Madison drivers: If you get stuck in the snow, call for help. Simply spinning your wheels could damage your transmission.

If you’ve been through many Madison winters, you’ve passed the poor souls who couldn’t cope with the slick conditions and ended up stranded in a snow bank by the side of the road. Sometimes, you see their car wheels spinning as they try to get unstuck. Sometimes, it actually works. Their wheels get some traction and, hesto presto, they’re on their way again. Sometimes, they simply sit and spin.

Whether those drivers manage to get out of the snow bank by themselves or end up calling for help after spinning their wheels helplessly makes no difference to their cars and trucks. That’s because simply spinning the wheels like that can cause massive transmission damage.

“The incredible wear on your vehicle when you have gotten stuck in snow or on ice can lead to some very expensive repairs,” according to Angie’s List. “If one tire is spinning while the other is trying to gain traction, it may be ruining your differential.”

Angie’s List describes the differential as “the pumpkin-looking large bulge” located on the axle between the wheels. If one wheel spins while the other stays still, the lubrication system doesn’t work properly. Both the differential and the transmission can be damaged.

Okay, so no spinning. Should you rock your car back and forth instead?


“This is also damaging to the internal parts of the transmission and drive train,” according to Angie’s List. “As the driver may slam the car into drive or reverse, depending on the rocking motion, the wheels may still be in motion and the quick jarring effect can cause the transmission to overheat, leading again to catastrophic failure.”

Well, then, what do you do if you get stuck?

Call for help.

“No matter what the tow bill would be, having your vehicle safely removed from an impassable condition is less expensive than a major transmission overhaul or replacement,” Angie’s List says.

Should you get stuck and damage your differential or transmission trying to get out of that snow bank, then get your vehicle to Terry’s Car Care where our ASE-certified auto mechanics can get you back on the road again. Terry’s Car Care has been Madison’s trusted auto repair and new tire sales shop for more than 46 years. While you’re here, ask about our money-saving December special – a mail-in rebate for up to $160 on Goodyear tires. If you haven’t gotten them already, a set of snow tires will help keep you out of that snow bank. So will careful driving.

Whether you go to the Caroling Sing-a-Long Cave Tours at Cave of the Mounds, stick around the neighborhood, or drive to Florida to get some sun, drive carefully. And, be sure your cell phone is charged so you can call for help rather than spinning your wheels.

Madison Transmission | Madison Auto Repair | Auto Mechanic Madison

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