Jeep Wrangler Smittybilt Pivot HD Tire Carrier (2007-2017 JK) Review & Install

Jeep Wrangler Smittybilt Pivot HD Tire Carrier (2007-2017 JK) Review & Install


I’m Ryan from extremeterrain.com and this
is my review and installation of the Smittybilt Pivot HD Tire Carrier fitting all 2007 to
2016 JKs. Today we’re going to talk about the construction,
some of the features and of course the pricing of this carrier. This is for those of you who are running larger
than factory tires on your Jeep and want to be able to carry a full-size spare. The factory spare tire mount is really only
set up for a factory spare tire. When you put a much larger and heavier spare
tire on that mount, you can run into a couple of different issues. You can wear out the hinges of your tailgate
which will require you to lift up on the tailgate latch every time you open it and close it. You can break the welds on the tailgate itself
causing rattles. And, the metal of the spare tire mount can
fatigue and break over time under the extra weight of a heavier spare tire. There are a couple of different solutions
to fix all of those issues, and a tub mounted spare tire carrier like this one is one of
them. When you use a tub mounted spare tire carrier
like this one, you can run any bumper you would like. If you choose to run a bumper mounted spare
tire carrier, you have to get the bumper specific for that carrier. A tub mounted carrier like this one also allows
you to open and close the rear tailgate with one motion with one hand as opposed to a lot
of tire carriers on the market that first have you open the bumper mounted tire carrier
and then open the tailgate separately. This tire carrier is made of cast aluminum
which means it’s going to be very strong but also pretty light. It allows you to replace your factory tailgate
hinges with the ones that are included on the kit and gives you all of the strength
you need to carry a much larger spare tire. It also has an adjustable mount which will
allow you to put the tire as low as possible without having clearance issues with your
bumper if you’re running a smaller spare tire and give you the maximum viewing out of your
back window. However, if you’re running up to a 37-inch
tire, you can adjust the mount up and run a large tire again without having any clearance
issues. The setup comes complete with a factory third
brake light mount so you don’t have to go out and purchase a third brake light separately
or a third brake light mount. Everything comes right in the kit. You can even get a high lift jack mount separately
that will go with this setup allowing you to mount some additional accessories. If you’ve been shopping for tub mounted tire
carriers before, you’ve probably seen one that looks very similar to this. Both Teraflex and Rugged Ridge have a very
similar tire carrier. Teraflex was the one who pioneered these tub
mounted tire carriers and really came up with this design. Rugged Ridge and Smittybilt came in a little
bit afterward with very similar designs that are slightly less expensive. This whole setup is designed to be completely
bolt on so the installation doesn’t require any drilling. The first step to getting this bolted up is
to remove your factory spare tire mount which will come off by removing the eight bolts
that hold it onto the tailgate. You’ll also want to remove the plastic trim
on the inside of the tailgate to expose the plug for your factory third brake light. Once you unplug it, make sure you hang onto
it, because again you are going to use that with this installation. After that, you can remove the plastic hinge
covers and get ready to remove your factory hinges. Before you do that, you’ll want to block and
tape the tailgate into place to make sure that it’s not going to come out of alignment. It’s a lot easier to take the time to block
and tape everything into place now than it is to try and realign your tailgate after
the fact. Once everything is taped and blocked into
place, you can go ahead and remove those factory hinges and reinstall the hinges that come
with this setup. You’ll actually just be installing the tub
side of the hinges. Remove the hinge pins and bolt these into
place using factory hardware in the factory location. After that, you’ll install the rest of the
hinge part of the carrier onto the tailgate and finally the reinforcement bracket which
is where the tire carrier section gets bolted. This tire carrier will bolt onto that reinforcement
section and then you’ll install the third brake light. Again, all of these parts are completely bolt
on. The kit includes all of the hardware to get
this job done. You don’t have to drill anything, so the installation
is very easy although there are a lot of steps and a lot of hardware. As long as you take your time, this is an
easy installation that anyone can do. I would recommend setting aside two to three
hours to get this installation finished. You won’t need any specialty tools, but a
good set of Torx bits and sockets will come in handy. As I said, there are really three tub mounted
tire carriers on the market that are of a similar design: this one, the one from Rugged
Ridge, and of course the one from Teraflex which was the original to pioneer this design. Teraflex is still the most expensive. They have the most time under their belt so
they’ve been able to make the most improvements over that period of time. I would say that there may be a reason to
spend a little bit more and go with the Teraflex. It’s tried and true, where this is a slightly
newer design. But, looking at this one out of the box, the
finish is nice, it seems really well built and really solid, and in some respects, the
beefiness, the strength of this tire mount, in particular, is something that I think may
even be stronger than the Teraflex one. The Teraflex one adjusts a little bit easier
than this one does, so there are definitely pros and cons to both. If it comes down to budget, this is less expensive
and it is very solid. If you have the money and you want the original,
the Teraflex option is always out there. If you’re looking to run a larger than factory
spare tire on the back of your Jeep but you don’t want to be limited to a bumper that
has a tire carrier specifically built for it, I would definitely recommend taking a
look at this option, especially if you’re looking to save some money over the most expensive
tub mounted tire carriers out there. That’s my review of the Smittybilt Pivot HD
Tire Carrier fitting all 2007 to 2016 JKs that you can find right here at extremeterrain.com.

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  1. This is more of a review rather than an install video for this product. The actual directions that come with the carrier are absolutely terrible. There are even 4 gaskets and spacers that come with the parts that are not even listed as parts that come with the product. Not too mention there are no color diagrams and the poor black and white diagrams omit a huge number of actual steps that need to be taken to get this carrier installed. Unbelievable that a well made product comes with horrendous instructions. To my knowledge, Smittybilt has no online video installation videos for this product either.

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