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Toyota Highlander Spare Tire Lowering Guide
How to lower the spare tire and wheel under the cargo area of a 3rd generation 2014 to 2018 Toyota Highlander.

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2017 Highlander Tailgate
Cargo Area Floor Mat
This automotive maintenance tutorial was specifically written to assist owners of the third generation (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and probably also the 2019 and 2020 model years) Toyota Highlander SUV in lowering down the spare tire and wheel located under the cargo area after having a flat tire due to a nail, rock or other road debris or to check the air pressure.

Owners of other Toyota, Lexus and Scion vehicles such as the 4Runner, Avalon, 86, C-HR, Camry, Corolla, iM, Land Cruiser, Mirai, Prius, RAV4, Sequoia, Sienna, Tacoma, Tundra, Yaris, FR-S, xB,  xD, tC, xA, CT 200h, ES 250, ES 300, ES 330, ES 350, IS 250, IS 350, RX 300, GS 250, NX 300 and RX 350.

No additional tools are needed to complete this procedure. All of the required tools are located under the cargo area floor mat.

The first step is to open the tailgate door.


 Open Storage Compartment
Storage Cover Secured
Then flip up the cargo area floor mat and open the storage compartment.

Locate the silver metal adapter socket and the long metal bar with a curved hook at the end.

These two items will be used to lower the spare tire and wheel.

Round Plastic Cap
Pull Off Plastic Cover
Pull off the round black plastic cap located at the far right (passenger) side of the storage drawer.

Set the plastic cap aside in a safe place.

Attach Adapter Socket
Spare Tire Under Cargo Area
Place the silver metal adapter socket over the hex head on the spare tire winch.


Rotate Counterclockwise
Spare Tire Lowered Down
Insert the hook at the end of the long black metal bar into the opening at the top of the adapter socket.

Rotate the spare tire winch in the counterclockwise direction to lower the metal cable and bring down the spare tire.

Continue lowering the spare tire clamp until you can pass the block at the end of the cable through the opening in the middle of the spare tire.

The compact spare tire should be inflated to 60 PSI.

I recommend using the Tekton 5941 digital tire gauge. I like that it has a cool blue LED light on the tip and also on the display that make it easy to check my tire pressures in a dim garage or at night. Plus you don't have to worry about it becoming inaccurate after the occasional drop like the traditional mechanical tire pressure gauges.

Replace Spare Tire
Rotate Clockwise
To replace the spare tire, pass the black block at the end of the winch cable through the opening in the center of the wheel.

The convex side of the wheel, that would face out away from the vehicle when installed, should be pointing up towards the cargo area.

Turn the hex head on the spare tire winch in the clockwise direction with the adapter socket and the long black metal bar with the hook at the end.

Continue rotating the winch in the clockwise direction until the spare tire is securely clamped in place.

Make sure that the spare tire and wheel can not back rocked, slid or moved around under the cargo area.

Please try to avoid over tightening the clamp to prevent from having the cable break which could cause the spare tire to fall off and possibly cause an accident.

If you need to replace the OEM spare tire due to damage, deterioration or age, the part number and size is Maxxis T165/90D18 107M.

Replace Plastic Cap
Winch Up Spare Tire

Once the spare tire has been secured in place, push the round black plastic cover over the winch's hex bolt head.

Please check out all of my 2014-2018 Toyota Highlander DIY Repair & Maintenance Guides.

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