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I rent in an urban area, so I don't own a shovel - weather almost never requires! But the East Coast got hit with an unusual storm, and my car is snowed in.

Is there a way to dig out my car without damaging it short of buying a shovel, to be used only once?

Ideas that come to mind: rent a shovel, using some kind of sharing network, ask a neighbor, pour hot water. I have called a few hardware stores (none rent) , can't find any share economy sites for this, and CL didn't have anything listed. Suggestions? Other info: hard snow, heavy, about a foot deep, ambient temp is ~ 40 F. Thanks!

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    Shovel rental?! Seriously? - What is the price to buy one? Do you think sharing/renting could be profitable in any way? Given that most people happen to need the shovel at the same time...
    – JimmyB
    Commented Jan 31, 2016 at 16:31
  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's not about vehicle maintenance or repair Commented Jan 31, 2016 at 19:44
  • @Movemorecommentslinktotop Sure. You should probably close this other similar, highly up voted question by the same logic
    – anon01
    Commented Feb 1, 2016 at 0:29
  • Use a bucket as an improvised shovel.
    – Hobbes
    Commented Dec 14, 2016 at 13:35
  • Poor COLD water, NOT HOT!!. If your windshield is sufficiently cold, hot water will crack it!
    – 3Dave
    Commented Dec 15, 2016 at 16:30

1 Answer 1

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  • Door Mat Scoop - Depending on how compacted the snow is that surrounds your car, you may be able to get away with using a doormat as an improvised snow scoop. This would be a good option (assuming you have one), especially if the snow has not long fallen.

  • Car Towing - If you have access to another car (preferably four/all wheel drive), and you can access the car tow point you could use a tow rope to be able to apply a force to the car stuck in snow. Hopefully, this force will be enough to pull the car free before the wheels on the towing vehicle lose traction.

  • Hand Winch - Along similar lines as the towing situation, but without the need for another car, you can consider using a hand winch. You need a secure anchor point and again the ability to access a secure towing point on the car that is stuck. There is a good post about these here.

However, if I am correct in assuming that none of the above are a viable option for you due to your urban, and hence somewhat unprepared situation - you may also find some of these tips useful. I think that many of the tips I gave about how to get your car out of a snow bank would also apply to your situation because a lot of the points that were made there assumed that you had access to limited tools (though some didn't).

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