late night/holiday). My wife was in rural Alabama when it happened and she was still only 5 miles from a tire center. And also consider many newer cars don't even have a spare. Although I can see the prudence, is the cost worth it (and I'm really trying to understand, not start a spare tire battle). If I would have known how bad her tire was (not just a nail), I would have asked her to drive slowly on the flat tire since it was going to be replaced anyhow. The rubber sidewall would protect the rim for quite a distance.

Tom
Why risk it to you, your wife, and others? For example driving slow and impeding traffic? No shoulder to drive on since it's a rural area. If a police officer saw you driving like that would they pull you over?

Why risk your van from further damage? Will your almost 5,000 pound van make it 5 miles at 5 mph on a flat tire?

I'm not trying to start a tire battle either. It's your life and you do what you want to do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
A friend of my daughter's told me he had a flat tire on his Honda. I told him to remove it using the jack and bring the tire to me and I'd teach him how to plug a tire. He couldn't figure out how the scissor jack worked, so he drove his car to me (probably 15 miles) on his flat tire. I don't think he drove slow and that tire was trashed. Suprisingly, his rim was not damaged. He then asked if I could fix the tire. :)

I'm not saying it's recommended, but I guess life is all about risks versus reward. I drive a 2006 Sienna with 225K miles on it, cross country....I guess I lean a little heavier on the risk versus spending side. And if the weather is cool enough, I'll sleep in the back of it in a parking lot instead of spending good money on a hotel. And I also suppose that a 15 year old spare tire that holds air is better than no spare at all (my opinion) as in some of the new cars. I also encounter vehicles driving slow all the time (Amish) and I don't guess they create risk by going the speed of a horse. And yes, I would drive 5 miles on a flat spare to save the cost of a tow....but it wouldn't be the worse decision I've made in my first 50 years.

But as I stated in the beginning, having an old spare, new spare, or no spare is all the same if you can't access the spare with the rear seats folded forward. I've not found too many design flaws with my old Sienna, but I think that could be considered one.
 
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