Waking up to find the streets in front of your home blanketed after a winter storm is bad enough, but then discovering your car stuck in snow is even worse.
In a perfect world, you’ll have time to properly dig out your car – but, chances are, you’re in a hurry to get to work on time. Fear not! We’ve put together a list of ways to get your car out of the snow. Of course, requesting roadside assistance is always an option!
First, be sure to dress warmly. Wear a heavy coat and, most importantly, gloves. Covering your hands will keep you warm and dry and likely prevent you from getting blisters.
Before you start your car, check your tailpipe to make sure there is no snow covering or clogging it. This will help to prevent potentially deadly gases from building up inside your vehicle.
Defog your windshield and all other windows and be sure to scrape off any snow or ice that could be blocking your view.
There are some tried and true methods for driving your vehicle out of snow. First off, use as high a gear as possible – second or even third if your automatic transmission allows manual gear selection. A higher gear will have less torque and a lesser tendency to make the drive wheels spin.
Many newer vehicles have a special snow gear or snow driving mode. If you have a manual transmission, again, use a higher gear rather than a lower. A rocking motion from the higher gear to reverse and back is good for building momentum to get the vehicle moving out of a stuck spot. But avoid spinning the tires and hard shifting back and forth between the gears as both actions are bad for the transmission.
Most likely, your vehicle is front-wheel drive. If that’s the case, extra traction can be found by wiggling the steering wheel from side to side to allow the tire’s tread that wraps around slightly on the sidewall to bite into snow. Every little bit of traction helps when you’re stuck.
If you still find your car stuck in snow, try shifting into park and clear snow away from the areas near the tires. This way, you’ll give your vehicle as much flat surface as possible. If you have enough space, keep a shovel in your trunk – otherwise, you might have to use your hands or other tools to complete this process.
If the previous two methods do not work, find materials that can help increase tire traction. You can place pieces of cardboard underneath your car’s wheels and then try to roll the car over the pieces. Other materials you can try include salt, sand or kitty litter.
As a last resort, you can place your vehicle’s floor mats and try to drive over them. But keep in mind – doing so will likely ruin the mats.
We’d love to hear from you if these methods have helped when you found your car stuck in snow. If you have additional tips, let us know by posting them in the comment section.