Car buried in snow? Mechanic shares what you should know before digging out, driving off

ByCate Cauguiran via WABC logo
Wednesday, February 17, 2021
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While leaving your car buried under snow won't cause major damage, a Chicago mechanic said there are still a few things you will want to know before you dig out and drive off.

CHICAGO -- While leaving your car buried under snow won't cause major damage, a Chicago mechanic said there are still a few things you will want to know before you dig out and drive off.

For some drivers, digging out their cars has been a repeat performance with back-to-back snowstorms, while others appeared to wait it out. But what will that mean for their cars?

"It's not going to do any damage that's not already there," said Jack Gordon, manager at Ashland Tire and Auto.

Gordon said heaps of snow covering your car won't cause permanent damage, but can still keep you from driving away from your parking spot quicker than you'd like.

"Couple things that probably are going to be a problem is the battery is probably going to be dead when you get it out of there. The brakes are probably going be very rusty," Gordon said.

But what if you can't even get out of your garage? The alleyway behind Caroline Knorr's home in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood was completely impassable.

"A nightmare is a good word for it, for sure," she said. "It's just pure ice and as you can see, there's really nowhere to put the snow."

The city's Streets and Sanitation Department say plowing alleyways is not a safe option. But there is a plan to make sure vehicles can get through.

"We do not plow alleys which makes it difficult, I know that," said John Tully, commissioner of Chicago's Dept. of Streets and Sanitation. "What we will do is start tracking those alleys with our refuse trucks. If you start plowing in alleyways, you end up collapsing garage doors because there's nowhere for that snow to go."

But with the main roads and residential streets still impacted, trash collection and alleyway tracking will have a wait just a little longer.