Getting Your Car Unstuck from Snow or Mud

Written by Doris Donnerman (last updated May 25, 2010)


Cars drive great on roads, but not so great when the roads become covered with snow or mud. Snow and mud reduce the amount of traction your car's tires have. Reduce the traction far enough and you won't move anywhere.

If your car gets bogged down in snow or mud, it doesn't do any good to accelerate in an effort to move. Traction doesn't depend on the speed of the tires. In fact, traction can be reduced by rapidly spinning wheels, which tend to slide even easier on the snow or mud.

You can try a few things. First, move the tires ever so slowly. The slow movement won't cause the tire to slip and should provide the traction you need to move. If you are driving a car with an automatic transmission, try putting the car into the lowest gear possible and giving just a bit of gas to barely move the wheels. If you are driving a car with a manual transmission, put the car into a higher gear and barely let out the clutch to move the car ever so slowly.

Second, remember that the car isn't moving because it doesn't have any traction. Try to dig out a bit of the snow or mud from in front of the power wheels (the ones that actually turn when you step on the gas). Then, wedge a car mat, blanket, or old coat under the leading edge of the wheel. Inch the car forward until the tires "grip" on the item, and then slowly drive the car out of the snow or mud.

Because traction is such an essential part of driving successfully, many people in cold climates carry in their trunks a few items that are helpful in snow. These items include a small shovel so they can remove the snow or mud from the front of the tires and some rock salt, cat-box litter, or sand that they can put in front of the tires to help provide the needed traction. I personally prefer cat-box litter or sand because they won't corrode metal. If you choose to use cat-box litter, make sure that you get the kind that stays hard even when wet. (Some cat-box litters become pasty or muddy when they get wet and are of little help in snow or mud.)

Author Bio

Doris Donnerman

Doris is a jack of all trades, writing on a variety of topics. Her articles have helped enlighten and entertain thousands over the years. ...


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What is one more than 0?

2017-04-01 03:38:20

Timothy Marshall

So my car is stuck in mud and I don't know what to do!

2016-12-27 00:37:08


hi i try so much but car half wheel still stuck in the mud

2016-12-25 22:45:01

Retro Pro

My 1967 Chevy Chevelle has sunken into the ground due to sitting. The car is in neutral, and there is a few inches between the dirt and the car frame. Do I excavate a path so the car can get out or what?

2016-01-10 06:25:38

Dominique johnson

I have a 1998 chevy blazer stuck in the mud as we speak we tried fresh dirt under the wheels to wooden boards rocks etc and still it's stick what do u suppose we do

2015-12-23 16:03:20

Be the

My Toyota got stuck but I put gravel/ stones under my drive wheels (my car is fwd) and my friend pushed

2015-06-08 18:20:05


The Best way is with this incredible Invention.

2015-05-28 09:56:12


I had my Nissan petrol car on the beach and it got stuck in the sand I tried to move the car but it made the problem worst so I called my friend and he tied a rope on the metal peice at the end of the car and pulled my car away .

2015-05-21 04:38:54


I got my 4 wheel drive pick-up stuck in the mud on my farm, about 50 yards from the woods. Luckily I had both a bow saw and ax with me. I cut pine and maple branches, and made mats under each of the wheels, for a 10 foot length. It was a lot of work, and took nearly two hours, but I got out. It beat leaving the pick-up there and walking home.

2015-03-16 20:53:50

Jarrin B

Thank you so much for the advice guys I was stuck for about an hour b4 I had to go to work thank u thank thank u

2015-02-25 13:18:23

kenneth crusenberry jr

If you lower the tire pressure it will increase the surface area of the tire on the ground, and will also allow the tire to flex the tread keeping the tread from packing full of snow or mud.
Just remember not to let to much air out.

2015-02-24 15:41:56

Esha kell

The cat litter got my car out the mud with no problems

2015-02-24 15:39:34

Esha kell


2015-02-08 14:27:33

jim perry

There is also a great new safety product called Trac-Grabber which quickly and easily enables a single person to get their vehicles unstuck under the vehicles own power.

2015-02-08 14:25:54

jim perry

There is also a great new safer product called Trac-Grabber which quickly and easily snakes a single person to get their vehicles unstuck under the vehicles own power.