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Here's What to Do If Your Car Gets Stuck in Snow

Get your wheels free without breaking a sweat—or your transmission.

What’s the best way to get my car out of the snow when it’s stuck? Salt? Sawdust? Cat litter? Or do I just rock it back and forth till it’s free? — MARK Z., BUTTE, MT

For starters, no rocking! It’s the easiest way to ruin a transmission, says Kenny “the Car Guy” Walters of Kenny’s Lakes Area Auto Experts in Michigan.

The steps Walters does recommend: First, shovel snow away from the drive wheels, and sprinkle cat litter for traction. Get in gear, ease onto the gas, and go.

No go? Scatter rock salt (if it’s above 15 ̊F  out—below that, salt won’t melt ice) and try again. If that fails, let a little air out of the tires for more grip, then give it another shot. If that doesn’t work, hook a tow strap to another car and let it drag you out. And if all else fails, call AAA, then enjoy the snacks and water you keep in the car while you wait.

What—you don’t keep a small shovel, cat litter, rock salt (in a sealed container, so the huge bag it came in doesn’t spill and corrode the trunk), a tow strap, a AAA card, food, and H2O with you when you drive all winter?

Enjoy the walk!

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