A spike strip (commonly known as a stinger) is a piece of equipment used by police to puncture and damage the tires of a vehicle, attempting to slow it down and make it difficult to control during chases.
The spike strip first appears in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, where officers deploy them from the roadside after a 3-star wanted level is obtained by the player. They appear in every subsequent 3D Universe game as a police device, with the exception of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. In San Andreas, they do make an appearance in the mission Puncture Wounds, where CJ must drive a Tampa that's been modified to deploy stingers, to stop an erratic driver and steal their vehicle. They are also used in the Driving School test "Pop and Control".
Even though they are supposed to make pursuits tricky, evading the spikes is easy if driving fast enough and away from the sidewalk, as the police only deploy them once the player is close enough to the officer.
Spike strips are not present in Grand Theft Auto IV; however, they return in Grand Theft Auto V, and are deployed at a 3-star wanted level by officers in Police Transporters, if the road is wide enough. The spike strips are notably used in the heist The Big Score. Spike strips are also a weapon that can be dropped when driving a JB 700 in the mission Deep Inside and a spike strip alternative, known as caltrops, in Pack Man. However, spike strips cannot be deployed from a JB 700 outside of the missions.
- Car tires lacked the ability to deflate in Grand Theft Auto III, which is one of the reasons why they don't feature in the game.
- Rhinos and BMXs are the only tire-fitted road vehicles unaffected by the spikes, as they are pop-proof. Many of the large vehicles and bicycles in GTA San Andreas have pop-proof tires, but they would never encounter spike strips under normal conditions.
- Even if the player is fleeing in an aircraft, the police will still deploy spikes on the roads below.
- In GTA: San Andreas, if only one tire hits the spike, all tires will pop. This is likely an oversight, as they do not appear outside missions.
- On some occasions, when a severely-damaged vehicle (emits black smoke) hits a spike strip, it will instantly catch fire and explode.
- In GTA V, spike strips appear along with Police Transporters, on roads that are at least two lanes wide.
- Is unknown how a vehicle can pass a spike strip without popping a tire, but is seen that going fast might have this result.
- In GTA V, the vehicle can be immune to the spike strip if has bulletproof tires.