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Car Stuck in the Snow? 8 Ideas and Suggestions for Getting It Out

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Updated December 24, 2022

Winter weather can wreak havoc on your vehicle if you haven’t taken the time to winterize it properly – and even if you have, you can still run the risk of getting your car stuck in the snow. Ideas and suggestions for getting your junk car out of the snow are aplenty. It’s best to prepare yourself with the right knowledge before you head out on your winter adventures.  

8 Ideas and Suggestions for Getting Your Car Stuck in the Snow Out

Got stuck halfway out of the garage, and your tires keep spinning with no results? Got lodged in a snowbank? If you find yourself and your car stuck in the snow, these eight ideas and suggestions can help:

1. Stop Spinning Your Tires

When your car is stuck in the snow, spinning your tires doesn’t help you one bit. It actually has the opposite effect. For example, if you’re stuck at the side of the road in a snowbank and you keep spinning your tires, you’re only digging yourself deeper into the snow or the mud beneath it. 

2. Dig Yourself a Path

If your car is stuck in the snow, you’re going to need to find something to help you dig yourself out, like a shovel or an old coffee cup. If your car is stuck in a way that only allows you to move in reverse, make sure you clear away as much snow and ice from the back of your tires as you can. If you can move forward, you’ll want to clear away as much snow from the front of your car as possible, preferably enough to get you back onto solid ground. 

car stuck in snow

3. Make Sure Your Tire is Straight

Once you’ve cleared your path, you need to ensure that your tires are straight before you try moving. If you’ve got them turned even slightly, then you risk losing traction and your tires spinning out from under you. 

4. Shift to a Different Gear

Another suggestion should your car get stuck in the snow is to shift to a lower gear. For automatic transmissions, that means shifting into “low” or 1st gear. However, for manual transmissions, you’ll want to actually shift into a higher gear and use your clutch to help you control the spin of your tires. 

5. Turn off Your Traction Control

Another excellent option for getting your car out of the snow is to turn off your car’s traction control. Most newer cars have an easy-to-reach button on the dashboard that allows you to turn your traction control on and off. If your car is stuck in the snow, you want to turn it off so you can get more power to your wheels when you need it the most. 

6. Try “Rocking” the Car

You use this maneuver to help you build up some momentum to get you unstuck. You begin by putting your car in reverse and allow the car to roll backwards a bit before shifting to drive and rolling forward. You repeat this pattern a few times in the hopes of building up enough momentum that you can “rock” yourself free from the snow. 

car stuck in snow ideas and suggestions

7. Place Something Under Your Tire for Added Traction

Another tried and true method of getting unstuck from the snow is placing something beneath your tire to help you get enough traction to get free. While some people keep a bag of sand or tub of kitty litter in their car for this purpose, not everyone will have that on hand. You can try a few other items beneath your tires, including chains, floor mats, or even some extra dry clothing. You simply want to place it right in front or behind your tires so that your tires have something to grip on once you try moving. 

8. Try Deflating Your Tires a Smidge 

When all else fails, and if you still can’t seem to get enough traction to get your car unstuck from the snow, then you can try to deflate your tires just a bit. This gives your tire a wider point of contact when it meets the ground. Hopefully, the idea is to provide you with enough contact to allow your tire to grip the ground and get you moving. Just remember, you need to reinflate your tires to the appropriate specification ASAP.

Preparing Your Car for the Winter Months 

Sure, if you find your car stuck in the snow, the right ideas and suggestions can help get you out. However, it’s always better to prepare in advance with the right winterization tips. Whether you live in a snowy area or you are traveling somewhere outside of your comfort zone, you want to be prepared. 

Some of the best tips to help you keep from getting your car stuck in the snow in the first place include:

  • Installing winter tires on our car – These are tires specially formulated for the snow, which come in either studded or studless styles. Studded tires have metal studs embedded within the tire treads to help with traction, while studless tires are more flexible in freezing temperatures, allowing them to maintain proper traction.
  • Install tire chains – Also known as snow chains, these are installed on your existing tires to help provide additional traction, much like snow tires. 
  • Always clear your car off before starting your trip – If your car is considered an “outside” car, make sure you take the time to clean off any snow before you head out wherever you need to go. This will help reduce the chances of snow or ice from slipping off your car and causing you to skid. 

car is stuck in snow

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Don’t Let Your Junk Car Get Stuck in the Snow

Driving in the winter can be a scary experience if you don’t know how best to prepare for a worst-case scenario. Whether driving a junk car or a brand new one, you want to ensure you know your vehicle inside and out before hitting the road and have everything you need should your vehicle end up stuck in the snow. 

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