Will A 33″ Tire Fit The Spare Tire Mount On A Tacoma?

2nd Gen Tacoma with 33-Inch (285/70/17) Size Spare in Factory Spare Location

Does The Common 285/70R17 (33″ Tire) Fit in the Stock Location?

Carrying a spare tire is a necessity. There’s nothing worse than being stranded on the side of the road or the trail with something as simple as a flat tire. If you keep your Tacoma completely stock, this obviously isn’t an issue – but for the guys who want to upgrade to bigger tires, what are your options?

The second most popular question, next to fitting 33-inch tires on a 2nd Gen Tacoma, is whether or not you can fit a 33″ tire in the spare tire location. While there are other options to mounting a full-size spare, utilizing the stock mounting point makes your life easier and it’s cheaper than going with aftermarket parts.

Fitting On 3rd Gen Tacoma?

A quick note. I think it’s worth mentioning that a 2nd & 3rd Gen Tacoma have many similarities. Several items, especially if we’re talking suspension or tires, can fit both trucks. While this guide is for the 2nd Gen, you can still learn something about this article’s subject even if you own a 3rd Gen. Just be mindful that minor differences between the generations mean that this entire post isn’t entirely relevant to the 3rd Gen but you can use it as a reference point.

Let’s see what it takes to get this common tire upgrade in the OEM spare location.

Full-Size Spare Necessity?

33" Tires (285/70R17) All-Terrains (A/T) on Factory 2nd Gen Toyota Tacoma Wheels

If you upgrade to 285s from your stock tire size, you don’t necessarily need a full-size spare. However, we recommend one – especially if you go off-roading or travel long distances on the road.

Running a full-size spare is a good idea for a variety of reasons.

Let’s look at running different size tires if one of your tires blows.

If you blow a 33″ tire and have to run a factory 31″ spare, this will wear on your drivetrain, axles, and differentials, which of course, depends on how far you need to drive. If you have to drive a block down the street it’s not a big deal, but a 6-hour drive home from a trail can cause problems.

A differential is designed to turn the wheel/tire at different speeds, and on a 4wd truck without manual hubs, this means that front diff and axles are always spinning. If you were to run two different size tires, this would definitely cause premature wear on your axles and diff.

Another possible scenario where you would want a full-size spare is if something were to happen to a tire on the trail. Maybe you aired down too far and popped a bead, or got too close to a sharp rock and cut a large hole in your sidewall. Whatever the case, it’s super nice to be able to drive home on a full-size spare. Not to mention getting off the trail is going to be a lot easier.

Generally speaking, you should always carry a full-size spare tire!

OEM Spare Location?

Pictured: Bilstein 5100 2.8″ Lift Kit: Factory Wheels +30 offset on Yokohama Geolander 285/70R17 (33.1″)

Does a 33-inch tire fit the spare location on a Tacoma?

Yes, a 285/70R17 will fit the spare tire location. Our Yokohama Geolander 285/70R17 (33.1″) fit into the stock spare location with no modifications, however, it was tight. If you have a smaller size 33″ tire like a BFG KO2 (32.7″), you will likely have an easier time fitting a spare into place.

Our Yokohama Geolander 285/70R17 (33.1″) didn’t sit flush against the underside of the truck as the stock spare does. With a larger size 33″ tire like the Yokos, the tire will catch on the spare tire support brackets which prevents it from fully seating into place. This left us with a 1.5″ gap between the tire and where the tire typically sits flush. With that said, it’s definitely driveable and doesn’t hang down far enough to get caught up on anything. After driving around for a day, nothing shifted, and there were no noises coming from the back end, the spare tire was tight and secure.

Fitting other 33″ tires? 

Keep in mind, not all 285s are the same size. Some 285s, and 33″ tires in general, measure small and others measure large.

If you’re running a BFG KO2 285/70R17 (32.7″) tire, for example, you may have an easier time fitting the whole tire as it’s a smaller diameter than the Yokohama Geolandar. Additionally, a BFG KO2 285/75R17 (33.9″) has a much larger diameter overall as it has a taller sidewall and measures closer to a 34″ tire. Finally, there are some very small 285s like the AMP Tires Terrain Attacks sitting at 32.64″ which makes them one of the smallest 285s on the market.

Just keep in mind when you are looking to fit a 285 tire that you pay attention to the actual tire size in exact inches, not just the standard measurement.

Tire Size Reference ( 285/70R17): 

  • AMP Tires Terrain Attacks: 32.6″
  • BFG KO2: 32.7″
  • General Grabber ATX: 32.7″
  • TOYO Extreme AT2: 32.8″
  • Falken Wildpeak AT3W: 32.8″
  • Cooper S/T Maxx: 32.9″
  • Wrangler Durtracs: 33″
  • Yokohama Geolander: 33.1″

Where Will It Rub?

33" Spare Mounted on Factory Steel Spare Wheel - 2nd Gen Toyota Tacoma

We didn’t know whether fitting the 285s would fit perfectly or if adjustments were needed at all. Before we aired the tire down (to stuff it up a little more), we were pretty surprised with how close it was to fitting. It was tight but definitely doable. You can mount a 33″ spare up without adjustments and without airing the tire down.

Spare Tire Support Brackets

The full-size spare touches all 4 tire support brackets. The spare tire support brackets are designed to hold the spare in place at four corners. Because we literally let the air out of the tire, that allowed us to pull the tire further up into place. More on that below.

Keep in mind we didn’t mod these brackets at all for the spare 285/70R17 to fit. If you wanted to, you could definitely pound these support brackets with a large hammer in order to free up some space. Not to worry, pounding some brackets won’t compromise the truck or your safety.

Hitch Receiver

33" Tire in Factory Spare Location on 2nd Gen Tacoma - Hitch Receiver Clearance

Another spot the tire came very close to rubbing was the back of the hitch receiver. There isn’t a whole lot you can do to avoid the hitch receiver, which is why you may want to think of other tire mounting options for sizes bigger than 285/70R17. This is one area that you can’t simply “pound out”.

Again, if we didn’t air down, we would’ve had a hard time squeezing the tire past the receiver.


33" Tire in Factory Spare Location on 2nd Gen Tacoma - Exhaust Clearance

While it doesn’t technically contact the exhaust, the 285/70R17 spare was too close for comfort. If you were to go with any size larger than a 285/70R17 then you would definitely need to trim the exhaust back in order to clear that larger tire size. Which is something that many people do to help with overall clearance anyway.

Luckily there is a heat shield right here, which helps a lot, but regardless, you don’t want a tire touching that heat shield at all. With that said, if you go with any tire size over a 285/70R17 (285/75R17, 295/70R17, etc.), you will need to modify the exhaust section.

Rear Axle

33" Tire in Factory Spare Location on 2nd Gen Tacoma - Rear Axle Clearance

The axle is another spot that doesn’t actually touch the spare, but it’s close. If it were to rub on the diff then it could potentially cause a problem and limit your travel in the rear.

But just by looking at it, it seems like there is enough room to clear the tire at full bump (when the axle compresses all the way up towards the bed). However, if you were to go up a tire size, you would definitely run into some issues – especially with a short bed Tacoma (pictured here).

Leaf Spring Hanger

33" Tire in Factory Spare Location on 2nd Gen Tacoma - Leaf Spring Hanger Clearance

This rubbing spot is similar to the hitch receiver. Very very close to rubbing, and if you don’t air down your tire, you may have fitment issues. There isn’t a whole lot you can do to avoid rubbing here. Your only option would be to buy aftermarket leaf hangers. Pounding this hanger flat is a bad idea.

After testing everything, it did clear during articulation. If you were to go up a tire size (285/75R17, 295/70R17, etc.), you would have to get creative with the fitment.

Airing Down

Airing Down 33-Inch Tire (285/70/17) to Mount in OEM Spare Location - 2nd Gen Tacoma

We did air the spare down quite a bit in order to get it to fit as high as possible. The tire came back from the shop at 40 PSI so I aired it down 10 PSI and fit it up again. At 30 PSI, there wasn’t much of a difference from 40 PSI. The same thing for 20 PSI, it was headed in the right direction but it just wasn’t enough. I ended up going all the way down to 10 PSI and that seemed like it would work best in order to really pull the tire up into place, however, we’re not running a full-size 10 PSI spare just yet – at least not until we have onboard air like this ARB single motor compressor or a mobile one like this ARB twin motor compressor.

One of the things to consider before dropping the spare down to 10 PSI is whether or not you have a way to air it back up. Obviously, 10 PSI is way too low to drive on, which means if you don’t have a way to air it back up, essentially you don’t have a useable spare which defeats the whole purpose.

We aired the tire back up to 35 PSI and have the tire hanging just off the spare tire support brackets about 2″ from the top – where it usually rests in place.

After testing multiple PSI increments to see what made the biggest difference, we found that 10 PSI provided the most “stuff” but we don’t recommend running a spare with only 10 PSI. Just know this is an option and that you should air down your spare at your own risk.

Modifications To Fit

Lifted Super White 2nd Gen Tacoma with 285/70/17 Yokohama Geolandar X-AT

The only thing we did to get the spare tire to fit best is air it down. That’s it. Now if you wanted to make it fit better or fit an even bigger tire down there, you could do some slight modification to make it work.

Spare Tire Support Brackets

The easiest way to make some extra room on the stock brackets is to hit them with a big hammer. This could make more to mount a bigger tire and wouldn’t affect the drivability or safety of your truck in any way.

Hitch Receiver

Unfortunately, you can’t hammer back the hitch receiver. Really, the only alternative is to remove it or find an aftermarket one that gives you more clearance on the back of the spare. Or you save yourself a headache and put the spare tire elsewhere.


The exhaust would be pretty easy to mod. Just cut it back close to the axle and call it a day. I recommend cutting it right after an exhaust hanger to ensure that there is no rattling afterward. Another option would be to add a more heavy-duty heat shield in place of the stock one to prevent the tire from getting too hot.

As far as modding the leaf hanger and axle goes, there isn’t a whole lot you can do to clear them other than airing the spare tire down. If you have a long bed, you should definitely be clear of the axle and possibly the leaf spring hangers as well since the axle would be further away from the back of the truck.

Other Options

Wilco Offroad Bed Rail Tire Carrier 2nd + 3rd Gen Tacoma

If you don’t want to deal with stuffing your spare 285 in the stock location, don’t sweat it. There are plenty of other options that allow you to carry your full-size spare with you everywhere you go.

If you don’t use your bed that often, you could just throw it back there. The downside to that is it’s easier to steal and it takes up a majority of your bed space. Additionally, you could buy some sort of bed rack/tire carrier designed for the bed – see the Wilco Bed Rail Tire Carrier. This would help save some space and make it harder to steal.

The most expensive option would be to buy a rear bumper swingout. Not only does this option give you more protection, but it allows you to fit basically any sized spare tire you want. Another cool option, that’s less expensive than a full bumper, is the RIGd UltraSwing.

Can You Go Bigger?

As I mentioned before, fitting a spare 285/70R17 was fairly easy, but super tight on space. If you were to go with a bigger size than a 33″ tire, you would have to get creative with mounting it in the spare location. This doesn’t mean it’s impossible to fit anything bigger down there, just more difficult and time-consuming. At that point, it might be easier to find another spare mounting solution.

It would definitely require some sort of modification to have a bigger tire fit comfortably. Obviously, the bigger the tire, the more modding it will take to make it fit.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, it’s pretty nice knowing we can fit a 285 in the spare location. If you are considering jumping up to 33s, I would definitely consider getting 5 of them.

Even if you already have 33s, then there’s no harm in getting one more to match. Even if you can find a used 33, running one of those would be much better than one that’s a different size.

Bilstein 5100s 2.8″ Front w/ Icon Add a Leaf Rear: Factory Wheels +30 offset on Yokohama Geolander 285/70R17 (33.1″)

Passenger Front

White Toyota Tacoma on a 3" Lift and 33" Yokohama Geolanders

Driver Front

White Toyota Tacoma on a 3" Lift and 33" Yokohama Geolanders


White Toyota Tacoma on a 3" Lift and 33" Yokohama Geolanders

Side Close

White Toyota Tacoma on a 3" Lift and 33" Yokohama Geolanders

Passenger Rear

White Toyota Tacoma on a 3" Lift and 33" Yokohama Geolanders

Full Side Profile:

White Toyota Tacoma on a 3" Lift and 33" Yokohama Geolanders

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2 years ago

I have a 285/75/16 spare touching the heat shield. Haven’t had any issues. The shield is doing its job.

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