How to Get a Car Out of Snow

Winter is already gone, yet the preparation for a blizzard is never enough. And we are not talking about hot cocoa, candles and batteries. Don’t misunderstand, those are great! But what if you have to leave the house? 

Every year, there are hundreds of cars getting stuck in the snow. And when that situation happens to you, do not just press on the gas pedal and hope for the best. In this article, we will guide you the right way to do when you have a car stuck in snow. To be more specific, here are 10 steps to get your automobile moving again, from using props to driving techniques. 

But first, here are some of our advices of preparation for a snowstorm

What to Prepare Before the Snow

So what to do if your car is stuck in snow? Before the winter even arrives, it is essential to be ready. There are two crucial tasks to complete in order to make sure you can get your car stuck in snow back on the road safely after a huge snowstorm. And believe us, these two things are insanely helpful.

Keep the Right Tool in your Automobile

What is the right tool with the use of pulling cars out of snow? That’s right. A snow shovel. Not only is it the best tool in the winter for you, but you can also help other unprepared drivers. 

Without a shovel, drivers might need to use other objects, or even their own hands to dig the snow. For that reason, always remember to put it inside your cabin. 

Have the Right Tires

Good preparation is the key to victory. Before the snow even starts falling, drivers must make sure the tread of the tire is in the right condition. Also, they need to check the air pressure of your vehicle. However, if you are living at a place where storms can bring more than a foot of snow, it is crucial to have snow tires. The main difference between all season tires is the structure of ribs, grooves, lugs and sipes. Long story short, all season tires cannot handle the snowstorm like winter tires. With winter tires, it is hard to have a car stuck in snow.

We need to prepare before going out in winter day or we will end up having car stuck in snow (Photo Source: Pexels)

Now all the preparations are completed, here is our car stuck in snow ideas and suggestions, as well as the 10 steps to pulling cars out of snow. 

10 Steps to Get a Car Out of Snow

Turn off Traction Control

It is an essential step in how to get your car out of snow, since both drive wheels must have traction for you to get out. Usually, you can turn off traction control by a button on the console or on the dashboard.

Understand the Reason Why It is Stuck

Before understanding how to get a car out of snow, we must first acknowledge the reason why it is trapped in the first place. Normally, the car is stuck since it has no traction, and the cause of these are ice and snow. To be more specific, they prevent the tires from making contact with the ground or pavement. This leaves your wheels to spin aimlessly. So if we want to bring freedom to your vehicle, we need to regain traction. 

Do not Spin the Wheels

We have mentioned this earlier and it is never enough to say it again: Do not spin the wheels. Continuing to do that only makes your car stuck deeper. So we need to assess the situation with the purpose of rescuing your car safely.

Check the Exhaust and the Tailpipe

It is essential to check the exhaust as well as the tailpipe before getting a car out of snow. Car owners must remember to dig out the tailpipe before starting the engine. Car owners need to make sure that there is no snow inside the tailpipe. 

Even after you remove the snow around it, the tailpipe must be clear and does not get buried again. The reason for this is that an unclear tailpipe can build up exhaust. The building up of carbon monoxide inside a car can suffocate as well as kill people. And the main cause for this incident is the blocked exhaust pipe. 

Clear the Snow and Ready the Ground

Snow is definitely the biggest enemy of traction. If you want to know how to get car unstuck from snow, you need to remove them first. So grab a snow shovel you have prepared and ready for some digging. Car owners can also use it to break the ice if there is any. 

You can start with the front tires by digging the snow out from in front, then underneath. Car owners must clear a path with the appropriate length. To be more specific, it must be long enough for wheels in order to move back and forth a few feet. Also, you need to remove any remaining snow around the tires that is higher than the ground clearance of the automobile. After that, drivers then dig out snow underneath the car’s front, and this is the case that you have space on either end of the automobile.

You can use an ice scraper, screwdriver or other tools in order to break up any ice forming below the tires. This is in case you do not have a shovel. If you meet any textured ice, you do not need to remove them. The main reason for this is that rough ice will add traction.

Another thing to notice is the terrain you are stucking in. If you are high-centered with ice or snow blocking the exit, we advise you to not do anything, since your car won’t go anywhere.

Start the Car

After finishing all the previous steps, it is good to start your car now. If you have a manual automobile, you need to put it into second gear before trying to escape. By doing this, you can slow the wheels of the vehicle, which help them bite into the ice-covered ground or the snow. 

Add Traction

When mentioning traction, we think about floor mats and kitty litter. Most of the time, it is impossible to remove all the ice and snow under the tires. So, car owners must find a good way to give the wheels enough grip to not damage them. The solution for this are kitty litter, as well as sprinkling sand or a floor mat. Depending on the position, you can put it in front or in the back of the wheels.   


If you do not have any of these, there is another way to add traction. Car owners can lay plywood, cardboard or two-by-fours in order to get traction. If you and your car are stuck in the middle of nowhere, branches or weeds are also very helpful, and you can gather them from any side of the road.

Last but not least, here are our two tips when it comes to adding traction for a stucking vehicle. The first tip is to clear the area and take it easy when accelerating. The car wheels can make whatever you put down for traction break and shoot out. This is quite dangerous if you accelerate too fast. Another tip is do not use antifreeze to melt ice and snow. In some states, it is against the law to pour antifreeze on the ground. It is toxic to pets, wild animals and children. With the storm, antifreeze can find its way to waterways, and therefore poison marine animals.  

Melt Ice

How to get a car out of snow when there is ice blocking the way? You can use rock salt with the purpose of melting the ice underneath. Table salt is also helpful in a pinch. Just like we mentioned above, antifreeze is toxic so we will not recommend it. However, if you do not have either rock salt or table salt, you can try windshield washer fluid. 

Let some Air out of the Tires

Alright, you must be wondering, why should we let a little air out of the tires when we have a car stuck in snow? Ain’t we need to tire to be full pressure to drive off? This action will cause the tires to sag, making more rubber in contact with the ground. To be more specific, it should give the wheels more grips and better traction for a short distance. However, car owners must be careful with this action if you don’t have a tire pump handy. You do not want to be stuck in the snow with a flat tire right? So let a bit of air outside, just enough so the wheels look visibly lower. 

Techniques to Get a Car Out of Snow

Now all the preparations are done, here are our techniques to guide you when you have a car stuck in snow. 

The Forward and Back Technique

One of the most basic techniques, yet very useful when you have a car stuck in snow. Drivers start their cars, roll down the window and take off the earmuffs in order to hear clearly. You can even stick your head out of the window with the purpose of observing your front tire. The best way to gain traction is to straighten the wheels, so try to do this as much as possible.

The next step is to put the automobile in the lowest gear. If you are driving a pickup or a four-wheel drive SUV, you should engage the low-range gearing. After that, move forward a bit and slowly back up. Do not rev the engine at this moment. Next, stop and put it in forward, along with applying a little bit of gas. These actions combine to tamp down loose snow, therefore opening an opportunity to get the car out. 

Car snow
The methods to get your car out of snow (Photo Source: Pexels)

The reason why you need to roll the window down and listen carefully is the spinning tire. If you hear anything like that, take your foot off the gas pedal right away.

The Rocking Technique

You have a car stuck in snow, and you do not have chain snow. Then it is time to rock the automobile. This is a tricky, classic technique for getting the car out of snow, yet always effective. In order to perform it, car owners must shift quickly between forward and backward. This action will provide momentum to drive out. However, all methods have weaknesses. Be careful that this skill of rapid shifting will overload your car’s transmission. So only try it a few times or you might end up damaging your vehicle. 

The Braking Technique

The third skill we will guide you is the braking technique. If your car has a spinning wheel, or it did not move at all, this is your option. Try to brake while giving a little gas at the same time. This action will reduce the spinning, then transfer the power to the tire.

If there are no objectives blocking your way, you can try turning the wheels slightly the other way to find more traction. However, do not overuse this braking technique and do not spam the method for more than a few seconds. The reason for this is the heat. Drivers might overheat the brakes, which compromise braking until they have cooled down. 

Find Some Muscle

When all the individual methods fail, it is time to call for help. Sometimes, it is helpful to have other strong men pushing the car stuck in snow. Make sure you use only the forward gear if they are pushing the car from behind. You do not want to harm your pushers. And remember to ask them to push on the count of three, as you press the gas pedal gently. 

When Your Car Out of Snow

Now your car does break free, what can you do? Car owners can now re-engage the traction control system. If you are already in forward gear, do not stop right away. Drivers must continue to drive somewhere that has less snow to stop safely. If you are in reverse, keep backing up for a few more metres. After that, take the foot off the gas pedal to let the snow do the stopping work. After that, you can shift to low gear and accelerate gently forward to get back to the track. 

If you let any air out of your tires, time to rush to the closest service station to refill them.