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How to Get a Snowmobile Unstuck

A red and black snowmobile in a snowy, mountainous landscape

Do you know how to get a snowmobile unstuck if you run into trouble this winter? Even on a trail you’re familiar with, there’s always a chance of running into unexpected deep snow and getting stuck. Here’s how to get a snowmobile unstuck without causing damage to your snowmobile or hurting yourself in the process.


Give It a Good Wiggle

Start by standing with your feet firmly planted on the running boards. Lightly feather the throttle and try rocking from side to side to see if you can break free from the snow. When you feel the snowmobile coming free, give it more aggressive throttle until it breaks loose.

Use the Ski Loops

Sometimes all it takes to free a snowmobile from deep snow is a good tug on the ski loops. It’s best not to do this on your own because a snowmobile is heavy. Don’t risk straining a muscle or throwing out your back by trying to yank your snowmobile free alone. Snowmobile safety should always be a priority when you’re out on the trails.

Instead, while one or more fellow riders use the ski loops to tug and wiggle your sled free, apply the throttle and steering. The key here is that no one is trying to single-handedly pull the vehicle free. The combined effort is often all it takes to emerge from deep, powdery snow.

Snow mobileCreate a More Stable Surface

If you’re stuck in snow that’s too light and fluffy to support your snowmobile, you’ll need to create a more stable surface to get your snowmobile unstuck. Start by clearing away the lighter top layer of snow, and then build the track back up in front of your snowmobile. Pack down the snow using your hands, your feet or a shovel. If there are fellow riders who can help, have them lift up the rear of the snowmobile and pack some snow beneath to create a sturdier surface. Now you can try wiggling free or using the ski loops to get unstuck.

If You’re on a Hill

Snowmobiles are heavy and require extra caution when you’re on a hill. Only stand on the uphill side of the vehicle to avoid it rolling on top of you. Start by carefully using the ski loops to turn the vehicle to face downhill, letting gravity work in your favor as you wiggle it free.

Check Your Machine for Damage

Once you’re back home, look over your snowmobile to make sure everything is okay, especially if you were going fast and hit the snow hard. Some things can be fixed on the spot, but if you need a new belt or have damage to your snowmobile, take the time to get those issues fixed before you ride again.

Snowmobiling is a fun winter activity, but sooner or later you will get stuck. Don’t panic when it happens to you. Take your time and follow these tips, so you can be back to having fun in no time.

Check out all the belts available on NAPA online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on snowmobiles, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay.


Nicole Wakelin View All

Nicole Wakelin covers the automotive industry as a freelance journalist for a variety of outlets. Her work includes news pieces, podcasts, radio, written reviews, and video reviews. She can be found in The Boston Globe, CarGurus, BestRide, US News and World Report, and AAA along with lifestyle blogs like Be Car Chic, The Other PTA, and She Buys Cars. She is active on social media with a large following on both Twitter and Instagram and currently serves as Vice President of the New England Motor Press Association.

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