SnowRunner guide – 9 beginners tips to get you started

To put the record straight, playing SnowRunner is far from being a cakewalk. Those who’ve previously dabbled in either Spintires or MudRunner will be all too aware that these all-terrain simulators are just as tough as they are time consuming.

Our first bit of advice is just to accept that. SnowRunner is a game of trial and error so you’re bound to make frustrating errors as you begin to traverse that tricky learning curve. Hopefully the following beginners tips can help avoid some of those potential pitfalls in your long haul adventures.

Losing precious minute due to annoying mistakes and miscalculations is what really tested our patience with Snowrunner so we’re here to lend a hand.


Always scout ahead first

Most of your time with SnowRunner will be spent transporting material over harsh terrain and long distances though it pays to send a scout ahead first.

Upon entering a new region you should deploy a scout class vehicle with the appropriate tyres – your starter Chevy can be upgraded to deal with most things well. Ideally you want to uncover the entire map, and making a beeline for those watchtowers is a quick way of surveying the area. Don’t just rely on these, however. Make sure you’re scouting the exact routes you intend to use later with larger vehicles.

Clear roads and build bridges

Most main roads in Snowrunner will have some kind of obstacle to inconveniently separate two checkpoints. These include broken bridges and roads made inaccessible by rockfalls or other debris. It’s essential that you clear these first – not only do they open the way for larger trucks (and therefore larger capacity loads), they’re also a much safer, quicker way of getting from A to B, potentially saving you hours in the long run.

Sell off spare vehicles

Another reason why scouting is so important. Each map usually has a handful of abandoned vehicles ready to be claimed. While some of these will need repairing using service tools, others can be added to your garage straight away.

When starting out in SnowRunner money can be very tight so we’d recommend selling off any vehicles you aren’t actively using. You can always buy them back at the same price so you’ve got nothing to lose.

Go hunting for trailers

Another valuable resource scattered throughout the game world are SnowRunner’s hidden trailers. You may not appreciate these at first though they quickly become a valuable time saver when completing jobs.

Trailers are often loaded with materials. They’re often placed in such a way that makes them more convenient to recover and take to a nearby checkpoint rather than hauling the same cargo from a depot or warehouse further away. Just make sure you have the correct type of vehicle/upgrade before going to retrieve them. Doing so can also save you money without needing to buy trailers from the shop, or, if you don’t need them, they can earn you some much needed cash early on.

Buy and upgrade as you level up

Increasing your Driver Rank is your overriding aim while playing SnowRunner. It can be frustrating only having access to a small selection of vehicles in those first several hours of gameplay though your options will start to expand.

Every time you reach a new rank make sure you visit the garage to check out any new vehicles or upgrades available. These include a wider range of tyres, add-ons frames, and general improvements to truck handling and performance.

Stick to daylight hours

You’ll quickly learn to pay careful attention to the road ahead and not just the direction in which it leads. Puddles can turn into perilous trenches and even small chunks of debris have the potential to run you and your cargo off the road if you’re being reckless.

Being able to highlight these hazards is much tougher during the nighttime when your visibility is impaired. Thankfully you don’t have to wait for the hours to pass by – simply open the map to immediately skip from dusk to morning every time the sun sets. Unless you enjoy the challenge and atmosphere of a moonlit drive.

Learn to winch

SnowRunner’s winch should be your go-to tool whenever you find yourself in a tough spot. When approaching harsh terrain make sure you angle your vehicle and/or trailer so that there’s always a tree or post you can attach your winch to if need be.

Using the quick winch button will soon become a technique you rely on to quickly navigate rough surfaces, especially when in lighter vehicles. It’s not always accurate though the quick winch can be used to speedily tug you from one attach point to the next, almost like your Spider-Man on wheels.

How to get unstuck

Face it, in a video game where terrain physics are the main focus, you’re gonna end up getting stuck at some point. There’s nothing worse than being a stone’s throw away from your objective only to sink into the ground, completely unable to move. Over the course of the game, this could cost you hours of real time.

Unless driving on roads you should always have your AWD engaged as this will help traverse rough terrain. You can also help yourself by outfitting vehicles with engagable differentials and special off road tyres, or at least ones which have better stats for driving in mud.
If you do get stuck then ramming the accelerator will never help. Instead, manually switch down a lower gear and gently press on the gas. Sometimes feathering the accelerator can also help so be sure to experiment while not being too aggressive at the same time. Whether you’re in an AWD equipped vehicle or not, moving your steering left and right can sometimes help carve out a route too.

Take your game online

SnowRunner allows for up to four players to jump into the same session, either via private room or public matchmaking. If the benefits of this aren’t immediately clear then let us explain.

This is by far the easiest and most fun way to complete missions. Instead of running one truck to and from a checkpoint you can have your friends accompany you on routes, making short work of assignments. If they aren’t carrying cargo for you then they can scout the road ahead and even pull you along with their winch to speed up the journey.

Thankfully this co-op mode is persistent so any progress you make as a host or joining player will carry over including any money and Driver Rank XP earned. Just be aware that the way SnowRunner’s multiplayer works you can end up leaving your truck in the co-op instance of your map. Make sure to return it to the Garage and Retain it before logging out, otherwise you’ll have to go off searching for it when you want to play solo.

More Snowrunner Guides from TheSixthAxis

For more on SnowRunner, make sure you give our review a read.

Written by
Senior Editor bursting with lukewarm takes and useless gaming trivia. May as well surgically attach my DualSense at this point.