I Smell Exhaust Fumes in My Car

Exhaust Smell in Your Car Can Be Due to Different Things

image - dual chrome exhaust tailpipeThe car exhaust system neutralizes the harmful fumes that come out of the engine. It is important to have your car checked out if you start to notice any odd odors or exhaust smell inside the car, as this can mean some major problems in the exhaust system or engine. If you experience any eye irritation, or you notice a smell like rotten eggs, a sweet smell or an odor of gasoline, you should have your car checked as soon as possible. Bring your car to a local AAMCO Minnesota auto shop for a complete inspection and diagnostics.

How a Car’s Exhaust System Works

Exhaust Header or Manifold

The exhaust header, or manifold, makes it easier for the engine to push exhaust gases out of the engine cylinders. In cars with fuel injection, the oxygen sensor is mounted in the exhaust header and is controlled by a computer. If the oxygen sensor is faulty or has failed, the computer can’t calculate the air/fuel ratio, so it “guesses”, which affects the engine’s performance, and this can affect many other systems as a result. If you are experiencing a strong smell of gasoline as you drive, the oxygen sensor is one of the first things to check.

Pipes

image - exhaust manifold

The exhaust travels through connected pipes until if exits through the last one – the tailpipe. These interconnected pipes throughout the system do more than just help the exhaust move; they call the pollutant gases and guide them through the catalytic converter.

Catalytic Converter

The catalytic converter changes the harmful carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons to water vapor and carbon dioxide before they exit through the tailpipe. This reduces impact on the environment because the elements being emitted from the car have been broken down into more basic forms. Some converters also reduce harmful nitrogen oxides. If the odor you are smelling is that of rotten eggs, then the catalytic converter is probably failing. The rotten egg smell is because the converter is not breaking down the sulfur pollutants created by the engine. Catalytic converters can’t be repaired – they must be replaced.

Catback

The “catback” is a system of pipes between the catalytic converter and the tailpipe. These pipes, running along the bottom of the vehicle, experience a lot of wear and tear, including harsh temperatures, damage from obstacles, rough roads, and exposure to weather which can lead to rust.

Muffler & Tailpipe

An internal combustion engine runs by creating controlled explosions, so it makes a lot of noise. You don’t hear most of this noise because the muffler, if it’s doing its job, reduces (muffles) the noise to a low level as the exhaust leaves through the tailpipe. The muffler also sees a lot of wear and tear, along with the tailpipe, as they constantly go through heating and cooling between extreme temperatures.

Exhaust System Leaksimage - Mechanic and customer looking at exhaust system under car on lift

Exhaust leaks can occur in many places along the line of all the interconnected parts that make up the exhaust system. If you smell the exhaust inside the cabin of the car, the leak is possibly somewhere near the air intake vent, under the hood. The leak might be somewhere in the exhaust pipe system that runs the length of the car, or even in the muffler, but the smell won’t be so powerful. Hydrocarbons are processed in the catalytic converter, which is located behind the engine, near the exhaust manifold. So, if you smell any exhaust, it’s probably escaping, or leaking, before it reaches the converter.

Causes of Exhaust System Leaks

We’ve all seen it – a rusted muffler riddled with holes laying in the middle of the road. It fell off someone’s car, and chances are the entire exhaust system (maybe the whole car) looks like that poor, old muffler. That’s why it is important to have the underside of your car visually inspected from time to time.

Internal Corrosion

Internal corrosion is a major cause of exhaust system leaks, and is the main cause of system failure. When moisture condenses in the system, it reacts with the iron in the steel, causing acidic buildup and rust. This can eat right through the metal of the pipes, muffler, and other vital components of the exhaust system, causing leaks, structural weakness, and operational failure.

External Corrosion

External corrosion is caused by weather related road conditions. Depending on where you live, during the winter the roads might be treated with chemical deicers, salt, and sand. All of this, combined with the snow, ice, and harsh temperatures, really beats on the underside of your car – and that’s where the exhaust system is. The constant barrage of different compounds, including plain old water in the form of rain, snow, and ice, gradually eats away at the various parts of the exhaust system.

Driving Conditions and Habits

Where you live and the road conditions around you dictate much of the wear and tear on your car, particularly the exhaust system. Rough, dirt roads obviously will have a higher degree of impact on your car overall than smooth highways and city streets. Additionally, how you drive those roads is a factor. Short trips versus long hauls have different effects on your car’s systems. Whether you speed along those bumpy, dirt roads or are constantly stuck in stop-and-go traffic in the city – it all adds up to things like extreme heating and cooling, debris causing damage, and stress to systems that are not the exhaust system, but that can affect it. As mentioned earlier, if the oxygen sensor goes out, the engine will burn too much fuel, too hot, which can affect the exhaust system and cause undue heat to pass through.

Come to AAMCO Minnesota for All Your Car Repairs & Maintenance

You need an experienced automotive technician who can diagnose the problem and honestly tell you what needs to be done when something is wrong with your car.

If you have questions about your car’s exhaust, engine, transmission, repair or maintenance needs, AAMCO Minnesota can help. Stop by or call a local AAMCO Minnesota repair shop for a Multi Point Vehicle Inspection of your transmission and related systems. We can handle all your scheduled car maintenance and repairs, from brakes and oil changes to factory recommended maintenance and full transmission replacements.

Other Articles About Car Maintenance & Repair

Take the Fear Out of Transmission Repair

What is a Torque Converter?

Signs Your Alternator is Going Bad

 

Find a Location Near You

AAMCO Minnesota Transmission shops are locally owned and operated.

 
AAMCO Minneapolis

5231 West Broadway | Minneapolis, MN, 55429

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Transmission repair and rebuilds are our specialty at AAMCO Minneapolis, MN. From transmissions to brakes, radiators, air conditioning repair, tune ups, check engine light diagnosis and car maintenance, people who know call AAMCO. Our expert technicians use the latest tools and technology to diagnose and repair your vehicle. From automatic and manual transmission repairs, clutch service and replacement, and more, we know all vehicle makes and models. We back our work with the best nationwide warranty. AAMCO of Minneapolis, MN is your one-stop transmission rebuild and total car care center.

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AAMCO West St. Paul

1571 S Robert St | St Paul, MN, 55118

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AAMCO Transmissions West St. Paul is your Twin Cities one-stop shop for transmission repairs, rebuilds, and car maintenance. Our certified technicians can handle any transmission repair or rebuild, as well as auto repair and maintenance service for your vehicle. You can rely on our mechanics for automatic and manual transmission problems and rebuilds, clutch service and replacement, and more. We use modern computer diagnostics to identify transmission and engine issues so we can repair your car quickly and get you back on the road. We work on all makes and models, including 4x4s.

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AAMCO Fridley

940 Osborne Rd NE | Minneapolis, MN, 55432

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At AAMCO Fridley we believe in performing honest and affordable transmission and auto repair services. We do the job right and get you back on the road safely and reliably. From transmission repair and rebuild to brake service, air conditioning repair, tune ups, check engine light and car maintenance, AAMCO Fridley, MN is your one-stop auto mechanic. Trust AAMCO’s expert auto technicians to use the latest tools and technology to diagnose and repair your vehicle, and back it with the best nationwide warranty. At AAMCO of Fridley, Minnesota we know all vehicle makes and models and have the latest in diagnostic tools and technology. We are your total car care specialists.

Convenient payment plans available.

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AAMCO Hopkins

10921 Excelsior Blvd #117 | 10921 Excelsior Blvd #117, MN, 55343

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At AAMCO Hopkins, MN we believe in the value of good, honest work and giving you and your family the peace of mind a safe, reliable car provides on a daily basis. From transmission repair and rebuild to brake service, air conditioning repair, auto tune ups, check engine light and car maintenance, AAMCO of Hopkins is your one-stop shop for car repairs and maintenance. Trust the transmission experts at AAMCO of Hopkins transmission repair to diagnose and repair your vehicle right the first time and back it with the best nationwide warranty. At AAMCO Hopkins transmission and car repair we know all vehicle makes and models and have the latest in diagnostic tools and technology. We are your total car care and repair specialists.

Convenient payment plans available.

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AAMCO Maplewood

1905 County Rd D E | Maplewood, MN, 55109

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People come to AAMCO of Maplewood, MN because we care about making sure you car is running safely and reliably. You can count on us for all your automotive repairs and maintenance. From transmission repairs and rebuilds to brakes, radiators, air conditioning, check engine light and tune ups. AAMCO Maplewood transmission and auto repair technicians use the latest technology to diagnose and repair your vehicle right the first time - and we back it with the best nationwide warranty. At your local Minnesota AAMCO of Maplewood we know all vehicle makes and models - we're your one-stop total car care specialists.

Convenient payment plans available.

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Reasons Why Your Ride is Bumpy and Rough

Why does your car feel like you’re driving on a bumpy road?image - stone paved bumpy road

Sometimes your car does not ride as smoothly as you like. If the ride gets really bumpy or rough, and you’re not on a dirt road, there are some things that could be mechanically wrong. There are a number of things that can cause a rough, bumpy ride while you’re accelerating, cruising, or coming to a stop.

Think of How You Drive

Did you run over or bump into something?

One of the first things you can do is think of anything that might have happened recently that could cause damage to your car. Did you bump into a curb or bottom out? Smashing into a curb can damage your tires or rims, and throw off your alignment. If you bottom out, your suspension can be damaged, as well as the underside of your car. If you drive in harsh conditions on a regular basis, your car will be more prone to damage and need more regular maintenance. See this infographic on severe driving habits to help you assess if you are a severe maintenance driver.

Some Things to Check if Your Ride is Bumpy and Roughimage - Stack of three tires, fourth tire leaning against stack

Tires

Tires are usually the first thing to check if your car’s ride feels strange. Rough, bumpy rides can be due to bad tire alignment, incorrect air pressure – too low, too high, different pressures in each tire – or even the tires not being mounted properly. Worst case scenario could be the rims themselves have become damaged or warped.

Take care when changing a tire.

Many times a person will change a tire and not set the tire firmly enough against the back disk. Once the lug nuts have been tightened, they may think it’s secure, only to discover that the car wobbles, vibrates, or shakes when driving, especially at high speed. Even if there is only slight vibration, it will cause excess wear and tear on the tires, brakes, and other components.

Know the signs of a bad alignment.

Sometimes an alignment problem can be difficult to detect. Usually, you can feel the car pull to one side as you accelerate, and it will drift while cruising or coasting. If the steering wheel turns to one side and feels like its fighting you, the alignment should be checked. One sure sign of bad alignment is uneven tire wear on the front tires. Excessive wear or baldness on the inside or outside of either tire is an indication that the alignment is off.

Rotate the tires to prevent uneven wear.

Regular tire rotation – about every 3,000 miles or once a season – helps to keep the treads even and makes it easier to spot or sense trouble.

Maintain the correct air pressure in the tires.

Uneven air pressure in your tires can cause all kinds of problems – especially a rough ride – and can be dangerous if left unchecked. If the pressure is too high, they might warp or become misshapen. High air pressure causes tires to wear out faster. If the pressure is excessively high or exceeds the manufacturer’s recommendations, the tire might blow out, particularly at high speed. An over-inflated tire will also cause you to feel every bump and crack in the road. If the tire pressure is too low, your car will tend to feel like it’s dragging a little, and have more of a an absorbent or muddy feel as you go over bumps.

Check your tires regularly and schedule an appointment with your local AAMCO Minnesota shop to see if the pressure in your tires is correct for the season and conditions.

Suspensionimage - 3D render of a car suspension

The suspension doesn’t just provide a smooth, comfortable ride – it helps the control and handling qualities of your vehicle. Without shocks and struts, a vehicle would bounce down the road, making driving extremely difficult, not to mention dangerous. Your suspension can affect all the other things mentioned in this article.

Shocks and struts are considered critical to the safe operation of your vehicle – they are designed to help keep your tires on the road and you in control of your vehicle. If your suspension fails, you will know it.

Know the signs of a damaged suspension.

Your car might lean to one side, almost feeling like it’s going to drag on the ground. When going over bumps, it will bounce up and down like it is on very loose springs, before finally settling. You will feel sharp jolts through the steering wheel as you drive over potholes, bumps, curbs, and other road hazards.

As with all parts and systems on your car, the suspension system and its individual parts wear out over time and must be replaced. Shocks and struts not only affect the ride and performance of your car, but can contribute to other problems, such as alignment, tire wear, steering, and braking. If your car rocks, sways, or bounces up and down a lot during normal driving, cornering, and braking it is probably time to schedule an appointment at your local AAMCO Minnesota dealership and have your suspension system checked by a certified mechanic.

TransmissionAutomotive transmission gearbox in detail.

Let AAMCO take the fear out of transmission repair.

It’s your transmission…” Those three words can mean repairs from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand. It usually depends on how quickly you are able to tell your transmission needs servicing and when you actually take it in for service.

Know what transmission problems to look for.

Many people simply don’t know they have a transmission problem, even as it occurs. They might notice an occasional thump or hard shift, maybe a passing vibration. But once the transmission really starts to fail, the signs are unmistakable. Leaking fluid, hard shifts, loss of power, lots of vibrating, whining, grinding, and other noises will become regular operating features of the car.

If you know your tires and suspension are OK, then have your transmission checked.

Have the transmission inspected if you experience any problems shifting, or odd behavior like a rough, bumpy ride when you know your tires and suspension are in good condition. A brand new transmission can cost as much as a used car, so it’s better to maintain the transmission on a regular schedule. Have the fluid and filter checked, flushed if necessary or if called for by the factory schedule.

Is it the torque converter?

If your car shakes and shudders, it could mean the lockup clutch is malfunctioning. This might occur at speeds around 35-45 miles per hour. It’s a noticeable problem and feels like you’re driving on a road with lots of small bumps. A worn out lockup clutch can make the transition from acceleration to direct drive difficult, and it’s a sign that you need to have your transmission checked.

Come to AAMCO Minnesota for All Your Car Repairs & Maintenance

You need an experienced transmission specialist who can honestly tell you what needs to be done.

If you have questions about your car’s transmission, engine, repair or maintenance needs, AAMCO Minnesota can help. Stop by or call a local AAMCO Minnesota repair shop for a Multi Point Vehicle Courtesy Check for your transmission and related systems. We’ll winterize your car and get you ready for the cold, snowy winter driving months ahead. We can handle all your scheduled car maintenance and repairs, from brakes to factory recommended maintenance.

Other Articles About Car Maintenance & Repair

Take the Fear Out of Transmission Repair

Checklist for Preparing Your Car for Winter

Daydreaming on Your Cell Phone While Rubbernecking

 

Locally Owned & Operated AAMCO Minnesota Transmission Shops

 
AAMCO Minneapolis

5231 West Broadway | Minneapolis, MN, 55429

Details Directions

Call Now Set Appointment

Transmission repair and rebuilds are our specialty at AAMCO Minneapolis, MN. From transmissions to brakes, radiators, air conditioning repair, tune ups, check engine light diagnosis and car maintenance, people who know call AAMCO. Our expert technicians use the latest tools and technology to diagnose and repair your vehicle. From automatic and manual transmission repairs, clutch service and replacement, and more, we know all vehicle makes and models. We back our work with the best nationwide warranty. AAMCO of Minneapolis, MN is your one-stop transmission rebuild and total car care center.

Write a Review

AAMCO West St. Paul

1571 S Robert St | St Paul, MN, 55118

Details Directions

Call Now Set Appointment

AAMCO Transmissions West St. Paul is your Twin Cities one-stop shop for transmission repairs, rebuilds, and car maintenance. Our certified technicians can handle any transmission repair or rebuild, as well as auto repair and maintenance service for your vehicle. You can rely on our mechanics for automatic and manual transmission problems and rebuilds, clutch service and replacement, and more. We use modern computer diagnostics to identify transmission and engine issues so we can repair your car quickly and get you back on the road. We work on all makes and models, including 4x4s.

Write a Review

AAMCO Fridley

940 Osborne Rd NE | Minneapolis, MN, 55432

Details Directions

Call Now Set Appointment

At AAMCO Fridley we believe in performing honest and affordable transmission and auto repair services. We do the job right and get you back on the road safely and reliably. From transmission repair and rebuild to brake service, air conditioning repair, tune ups, check engine light and car maintenance, AAMCO Fridley, MN is your one-stop auto mechanic. Trust AAMCO’s expert auto technicians to use the latest tools and technology to diagnose and repair your vehicle, and back it with the best nationwide warranty. At AAMCO of Fridley, Minnesota we know all vehicle makes and models and have the latest in diagnostic tools and technology. We are your total car care specialists.

Convenient payment plans available.

Write a Review

AAMCO Hopkins

10921 Excelsior Blvd #117 | 10921 Excelsior Blvd #117, MN, 55343

Details Directions

Call Now Set Appointment

At AAMCO Hopkins, MN we believe in the value of good, honest work and giving you and your family the peace of mind a safe, reliable car provides on a daily basis. From transmission repair and rebuild to brake service, air conditioning repair, auto tune ups, check engine light and car maintenance, AAMCO of Hopkins is your one-stop shop for car repairs and maintenance. Trust the transmission experts at AAMCO of Hopkins transmission repair to diagnose and repair your vehicle right the first time and back it with the best nationwide warranty. At AAMCO Hopkins transmission and car repair we know all vehicle makes and models and have the latest in diagnostic tools and technology. We are your total car care and repair specialists.

Convenient payment plans available.

Write a Review

AAMCO Maplewood

1905 County Rd D E | Maplewood, MN, 55109

Details Directions

Call Now Set Appointment

People come to AAMCO of Maplewood, MN because we care about making sure you car is running safely and reliably. You can count on us for all your automotive repairs and maintenance. From transmission repairs and rebuilds to brakes, radiators, air conditioning, check engine light and tune ups. AAMCO Maplewood transmission and auto repair technicians use the latest technology to diagnose and repair your vehicle right the first time - and we back it with the best nationwide warranty. At your local Minnesota AAMCO of Maplewood we know all vehicle makes and models - we're your one-stop total car care specialists.

Convenient payment plans available.

Write a Review

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What Happens if You Skip Oil Change

 

What Happens When You Skip Oil Changes?

The much-repeated saying is that you should get your oil changed every 3,000 miles or three months. On modern cars that use synthetic oil, the limit is much higher. Skipping those oil changes, no matter how frequently (or infrequently) your owner’s manual says they are needed, is a recipe for trouble. Going a long time between oil changes (thousands of miles past the due date) is like playing with fire.

Engine Oil Checkup

Here’s why oil is the lifeblood of your car…

image - mechanic laying under car draining oil into a pan.In order to help them diagnose what is ailing you, a doctor will have you go to the lab to have blood drawn and analyzed. The lab will run it through a bevy of tests to determine how you compare to a baseline on certain things, and what might seem out of the ordinary. Basically, the condition of your blood gives the doctor clues to your overall health, as well as to more specific things.

Engine oil can be analyzed and used in the same way to help diagnose problems, or explain trouble symptoms, with your car. For instance, high concentrations of iron indicate that steel engine parts, such as the camshaft and cylinder liners, are not properly lubricated and wearing out. Metal content collects in the oil, and the oil filter eventually becomes overwhelmed and incapable of filtering the metal out of the oil. Traces of other metals in the oil can indicate the need for an oil change – and possibly other repairs. Chrome indicates ring or gasket wear. Aluminum is from pistons and bearings. Silicon might be dirt, and means the air filtration system should be checked.

Of course, you should not wait so long that such an analysis of the oil is what it takes for you to realize your car is in desperate need of an oil change. With the evolution of engines, the general rule today is every 3,000 to 10,000 miles.

Oil Lubricates and Cleans the Engine

What does engine oil do and where does it go?

Oil is a lubricant and prevents metal engine parts from coming into contact with each other. If parts do come into unintended contact, the engine can overheat and eventually the metal parts wear out, break, or even melt. Oil contains detergents that lift out contaminants and carry them to your oil filter, where the dirt is filtered out of the oil.

What Happens When You Skip Oil Changes Pouring oil into the engine is one thing, but do you know where it goes or what parts actually get lubricated? Check out this image that shows the parts and areas of the engine that the oil runs through, lubricates, and protects.

Oil eventually wears out and needs to be changed.

Oil is subject to consistently high temperatures and breaks down over time. Sludge can form throughout the engine, making it difficult for oil to flow between moving metal parts. Viscosity modifiers also break down over time, which makes the oil thinner and less effective at lubricating moving parts at high temperatures. Also, metal, dirt, and other particulates build up in the oil, much of which is too small to be captured by the filter. Over time, detergents and additives meant to combat the contaminants and dirt will break down become less able to protect the engine. The oil becomes abrasive and speeds up wear on vital parts and systems, and shortens the life of the engine.

Get an Oil Change

You can prevent all of this by – you guessed it – flushing out the crud with an oil change. If you don’t change your oil and oil filter, eventually the filter will stop working and dirt will accumulate in the engine, contaminate the oil, and compromise its ability to lubricate and clean. Over time, even the best oil will lose its lubricating and cleansing qualities. Because of all the dirt and abrasive crud in the oil, metal engine parts will experience severe wear, risking failure and potential damage to the engine. Eventually, the whole engine will seize up and stop working, maybe even catch fire.

Conventional Oil or Synthetic?image - engine oil pouring out of bottle

The next big question is what kind of oil should you use? AAMCO Minnesota can help you make the right choice. Check out this great infographic to help you understand the different kinds of oil and which to use in your engine.

Come to AAMCO Minnesota for All Your Car Maintenance & Repairs

Now that you know the importance of regular oil changes, it’s probably a good idea to come by your locally owned and operated AAMCO Minnesota Transmission and Car Repair Center for an oil and filter change or a multi-point inspection. Whatever you drive, you can count on AAMCO Minnesota Transmission and Total Car Care to service and repair your automobile.

If you have questions about your car’s engine, oil changes, or about car repair and maintenance, AAMCO Minnesota can help. Stop by or call a local AAMCO Minnesota repair shop for a Multi Point Vehicle Courtesy Check for your transmission and related systems. We’ll winterize your car and get you ready for the cold, snowy winter driving months ahead. We can handle all your scheduled car maintenance and repairs, from brakes to factory recommended maintenance.

Other Articles About Car Maintenance & Repair

Checklist for Preparing Your Car for Winter

Take the Fear Out of Transmission Repair

Daydreaming on Your Cell Phone While Rubbernecking

Watch this video and learn why there is only one place to go – AAMCO. We’re the transmission experts with over 50 years of experience rebuilding and replacing transmissions, and all their 800 pieces. We’ve fixed over 40 million transmissions – way more than our competitors. And we offer a lifetime warranty. Because we have the skill to fix an 800-piece transmission, we can easily fix the rest of your car – brakes, shocks, mufflers, even your engine. Lots of things can make your engine light come on. Today it can be hard to tell what’s wrong with your car, especially if it’s your transmission. Our technicians are trained to keep up with the complex engineering of today’s cars. So, next time something goes wrong with your transmission or any other part of your car, bring it to your local AAMCO.

Car Stuck in the Snow? Tips on Getting Unstuck

Getting Stuck in the Snow

Winter brings with it all sorts of fun and headaches. Driving on slick, snowy roads is not fun. Getting stuck in the snow is even worse – whether you skidded off the road into a snowbank or ditch, or if your car got snowed in while parked. It’s frustrating and it can be difficult to figure out the best way get unstuck, especially without causing any damage to your car.

Some Easy Tips for Getting Your Car Unstuck

Clear the Tailpipe

First, make sure the tailpipe is not covered by snow. Clear any snow away that might interfere with the exhaust from getting out. You don’t want exhaust building up inside the car, plus it could cause the engine to stall if the fumes can’t escape.

Clear Away Snowimage - car buried in snow

If you keep that shovel in your trunk like we’ve advised you to in other articles about preparing your car for winter, you’ll be able to easily dig away all the snow and ice buildup from in front of and behind all four tires. Also be sure to clear snow out from under the car as much as possible. If you can, clear some extra space in front of the car to make a path to drive into. Once your car becomes unstuck and starts moving forward, having a good clearing for your car to move into will help you keep forward momentum and avoid getting stuck again.

Create Traction With Sand, Kitty Litter, or Car Mats

Again, if you’re really prepared you probably have some sand or kitty litter in the trunk for just such a situation as being stuck. Put some under the drive wheels first. If you don’t have sand or kitty litter, you can use car mats – anything rough (or just not as slick as snow and ice) will help the tires get some traction and start moving your car. Car mats also serve to flatten out the snow more evenly, and prevent it from hugging directly around the tires, as the car slowly moves over them. This helps the tires to not sink so easily into the snow. Make sure that the drive wheels are getting as much equal traction as possible. Be careful to apply the gas slowly, gently. Otherwise whatever you put under the drive wheels – sand, gravel, car mats, tree branches – will just shoot out from under them.

Braking and Rocking

If one wheel is spinning more than the other because it has less to traction, try pushing the brakes lightly. This increases the minimum torque that is needed to turn each wheel and transfers some of the power to the other non-spinning wheel so that both are working to pull (or push) the car out of the snow. Be careful not to do this for too long, as the brakes can overheat and end up damaged.

You can also try rocking your car. This method is up for debate, because it can damage your transmission if done improperly or too much. Shifting momentum so quickly is just not good for the transmission and all of its intricate parts and subsystems. Rocking the car should only be done in the most desperate situations. Steadily alternate between first gear, or drive, and reverse as you gently apply gas in each direction. Don’t spin the wheels and make sure you only apply the gas once you are in gear. To help stop from rolling back into the holes your tires dug, apply the brakes between first and reverse as you shift. Ideally, you will build up enough momentum to power out of the ruts and move forward onto better ground where you can get traction again and keep moving. Again, use the rocking method only as a last resort.

Let Some Air Out of the Tiresimage - frozen car stuck in snow.

This should be done with extreme care. By letting some air out of the drive tires, they gain a little more surface area, and are a little softer and more sticky than a hard, inflated tire, which means they have a better chance of gaining traction. But do not let out so much air that they look flat, because that means they probably are, and then you’ve got another problem to deal with. Air shrinks when it’s cold, so be careful with this tactic. The rule is that your tires should already be inflated per manufacturer’s recommendations for the operating conditions.

Turn the Wheels

If you have a front-wheel drive car, turn the wheels in either direction as you gently push the gas. This might expose the tires to that much needed unseen patch of pavement or dirt, or provide just the right angle to gain that little bit of traction needed to get out. Remember that key to all of these methods is to accelerate slowly. Do not spin the wheels, or you’ll just dig yourself deeper.

A Good Old Fashioned Push

If you are not alone, or if you can get someone nearby to help, have them give your car a push as you gently apply the gas. Pushing the car forward with each shift into first as you are rocking the car can also help a lot. It provides an extra surge of momentum forward, if you do have to use the rocking method to get unstuck. Always make sure the person pushing is on stable footing and clear of the drive tires. Debris and ice might fly out from under the tires, which can be dangerous to anyone standing behind the tires or in the path of anything shooting out from under them.

AAMCO Minnesota for a Quick Car Checkup

Now that you’ve gotten unstuck, it’s probably a good idea to come by your locally owned and operated AAMCO Minnesota Transmission and Car Repair Center for a transmission check or multi-point inspection. Whatever you drive, and however you get unstuck, you can count on AAMCO to service and repair your car.

If you have questions about your car’s condition after being stuck or about car repair and maintenance, AAMCO Minnesota can help. Stop by or call a local AAMCO Minnesota repair shop for a Multi Point Vehicle Courtesy Check for your transmission and related systems. We’ll winterize your car and get you ready for the cold, snowy winter driving months ahead. We can handle all your scheduled car maintenance and repairs, from brakes to factory recommended maintenance.

Other Articles About Car Maintenance & Repair

Checklist for Preparing Your Car for Winter

Take the Fear Out of Transmission Repair

Daydreaming on Your Cell Phone While Rubbernecking