Burning Smell after being stuck in snow

So my wife and I got stuck in Snowmageddon, the biggest snowstorm in 20 years in Minneapolis, last night. A helpful stranger tried to aid me in pushing the car out of the snow, but my wife at the wheel had no luck gaining traction. She floored the pedal to a point where the car filled with smoke and the smell of burning rubber.

I’ve taken a look at the tires and they don’t appear to be too bad, but the interior of the car still has a noxious smell of burnt rubber. I have 2 questions.

1. Is it likely that we damaged the car in any way that needs repairs?

2. Does anyone have a suggestion for getting the smell out? (Keep in mind it’s 13 below zero tonight.)

If it is just a tire smell it will go away on its own.

Next time do not “floor it”. You must “rock” the car back and forth in the snow to get it out. There is no need to go over, say, 2000-2500 rpms in order to do this. Do not alternate between Drive and Reverse, use the car’s weight and momentum to rock it until it gains traction. Sawdust, kitty litter, etc are your friends. Put them under/near the spinning wheels.

you smoked your tires. People don’t think you can do that because snow is cold, but friction is friction. It’s not a big deal. You didn’t do any damage except for however much tread went up in smoke.

If you want to get the smell out, just drive around for awhile with the vents on fresh-air.

As was said, you probably just toasted your tires.

However, I really think it would be wise if you checked your transmission fluid.
Unfortunately, wifey’s method of gaining traction could have led to damage to the transmission.
If the fluid is any color other than red, or if the fluid has a “burnt” odor, I suggest that you drive it immediately to an independent (non-chain) transmission shop for examination.

And read your manual. It usually tells you not to exceed an indicated speed of something like 30 mph on the speedometer when the wheels are spinning, because if you spin the wheels too fast you may damage something…

You shouldn’t have been parked inside the Metrodome. That building doesn’t do anybody any Favres.

Oh, and if you don’t already, get some real snow tires, or if you do already have them on the car, try not to drive during an event called “Snowmageddon”. That just sounds like a bad idea.

I’ve seen the movies.
It never ends well.


Sometimes you don’t have a choice about when to drive. For me it was either drive or let my mother go without heat, because the 5 foot drift had blocked her furnace intake.

It reinforced my opinion that winter tires are nice to have but not completely necessary, though. I took it nice and slow and didn’t get stuck anywhere, though I had to walk the final 3 blocks to her house because a plow had created a 7 foot high pile of snow blocking her street that I figured my TL wasn’t going to punch through, winter tires or not :wink:

I see what you did there :slight_smile:

The smell will eventually fade. The real worry is whether you overheated your transmission doing this trick. That’s real easy to do in a situation like this. Or alternatively, if your wife was flooring a cold engine, that’s not great for the motor either.

In addition to the recoommendations made to check your tranny fluid (although it’s probably fine), let me suggest that you get some snow gear in the trunk. A snow shovel, a plastic container of sand, a piece of rug (or one of those traction helpers), and perhaps some other gear. I realize that no matter how much equipment you have a storm up there can paralyze you, but for those type of storms the nearest hotel is the answer.

Thanks for all the insight. Believe it or not, we actually had a shovel and some other snow gear in the car that night, and it just didn’t help. The plows in Minneapolis just didn’t clear the alleys enough to make them passable after that storm.

We had the vehicle checked out the other day and it didn’t appear that we did any damage. The smell persists, although it has faded quite a bit. It’s hard to find a time and place to air it out during a Minnesota winter.

I was thinking about spraying down the interior with Febreze. Has anyone tried that, and had any success in killing a burnt rubber smell? Somehow I don’t think the little pine tree deodorizer is going to do the trick this time.

Try Fabreze.

Yup, febreze is good.