When your car breaks down the first question that comes to mind is how to push a car by yourself.
The first thing you’ll have to do is move the car to safety, especially if this happens on the road or in traffic.
Well, this might prove to be a serious task and almost impossible if you don’t have any help.
In this article, we’ll show you that there is a way to get out of this situation and you should be able to do it on your own.
If you’re not up for reading, you have a YouTube video at the end of the article or on our YouTube channel.
HOW TO PUSH A CAR BY YOURSELF?
With this method, you’ll be pushing the car and steering at the same time and on your own.
It’s much better and far less dangerous than pushing from the backside of the car as you can neither steer nor see where the car is going.
The pushing is done on the driver’s side of the car while holding the steering wheel through the driver’s window.
1. OPEN THE DRIVERS WINDOW
Best open the window all the way. This way you’ll have full access to the steering wheel and passenger cabin. Also, the edge of the window won’t get in the way when pushing.
2. TURN THE IGNITION KEY
The main point of this step is to unlock the steering wheel so you can steer the car. You don’t have to turn on the ignition (when the dashboard warning lights come on) so you don’t drain the battery.
Just turn until the steering wheel unlocks. Don’t skip this step as the steering wheel might accidentally lock and you won’t be able to steer the car properly.
When mentioning this, If you have problems with the key not turning in the ignition, click here to read an article dedicated to that specific topic.
3. LOWER THE HANDBRAKE
When thinking of how to push a car by yourself, make sure that the handbrake is down.
If it isn’t, moving the car will, of course, be impossible. You’ll best recognize that the handbrake is up if the car seems bolted to the ground.
4. PUT THE CAR IN NEUTRAL
Otherwise, you won’t be able to move the car.
If you drive a stick shift, put the car in neutral. If you don’t know how to do this, click here to read our article that will clarify that.
For automatic transmissions, put the shifter in „N“.
5. CLOSE THE DRIVER’S DOOR
You don’t have to do this but as you’ll see it’s much more convenient to push a car when the door is closed.
It won’t get in your way, swing around all the time and you’re at much less risk of someone hitting you. This is important when pushing a car in traffic for instance.
6. SET YOUR SHOULDER ON THE “A” PILLAR
Now comes the most important part when learning how to push a car by yourself.
That part is assuming the correct position for pushing. The point is to successfully and safely move and steer the car at the same time and be able to do it alone.
So, set your shoulder (the one towards the driver’s side) onto the “A” pillar and the door frame.
For more comfort, you can put something like a jacket or sweater for instance between the door and your shoulder.
7. PUT YOUR HAND ON THE STEERING WHEEL
If you use left-hand drive use your right hand, for right-hand drive use the left hand. I hope you get the idea.
Put your hand on the upper part of the steering wheel, if everything is ok and with a bit of leaning you’ll be able to steer the car without any problems.
8. GRAB A GOOD FOOTHOLD AND LEAN FORWARD
Assume a position with your feet like your going to run, put one leg in front of the other.
This will enable you to start the push much easier as you’ll have better leverage.
9. START PUSHING THE CAR WHILE STEERING AT THE SAME TIME
Lean against the car and start pushing. If needed, temporarily use the other hand that’s on the steering wheel to get the car going.
If the car you’re pushing is heavier or isn’t on a firm surface (like grass or gravel), sway it a bit backward and forwards until it gains momentum and starts moving forward.
When it does move, start steering to your destination.
10. TO STOP THE CAR, USE THE “B” PILLAR AND PULL BACK
When you want to stop the car, leave the previous position, grab the B pillar and pull back.
This will almost instantaneously stop the car. Also, you’ll have much more stopping force and time to do it opposed to trying to open the door, pulling the handbrake, or else while the car is moving.
SAFETY PRECAUTIONS WHEN PUSHING A CAR BY YOURSELF
Some of the main safety measures you should apply when learning how to push a car by yourself:
- If you have passengers with you make sure they get out of the car and to a safe place. This will get them out of harm’s way and make pushing the car much easier.
- Make yourself visible on the road. For instance, when pushing the car by yourself in heavy traffic or on the highway, you have to be careful that everyone sees you, especially at night.
- Needless to say, avoid pushing the car alone on a steep uphill or downhill road. Even with help, you have to be extremely careful as you can easily lose control over the car.
- Watch your feet and arms at all times. Make sure when pushing, that you can easily release the car if needed.
Again, these are just some of the precautions.
The point is to keep yourself safe at all times and make sure that under no circumstances are you in danger.
If, at any point, you feel that you’re not up to this, leave the car and look for some help.
So, how to push a car by yourself? Open the window, close the door, put your shoulder to the door and push while steering.
Of course, a big factor is the size of your vehicle. Pushing a small hatchback and a big pick-up won’t be the same.
But from personal experience, with more or less strength both options are possible.
But don’t strain yourself. If you see that after a few pushes and sways you can’t move the car, search for help.
Again, this method is not the primary one if you have people around willing to help. They’ll probably approach on their own and give you a push. You’ll then just have to steer the car.
This method is when you’re alone and is the best and maybe only option you have.
Then it’s certainly worth knowing and trying.
Written by: Sibin Spasojevic
Former car technician, life-long car and DIY enthusiast, author for Despairrepair.com
HOW TO PUSH A CAR BY YOURSELF? YOUTUBE VIDEO