Your AAA Network

Dig Out Your Car Like a Boss

You need your car stuck in the snow like you need to listen to “Macarena” over and over again for three straight days.

But if you do find your vehicle caught in a snowy trap, don’t freak out. Here’s what to do.

Don’t Get Mad – Get Digging

It’s frustrating to find your car buried in snow, but anger won’t help you get out any faster. If you have a shovel, dig out the drive wheels first. These are the front wheels in front-wheel-drive cars and the rear wheels in rear-wheel, all-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive vehicles. Make sure the tailpipe is not stuffed with snow. A clogged exhaust can fill a vehicle cabin with deadly carbon monoxide.

Spin Stops Here

Pedal to the metal is not the right philosophy. Flooring the accelerator could dig the vehicle deeper into the snow and cause unnecessary wear and tear on important parts. Instead, slowly press the accelerator and ease up if the wheels start to spin. Turn off traction control and turn on the low-gear snow mode if your car has it.

Let’s Rock, Carefully

You could also try the rocking technique. Put the car in drive and then inch up as far as the car will go. When the car stops, brake and then put it in reverse. Gently accelerate, and when it stops again switch back to drive. Repeat this rocking process until the car crushes enough snow for you to power through it. But be careful. While this method works, you could damage your transmission if you shift before you come to a complete stop, said AAA’s Car Doctor John Paul.

“Make sure the rpm come all the way down before you switch gears,” he added.

Get Creative

If you’re still stuck, you could try to get traction by placing your floor mats under the drive wheels. But this will likely ruin the mats. Instead, pour sand or kitty litter under the tires to get traction. Just be safe, even if you’re in a hurry, Paul said. Never stand in front or behind a running vehicle, either, he added.

 

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