Toyota 4Runner, Tacoma, and Tundra: How to Repair the Spare Tire Winch

Repairing this component of your vehicle won't take long. Read on to find out how to get everything back in order.

By Antonio Mannino - February 26, 2016

This article applies to the Toyota 4Runner, Tacoma, and Tundra.

You may have attempted to remove the spare tire on your Toyota only to find that the winch is stuck. Over time, rust and dirt build up and this can lead to your winch functioning improperly. Here is a relatively quick and easy way to free up the stuck winch on your vehicle.

Toyota 4Runner, Tacoma, and Tundra How to Repair Spare Tire Winch

Materials Needed

  • Impact gun
  • Set of large sockets
  • WD-40
  • Large washers

Step 1 – Find a large socket

Grab a large socket and a few large washers that are similar in size to the gap of the socket you choose. The exact size doesn't matter, but the goal is to create a way to turn the winch with an impact gun to free it. The key is for the socket and washers to be big enough to fit the crank for the winch. Proceed to fit the washers into the socket diagonally, and stack a few of them to create a wider bit for turning the crank on the winch. Essentially, we are creating a tool for the job. Your socket should look something like the picture below.

toyota 4runner tacoma truck spare tire winch stuck how to fix DIY repair
Figure 1. Stack several washers diagonally inside the socket.

Step 2 – Spray the winch with WD-40

Grab yourself a can of WD-40; the straw attachment may be helpful here. Vigorously spray the components of the wench and the crank. It is important to use plenty and properly lubricate everything before you begin to pry the winch. You may want to have a friend on hand to help you add more WD-40 as you begin to crank the winch in the following step.

toyota 4runner tacoma truck spare tire winch stuck how to fix DIY repair
Figure 2. WD-40 is a must for this job.

Step 3 – Begin to turn the winch

The use of some extensions will be very helpful here. You want to insert the socket tool that you made earlier into the crank for the winch. Use your impact wrench to turn the winch in both directions. While your doing this, have your partner continue to add more WD-40. If you do not have help on hand, then take breaks from turning the winch to add more WD-40. Continue working the winch in both directions until it is loose enough to be comfortably turned without power tools.

toyota 4runner tacoma truck spare tire winch stuck how to fix DIY repair
Figure 3. Turn the winch and apply more WD-40.

Your winch should now be free and your spare tire is accessible once again. Make sure to keep the winch lubricated by greasing it every once and awhile to ensure that it does not get locked up again.

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