Budget 33″ Spare Tire For The Factory Location In A 5th Gen 4Runner

5th Gen 4Runner 33-Inch Spare Tire

Running A 33″ Full-Size Spare Tire That Fits In The Factory Spare Location – On a Budget

One of the first mods any new 4Runner owner does is upgrade to larger tires. This arguably gives you the best bang for your buck regarding traction, ground clearance, and overall handling performance both on and off-road. Something that’s often overlooked when upgrading tires though is the spare sitting under your cargo area.

I’m guilty of this as well, but there are several reasons for that outside just the additional cost.

Find It Online

Why Do You Need A Full-Size Spare Tire?

33-Inch Tire On Factory Spare Steel Rim

If you’ve never looked underneath your 4Runner, Toyota includes a full-size spare tire in the factory size. For 5th Gen 4Runners, that’s roughly a 31.5″ tire. That’s regardless of whether you have an SR5/TRD (265/70R17) or a Limited (254/60R20).

Here is an oversimplification of why a full-size spare tire is important. Car & truck axles have what are called differentials. These differentials allow the left and right wheels to spin at different speeds, which is necessary on the pavement when turning. When you take a turn, the inside wheel spins faster than the outside wheel. While differentials make this possible, they’re not designed to always rotate the tires at different speeds.

Having a full-size spare tire eliminates the worry of damaging your differentials on extended drives should you ever need to utilize it. This is why using a smaller tire as a spare isn’t advised. There’s also the issue of unbalanced traction (especially off-road) and the fact that it just looks goofy.

A full-size spare tire will also offer you the same or similar durability and speed rating as your primary tires. The small, temporary spare tire found in sedans and most crossovers are only to be used for about 50 miles and you should not exceed 50mph while using one. That’s not an issue with a full-size spare.

What Size Spare Tire Is Right For You

4Runner 33 Spare Tire

Let me reiterate that all of this only applies to 33″ tires or smaller. If you opted for 34″ tires or larger, forget about fitting that tire size in the factory location.

A 33″ tire is the largest tire size you can fit in the spare location on a 5th Gen 4Runner (2010-2014). 

By and large, the most popular aftermarket tire size for the 5th Gen 4Runner is 285/70R17, or roughly a 33″ tire, give or take a 1/4 inch depending on the brand. Yes, there are plenty of people who run 35″ tires or even 40″ tires. However, the 33″ tire is popular for several reasons:

  • More affordable
  • Easier to source
  • Easier on your drivetrain
  • Can typically still fit in the factory spare tire location

That last reason was really the deciding factor for me. I’m fortunate to still park my 4Runner in a garage (barely). That means an aftermarket rear bumper with a tire carrier or a standalone spare tire carrier is out of the question. A 33″ tire is just about the largest tire that can fit in the factory spare location underneath the cargo area. Some people have reported fitting a 295/70R17 (33.5″) in there by fully deflating it and beating back the steel that surrounds the tire.

So, I decided that a 33″ spare tire was the right size for me. However, there are a few different ways to achieve that specific diameter. The option that’s best for you will depend on your needs.

285/70R17

Pros: This is the most straightforward approach for a spare tire. Assuming this is your primary tire size, this is an exact match. If you plan to rotate your spare tire with your primary tires regularly, this is the best option.

Cons: The 285 width is decently wider than the factory 265 spare tire. This means your spare tire will hang slightly lower, thus reducing the departure angle. You may also have an increased risk of hitting this spare tire off-road. This isn’t a deal-breaker for many, just be aware of it.

255/80R17

Pros: Usually more affordable than 285/70R17 and lighter weight. The community often refers to these as “Pizza Cutters” for their narrower width. A narrower width, however, will not cause damage to your differentials.

Cons: This is technically a hair larger than 33″, but it’s still a viable option as a full-size spare if you have 285/70R17 as your primary tire size. You can’t rotate this in with your primary tires if you use size 285/70R17. There’s a marginal size difference and the mismatched tire widths won’t be great for handling performance.

33×10.5R17

Pros: This is the flotation size for 33″ tires (as the name implies). This tire’s width is very similar to 255/80R17 at 10.5″. If you prefer flotation tire sizes over metric, this is the option for you.

Cons: It is not as readily available or offered by as many brands as 255/80R17. You also can’t rotate this in with your primary tires if you use size 285/70R17.

What I Chose

Kenda Kleaver RT 33x10.5

I don’t plan on rotating my spare tire in with my primary tires, so I’m opting to keep the factory steelie wheel. This saves me money by not having to buy a matching 17×9″ -38mm offset wheel and I don’t have to worry about it getting banged up by road debris.

The factory steelie is also 17×7″, which is a bit narrow for a 285-width (11.5″) tire in my opinion. For this reason, I opted to go with a 33×10.5R17 tire as my spare. The 10.5″ tire width should fit better on this wheel and I won’t need to worry as much about it de-beading while in use.

I opted for the Kenda Kleaver R/T tire, which has gotten high praise from the off-road community. Also, it’s one of the few options in the 33×10.5R17 size.

The reduced width should also be close to the factory spare tire, so my departure angle should go largely unchanged.

Final Thoughts

Kenda Kleaver RT 4Runner

Ultimately, the best option for a full-size, 33″ spare tire is up to you and your priorities. If you opt for a matching 5th wheel and plan to rotate it with your primary tires, get the size that’s an exact match. If you only intend to only use the spare in the event of an emergency, then a skinnier tire may be more practical.

I fit into the latter category, so 33×10.5R17 was the best choice for me. Despite being narrower than my primary tires, I now have a proper full-size tire that has similar traction, durability, and performance to them.

Have you gotten more creative with your spare tire mounting solutions? If so, please leave a comment below!

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

22 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
P Neef
P Neef
7 months ago

I also garage my 2020 KDSS equipped TRD ORP. 255/80r17 is essentially the same diameter as 295/70r17… especially if the 295s are a bit worn down… Anyone running those 255/80s as a spare on a KDSS 4Runner? How about an aired down 34×10.5 (33.5in diameter)?

Rich
Rich
9 months ago

I’m running 285/70/17 KO2 E witch are quite a bit heavier than some others. (58lbs) my concern is what the cable lbs capacity is.

Brandon
Brandon
11 months ago

LOVE the KENDA RT’s! I hope they don’t realize what they have and start raising the price!

Mike Ohm
Mike Ohm
11 months ago

Just lifted my 2016 Trail with 285/70/17 Falken Rubitreks. Installer said I cannot fit the spare underneath. Basically added 1” to the diameter. Any suggestions?

James
James
11 months ago

When I lifted my 4 runner and added the 33″ tires, my first priority was get a spare of the same size. I used the OEM wheel as mentioned in the article, and I carry those lug nuts. Got to do it!! great article.

Dan
Dan
11 months ago

I installed the strongbox in the back and then mounted my full 285 spare to the top of the box. Keeps the spare from being weathered, easy to check on as I often forget when its underneath. Downside is that it takes up space, but dropping my rear seats offers me plenty of storage.

Tony
Tony
1 year ago

Great Post! have you found any solutions to changing out your tire when you do have a flat on the road? since 33″ typically require higher lift, the OEM bottle jack doesn’t reach the height to allow for removing the wheels.

Do people typically carry around a dedicated jack as a daily? I like the OEM bottle jack since it’s tucked away.

Would like to minimize on carrying additional gear in the cargo space if possible.

Mark
Mark
11 months ago
Reply to  Tony

I added the “foot” for the hi-Lift jack that serves as an added base for my stock bottle jack. It stores nicely under my front passenger seat and I always know it’s there. The hi-lift is nice but it’s heavy and awkward; not only that but if you have a lifted rig and bigger tires, the hi-lift only lifts the body and the suspension will continue to droop and your tire will stay planted. At least the bottle jack will lift the axle and tire for that quick trail repair/change.

Koa
Koa
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony

The oem jack can still be used. 33s will only add 3/4″ of ground clearance so the oem jack will work just fine

Brad Rundbaken
Brad Rundbaken
1 year ago

Will a 33 inch tire fit underneath for a 2017 5th gen?

Admin
1 year ago

Great post! I’ve had my full-size spare tucked away in storage, it’s probably time I mount it to the 4Runner.

One thing too that I didn’t consider until recently was when I bought my aftermarket wheels I also had to get new lug nuts. The OEM ones didn’t fit on the wheels that I purchased. So if I ever needed to install my spare, I would need to have another set of lugs with me to install the spare. It’s definitely a cheaper option than buying a new wheel for the spare haha

James
James
1 year ago

Alternatively, go to a tire shop and ask if they have any takes offs. Got mine with 1/2 the tread life left mounted to my spare rim for $50.

22
0
Questions or Comments?x
()
x