Getting Stuck and Unstuck

Getting Stuck and Unstuck

If you find yourself stuck in snow, ice, mud or wet grass, don't spin your tires rapidly, and never spin them if a drive wheel is off the ground. Doing so can actually cause a tire to explode and seriously injure someone, because if one drive wheel is stuck, and the other is free to spin, all the engine's power goes to the free wheel. If you're in snow, turn off the vehicle, apply the brakes and shovel snow away from the tires and vehicle. Try sand and gravel to get more traction. If that doesn't work, gently rock (alternately using forward and reverse gears) with the least amount of wheel spinning. Repeatedly shift the gear lever from drive to reverse on automatic transmissions or reverse to second on manual transmissions, while applying gentle pressure to the accelerator. Vehicles with ABS or traction control systems may have specific instructions in their owner's manual. Keep people away from your tires and the vehicle as you rock.

The idea is to accelerate slowly; never exceed 35 mph on your speedometer.

The centrifugal forces created by a rapidly spinning tire can cause an explosion by literally tearing the tire apart. These forces act on the complete tire structure, and can be of such magnitude as to break the beads in addition to rupturing the tire. Some vehicles are able to bring a tire to its centrifugal force failing point in just 3 to 5 seconds.

Excessive speed in a free-spinning tire can cause the tire to explode from extreme centrifugal force. The energy released by such an explosion is sufficient to cause serious physical injury or death.


Never spin a tire above a speedometer reading of 35 mph (56 km/h). Never stand near a spinning tire.

If you have any questions, please contact your local tire retailer or call Cooper Tire at 1-800-854-6288.

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