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Our 2002 Thunderbird

Have you replaced the original spare yet?

Well past the time to do so.


The New Thunderbird
2002  2003
2004 2005
Ford Thunderbird
Spare Tire:  2002: T185 60 17 Firestone (2002) and MAXXIS (2003-2005)

2003-2005: T185 60 17 MAXXIS inflate to 30 psi to use. Max speed 50mph
This is the OEM replacement tire for the 2002, too.

Ford recommended PSI for stock driving tires is 30psi as per your door tag,

Your space saver spare tire should be at 30# pressure when in use ~ do check before driving your car.
Before a flat occurs, please read below and  the wheel well page and you will be prepared in case of a flat.

And the stories continue about the 2002 Firestone Spares... and now 2003-2005 MAXXIS spares
They are now 16 to 19 years old whether you used them or not so read the Reports below and DO GET THEM REPLACED
  MAXXIS spares were OEM in all the 2003 to 2005 Tbirds.  They fit the 2002 T-birds.

SPARE TIRE CAUTION: The age of the OEM spare tires are  a concern to all of us  as they are anywhere from 16 to 20 years old and past their safety dates. Please read the reports below, then get your spares replaced!   All are outdated now as are ALL years for the OEM driving tires.
Replacement spares are NOT always available from MAXXIS ! 
Call them if you can't find it on their web site.

Tire Size:   T 185 60 R 17 MAXXIS


#7: NEW REPORT:  June 2014  Just received a report on TBN that a 2004 MAXXIS spare tire has blown up in the trunk.  This is a first report for this brand and from a car from Chicago.   That means all the spares need replacing if you plan any trips out of your local area. 

If you are still using the original OEM driving tires on your Thunderbird, Replace Your Tires, they are too old!

Two reports in Sept & Nov. 2010

I.  Sept 18, 2010:  Just had a call from a friend with a 2002. His Firestone spare tire "blew" just sitting in the trunk of his car and his car is garaged all the time (another low mileage tbird). He's never had to use the spare but did have it aired up to specs.. .

Update on the above situation.  Owner replaced his with another old Firestone spare from a 2000 Lincoln LS.  It blew up in the trunk in early 2012.

2.  Here's another report on TBN:

Nov. 5, 2010:  "When Sally was getting orders together for a spare after the first report at above, another member did not think it was needed as "what would happen to a spare that never been out except to check the pressure." Well, below you will see what he found today when he was putting the 2011 sticker on the regular license plate that is kept next to the spare in the tire well.
The license plate was between the spare and the tire well, he could not remove the license plate. He had to the let the air out to remove the tire from the well, yes it was still air tight, but had a large knot in the failure area."[revised to be read on this site]

The Production date on the Firestone tire was 3101 or the 31st week of 2001

A report from 2011:

3.  From July 31, 2011:
 Paul Thomas just reported that his spare in the trunk of his 2002 bird, blew while on the road trip he just started yesterday.  and later he reported with photos on TBN.

A report from 2015:
#8.  From May 16, 2015  Another spare in the trunk bites the dust.  This one reported in Massachusetts.  This one was for a 2002, another Firestone.  Age, not use, was the culprit.

A report from 2017:
#9  April 2017:  New owner of used '02 Thunderbird reported that he looked in the spare tire compartment of his California-bought car after reading about them on Thunderbirdnest and found it in this condition:
and it was still holding air!

My own thoughts?:
Replace your spare 

Here's a couple of 2012 Reports:

4.  From a new TBN member as she reported on TBN with photos:
February 29, 2012:  "Thanks for the tip on Maxxis - I ordered a spare replacement today but price is now up to $159. (Ford dealer couldn't find any replacements.) Here's a couple photos of my 2002 Firestone temp spare that blew out just sitting in the trunk - just an amazing amount of damage on a tire that was never used and a car that spends most of it's time in the garage! "


5.  Received this report today, May 22, 2012 of another blow up in the trunk.  The only difference from the other reports is that he had actually used his in a previous month.
Thanks Dot, valuable information in the Newsletter. I had a flat on my bird on the way to Hot Springs, changed with the space saver spare and made it to a tire shop. Several months later I was charging the battery and discovered the tire had blown in the trunk! I was talking to some of the guys with the North Texas Vintage Thunderbird Club and they had never heard of this either. I have searched everywhere for another tire, appreciate the info!  /quote.

Not sure when his happened but he must have missed my last newsletter article about the spare tires. At least he didn't this time! and...At least his didn't blow when he had to use it. 

Here's the spare he found in his spare tire compartment:

6. March 7, 2013  Another report, this time from Tennessee, not quite as hot a place as some of the others, particularly this winter.   "Just joined the 'Club'. A couple of weeks ago we were watching TV, and heard what sounded like a shotgun blast.Yep it was the spare, which had a mfg date of 3001 (30th week of 2001). Glad to know it now than on the way to Pikes Peak! See you in Colorado. It'll be fun" G. Himes.  [G. Himes has a 2002 Tbird]

Here's his pics:


photo by Bill Green photo by Bill Green photo by Bill Green
Never Used Blown Spare Tire as taken by Bill Green in Nov. 2010. 
9 year old Firestone spare had been stored inflated to specs for several years and in wheel well when it blew.  well, not quite true as the outer tire held with a bulge where he had to cut the tire open to release the air and remove his license plate.  You can see the separated belts after the air was released.
If you show your 2002 Thunderbird and are concerned about having an original OEM Firestone Tire in the trunk,  Get another spare wheel and have a MAXXIS spare tire installed  on it for your safety when driving the car and experiencing a flat.  You can bring the Firestone spare to a show and use it for show but be sure you have the MAXXIS spare with you if you really need it.  Meanwhile let the air out of your Firestone tire;  after all, it's for show, not go.

It has been suggested by some that when spare is kept stored (not in use) keep it at 30 to 35lbs. .



The 2002 spare is a full size spare but narrower than the stock wheel and tires.  A bit of trivia:  the 2002 spare is a Firestone.

The 2003-2005 spare tire is a Maxxis T185 60R17 made in Taiwan ~ Instructions embossed on spare tire say Maximum tire pressure is 60# and Maximum vehicle speed of 50m.p.h. (80k.p.h.).  

Air pressure should  probably be same as your regular tires, 30 lbs. as Ford reccommends for the driving tires.

You do NOT want 60# of pressure in tire as that is the Maximum..  Air temperature and heat of tire generated during driving can raise that pressure above the Maximum. . 

The Maxxis spare fits the 2002.  Firestone does not make the size that 2002s use.

Alternative reported on TBN  fall 2011.  This may work but don't use it for long distance.


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