Spider Spike for winter driving

A neighbor just told me spike spiders for winter driving. What’s the story behind them? Has Consumer Reports rated them? Reports here on CT? Your experiences? When did they come into existence, High costs? I’m in N. California.


I believe you’re referring to the Spikes Spider. My personal experience–bought a set for my Mazda Mazda6. Thought I had the hubs correctly installed the one and only time I tried to use them–both came off, one never to be seen again, stranding me in Reno for a day, and my car there for two weeks.

Expense: very expensive, compared to other snow traction devices

I’m not aware of any Consumer Reports or CarTalk reviews. The few reviews I saw before buying them were favorable.

I don’t know when they came into existence. They were available in the late '90s for Saturns that did not take snow chains, so they’ve been around some years.


I live in N. Calif. at 2700’ is the foothills of the Sierra. We can get some fairly deep snow here, but not like at even higher elevations. It snows more than 4" probably about 6 times in the winter.

A friend and I help a very elderly neighbor who just bought an Outback. He’s worried about getting out of his house during the winter he lives 40’ lower than the street above him, and would be unable to put chains on his tires. The other fellow has the SS on his truck, and mentioned it takes about 5 minutes to get them on. So the older fellow is thinking about buying them.

I’ve never seen the SS on anyone’s vehicles, so began wondering what the downside was. Later today I’ll check at a few tire stores, and a few friends who have lived here longer than I have.

Those Spike-Spiders are a substitute for chains, which are not meant to be a substitute for winter tires. For everyday winter driving in the Great White North, you should have a good set of winter tires.

Downsides: 1) expensive 2) the hubs can be difficult to install (as I found out; see above) 3) take up a lot of room in the car 4) you still are outside in the wet and cold installing them when the need arises. Not knowing much about snow, I am curious how often an Outback with good winter tires would need chains.

Note, too, that there are some (albeit expensive) low profile chains that are not that difficult to put on–e.g. I have a set of SCC Super Z6 chains for my 2011 Hyundai Sonata. I’ve practiced putting them on, but I can’t yet speak to their performance in the snow.


Where I live, I have to climb 300’ in about one miles to get to the main road. I have a Forester. I don’t use chains, but mostly can get out even in 4-6" snow,carefully on two of the steep grades. My neighbor climbs a rather steep driveway that is about 30-50 feet above his garage to a road. He not only very old, 95, but has some disabilities. Once he gets to the road, he has to climb another 100’ go get to the main road. I’m not so sure he can get the SS on his vehicle. He uses a walker a lot.

$500+ for a pair?!?! Yikes!

How about studs?

how about getting on your local snow remover’s list? It’s an ongoing expense, but much easier for the old guy, and easier than messing up your vehicle, climbing around it in the snow, etc.

Up in the mountains in Northern NH, my parents paid a guy who regularly plowed around the area to do their driveway. It wasn’t very much, as I remember, since he was there, anyway. Not sure what it would be like for you. 100 feet with a good plow is short work. Having a few pitch in to pay him would cut the cost more, and be safer in the long run.

Actually, his former work place will dig him out. Last winter we had snow to 16" twice, and a few at 8". They don’t always get there promptly. He’s a pretty independent guy. I’m sure he feels he ought to be able to get out of there on his own, some of the time.

Despite his bad mobility, he will take on projects that keep him busy. For example, this year he built a fairly sizable planter box, and a small box in the kitchen with about 6 drawers with some marble like surface. He has all sort of the equipment. He uses his table saw for the planter box, and had trouble getting wood on it. He’d either make it or, if I happened by, I’d lift it up. Others do it too. He’s got a good mind, but his body is failing him. The guy is a real survivor. Fought in the Battle of the Bulge.

Yesterday, I told him to forget the spikes. $450 a pair. Buy stud or winter tires. At a bit above $450 he can get a pretty good set of winter tires. Even though people a quick install on the spider spikes, I think he’d still have a tought time getting them on.

Age is a battle we all fight. Thank him for his service, for me at least. War zones are a terrible place to be away from family, wherever they are.

Don’t forget that those winter tires will last many winters, as you won’t want them on the vehicle for more than a few months. I haven’t lived in a winter environment in a long time, but my parents have had the same set of winter tires for at least the last 12 years. They’re starting to show sign of age (cracking and the like), rather than use. But like me, my Dad’s stubborn, and does things his own way. He’ll probably replace them all when one explodes at 2AM on a dark road somewhere. He said that’s what AAA is for. I’m not quite that resistant.