I'm always down for an excuse to get out and have an adventure (adventure to me is a very broad term too!). In this case, a company offered to send me an automotive tool to review and it was a perfect 'excuse' to go off-roading and 'test' it. So today, I'm going to do a written review of the Spare Me 5-in-1 Rescue Tool. If you're more of a visual person, you can see my video review on my Youtube channel.
The Spare Me 5-in-1 Rescue Tool is meant for automotive scenarios and has 5 features (hence the name) for which I'll break down one by one.
This to me is the main feature of the tool, so I'll start with it first. When a car is stuck, it's ultimately due to a loss of traction whether that be due to slippery mud or a snowy pit that doesn't have enough car weight on it. Either way, as with any traction board, the tool goes under the tire to add traction, both by filling negative space and adding 'grip' spikes. The Spare Me tool goes under the tire and is strong enough to simply drive over. As you can see in my Youtube video review, I actually have footage where I got myself intentionally stuck and the tool was able to get me out. What separates this tool from other traction boards such as MaxTrax is the size and cost. Traction boards are typically quite large and expensive. This tool, could easily sit with your spare tire and cost less than an IHOP breakfast for two people.
Secondly, this tool is meant to be used as a shovel. Sometimes when stuck, what needs to be done is to just clear out the snow/mud/dirt/junk that is under or around the tire. A shovel is always better than hands both for keeping hands clean as well as a hard object like this can break up ice/dirt/etc better than you're hands can. One side of the tool is hollowed out in case you actually needed to scoop, but most of the time just scrapping stuff out of the way is good enough.
3. Lug Nut Wrench Leverage
This feature is a nice to have the option of. Sometimes when switching out a flat tire, the lug nuts are extremely tight and hard to get off with the lug wrench in your car. So with the simple use of physics, adding a length extension can make it so much easier. I didn't get a flat, but I still tested it out on some overly tight lug nuts and would you believe it?! Physics works?! A little leverage and they come off with just one foot barely stepping on the end. The handle is hollow and by just removing the end cap, you can slide it on the end of the wrench. I will say that that end cap doesn't stay on well and we lost it somewhere out in the backcountry while off-roading.
4. Tire Leverage
The fourth feature is again a simple aspect of physics; leverage for lifting a tire onto the rotor. I didn't test this one since it is again just physics and I had no doubt it would be fine. However, I don't see this as a selling point for the tool. Maybe it's just cause I'm a strong capable guy (picture James Bond. lol), but I don't have any issues lifting a tire onto the rotor, but I see how this could be nice for someone who can't lift the tire or who just wants to make it a lot easier. So again, I'm sure it works fine since it's just physics.
5. Ice Scraper
The fifth and last feature is an ice scraper. I couldn't test it since I don't live where we have ice currently, but I do have some thoughts on this feature, including some negative ones. So the edge of this tool comes to a very fine point for scraping as is logical. My issue with this feature is that, since it is a fine point (thus thin) it get's torn up easily when used for traction and shoveling. This makes the edge jagged, torn up, and thus very ineffective for scrapping ice once the blade is no longer flat. However, this judgement may not be totally justified. The reason my scraper got so torn up is that I was using it in rocky and sandy conditions. If you live somewhere where you'll actually need to use this for ice and snow, then you may not be using the tool for traction on hard rock and dirt. You'll likely be using it for snow which won't tear up the scraper and thus no complaints.
To put it as simply as possible, for the size and price, why not have the Spare Me 5-in-1 Rescue Tool. The company didn't pay me to say that, that's my honest review. I'm excited to keep this one in the back of my car. Since it's small enough to sit with my spare tire, I can put it there and just forget about it until I need it. I don't have to worry about leaving it in the garage and not having it with me. Furthermore, the cost of these tools are super cheap. From what I found online you can get them from between $15-30 from multiple places which is so cheap compared to a $300 set of traction boards. The Spare Me company is putting out an 8-in-1 version soon and that one may be closer to $30-40, but that's still ridiculously cheap.
If you're in any kind of scenario where you may get stuck in snow, mud, dirt, alien goo, or lava, I'd highly suggest you get one or two to keep in your cars. They're effective, small, and cheap!