What you should know when you get stuck in the snow!

What to know when you get stuck in the snow...

No one wants to think about their car getting stuck during a winter storm, but it happens. A little preparation and know-how can go a long way towards keeping you safe in snowy conditions.

Before the snow:

Don’t just wish you prepped your car better for weather conditions—get yourself prepared before getting in an emergency.

Check the basic components like your battery, serpentine belt and pulleys, make sure you have working lights and wipers, and check your tires’ tread depth and pressure. These are all services that are performed at Paul Campanella’s Auto and Tire Centers, including purchasing Winter Tires if you live in a particularly snowy location.

How to get unstuck from the snow:

  • Before you get going, turn off traction control—both sets of drive wheels need to have traction for you to get unstuck


  • Clear a path around the tires—remove any snow around the tires that is higher than the ground clearance of the car. If you do not have a shovel, try using an ice scraper or another tool to at least break up any ice that has formed. NOTE: Remember to dig out the tailpipe before you start the engine to reduce the carbon monoxide buildup inside the vehicle.


  • The "Forward and Backward Technique"--Start your vehicle with it in the lowest gear. Move forward just a bit, now slowly backup. Stop then put it in forward and apply a little gas. Continue, listening carefully, if you hear spinning, immediately take your food off the gas. NOTE: DO NOT rev the engine!


  • The "Braking Technique"—If your vehicle didn’t move at all or you are experiencing tire spinning, try braking slightly as you are giving the vehicle a little gas. You can also try turning the wheels the other way to provide more traction. NOTE: Do not try this method longer than a few seconds as it can overheat your brakes.


  • The "Rocking Technique"—If your vehicle is moving forward some but then stopping, try rocking back and forth between forward and reverse gears. Give the car a little gas just as the vehicle starts to swing forward out of reverse. This may provide enough momentum for you to drive out. NOTE: Only try this a few times as it can overload your transmission and end up with expensive damage.


  • Let a bit of air out of your tires—As a last resort, letting just enough air out of your tires will put more rubber in contact with the ground, offering you better traction for a short distance. NOTE: Only do this if you are near a station where you can reinflate your tires.

Finally, when all else fails, and you are completely stuck, Paul Campanella's Auto and Tire Centers are available to save the day and tow you to our closest facility!


Paul Campanella’s Auto & Tire Center is committed to ensuring effective communication and digital accessibility to all users. We are continually improving the user experience for everyone, and apply the relevant accessibility standards to achieve these goals. We welcome your feedback. Please call Wilmington Location (302) 777-7170, Pike Creek Location (302) 998-2234, Hockessin Location (302) 239-2512, Kennett Square Location (610) 990-4400, Swarthmore Location (610) 328-7884 if you have any issues in accessing any area of our website.