What to Do If Your Car Is Stuck in Ice or Snow

  1. Check the exhaust pipe before starting the engine, as there may be snow covering it. If there is, remove the snow. This is to stop hazardous gases from building up inside the car.
  2. This may sound obvious, but if your car is surrounded by snow or ice clear the snow. Break up the ice surrounding the tyres and use a screwdriver or sharp object to break the ice that has formed below the tyres (be careful!)
  3. If your wheels are spinning when you try to pull off, ride the brakes. Usually, one wheel will spin more than the other as it has less resistance. Pressing the brakes lightly will decrease the spinning as it increases the minimum torque needed to spin each wheel. It will also transfer some power to the other wheel so both wheels are working to pull you out of the snow. Take caution doing this though, as if you do this for a long period the brakes may overheat, increasing stopping distance until they have cooled.
  4. Sprinkle salt and sand or (yes, really) cat litter in front of your tyres. The salt will melt the ice and the sand/litter will provide traction.
  5. Make sure your wheels are straight – when the wheels are straight, it makes it easier for the car to move and become unstuck.
  6. As you pull out, gently accelerate until the wheels start slipping, then reverse until the wheels slip. Keep going backwards and forwards until there is enough room for you to move out. Warning: the transmission can become overloaded and fail when the momentum is shifted too quickly. This should only be used as a last resort.
  7. Once you are out and driving, you may notice a vibration or wobble on your steering wheel at fast speed. This can be caused by snow getting packed into your wheels and causing an imbalance. Don’t panic, just pull over when it is safe to do so and get the snow out by hand.
  8. When you are unstuck, make sure your radiator has air flow. If you have snow in the front of the grille clear it out as when the air flow is blocked this can cause overheating.
  9. Be aware that excessive tyre spinning overheats and damages tyres. It also digs a deeper hole! If it doesn’t work after the first few attempts do not continue.



For more advice, and for a free winter health check for your car call East County Classics on 01842 763841 or email enquiries@eastcountyclassics.com




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