Preparing for 35s: Heavy-Duty Tire Carrier
I mentioned in my first “Preparing for 35s” post that my initial main concern about swapping to 35s was rear tailgate and the lack of ability it has to carry a larger tire. I realize that some people manage to carry a 35” spare on their stock carrier but all I could think about is the tailgate ripping off and the spare bouncing down a crowded interstate… That being said, strengthening the tire carrier was VERY important to me.
On my last Jeep I had a Warn rear bumper that was built to hold a swing-out tire carrier but the Quadratec QRC rear bumper I have on my JK (and love it, don’t misunderstand me) does not have that feature. This left me with either not having a spare, which really isn’t an option, or beefing up the tailgate and tailgate hinges.
After doing some research I finally settled on the Heavy-Duty Spare Tire Carrier from Aries.
This system is comprised of two beefy hinges, a steel plate that replaces the old tire carrier, scaffolding to connect that plate to the hinges, an adjustable replacement LED third brake light, and two parts of the tire carrier that allow for adjustment up and down as well as forward and backwards.
To install this thing, I followed their YouTube Video so I won’t go too much into it, but I found that there were a few things that I am okay with but wish I had known earlier.
This thing is VERY HEAVY, which is fine. It is made out of all steel components where others are made from aluminum for weight reduction. The benefit of having a heavy, steel tire carrier is that you save some money. The Aries tire carrier was half the price, if not more, than some of the other popular tailgate tire carriers.
One other little bit of knowledge I wish I had before installing this tire carrier is that it needs to be adjusted A LOT. The JK has this alignment cleat that helps support the weight of the tailgate and I HATE for the tailgate to be aligned in a way that makes the cleat contact as the door closes so it lifts the door into place. I hope that makes sense… Anyway, I had it aligned before installing the tire and after installing the tire, it is off again and I can feel it contact before the gate is all the way closed.
What that means is that I will have to go out, loosen a thousand bolts and try to get it aligned again. Oh well, such is life. Other than that, it seems very sturdy and I think it will hold up fine. If it doesn’t, I’ll let you know.