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In case someone digs up this thread and looks for resolution to this same problem, let me share what I experienced: I have a RAV4 BASE 2008. I got the tire pressure warning light and since all 4 grounded tires were good, I wanted to check the spare tire. And as others noticed, it's really challenging to remove the spare tire cover of RAV4 BASE 2008. To begin with, the user manual says that there is a latch at the bottom of the cover. The manual even has a picture of that latch. But there is no such latch at all. There is a zipper at the inner side of the tire cover (near the top), as BigSwede pointed out. Eventually what I did was to unzip the zipper at the top, and put my hands inside the split of the vinyl at the very bottom of the spare tire cover, and then just pull the cover downwards then out. That's it.
To put the cover back, just do the reverse: "hang" the cover (with the zipper at upper side) on top of the spare tire, then hold the bottom edge of the rim and bring it back to position. Work at either side of the rim to help it squeeze in if necessary. Then zip up the zipper at the top.