My Plumbing Snake Is Stuck – Why? What To Do?

Most homeowners deal with plumbing issues, and a common one is a stuck plumbing snake.

This tool, also known as a drain auger, is used to remove clogs from pipes, but it can get stuck.

But don't worry, understanding the issue and learning how to handle it can help you fix the problem quickly.

This article aims to provide helpful information about dealing with a stuck plumbing snake. We'll provide useful tips and techniques to help you handle this issue efficiently.

Whether you're an experienced DIYer or new to home repairs, this guide will be a handy reference for you.

Inserting a plumbing snake to the drain to check for clogging

Common Causes of Stuck Plumbing Snakes

A stuck plumbing snake can be frustrating, but understanding the common causes can help you resolve the issue more easily. Here are some key reasons your plumbing snake might get stuck:

1. Clogs and obstructions

Your plumbing snake may become stuck if it encounters a particularly stubborn clog, such as debris or a buildup of grease.

In these cases, it's important to be patient and apply steady pressure to push through the obstruction.

2. Traps and U-bends

These curved sections of plumbing are designed to prevent sewer gases from entering your home but can also be tricky for your snake to navigate through.

If your snake is stuck in a trap or U-bend, try wiggling it gently to maneuver around the curves.

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3. Kinks in the snake

Occasionally, the snake itself might be the issue, with kinks causing it to get stuck. Try straightening the snake before you use it and ensure the line is uncoiled evenly to avoid this problem.

4. Rust and corrosion

If the pipes in your plumbing system are rusty or corroded, it might be difficult for the snake to move through them.

In such cases, it's best to enlist the help of a professional plumber to assess the situation and recommend the best course of action.

Methods to Remove a Stuck Plumbing Snake

When your plumbing snake gets stuck, it's important to remove it without causing damage. Here's how:

1. Twist the handle

Gently turn the drain auger's handle clockwise. This might free the snake from whatever it's caught on. Be patient and avoid using too much force to prevent pipe damage.

2. Pull and rotate

If twisting doesn't free the snake, try gently pulling on the cable while continuing to rotate the handle clockwise. This might release the snake from the obstruction.

3. Loosen the thumbscrew

If your snake has a thumbscrew, loosen it before trying to remove the snake. This could make the removal process easier.

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4. Bend the cable

If the cable is stuck because of a sharp bend, try gently bending it back to dislodge it from the blockage.

Professional Assistance for Stuck Snakes

If you can't unstick the plumbing snake yourself, it's wise to call a professional plumber.

They can identify why the snake is stuck, use specialized tools to remove it, and give advice on how to avoid this issue in the future.

Professional plumbing cleaner using a self guiding electric snake

It's important to find a trusted plumber, either through personal recommendations or online reviews. While it may seem cost-effective to do it yourself, you risk damaging your pipes.

In difficult cases, you might even need a specialized snake removal company. Always consider your options carefully before proceeding.

Preventing Plumbing Snake Stuck Issues

To avoid plumbing snake stuck issues, it's essential to use the right equipment and techniques. Maintain a clean and efficient plumbing system to reduce the chances of blockages.

Clogged Drain

A clogged drain due to hair

Clear your drains regularly to prevent a buildup of debris. Dispose of grease and oil appropriately instead of pouring them down the drain.


Use drain covers to catch hair and other debris in the bathroom and kitchen. Clean the covers frequently to maintain proper water flow.

Drain Cleaning

Schedule routine drain cleaning services with a professional plumber. Regular cleanings can identify any obstructions at an early stage and remove them.

Bend in the Pipe

Use a plumbing snake that's specifically designed for your pipe diameter and material. PVC pipes and bends in the pipe can be sensitive, so it's essential to use the right tool.


Make sure you connect the plumbing snake correctly to the fittings. Loose attachments can cause the snake to get stuck during the process.

Learn more: Basic Plumbing Terminology For Home Maintenance – What Should You Know?


Utilize the proper equipment, such as a plumbing snake with a flexible and maneuverable cable. This will help navigate any challenging bends or turns in the pipe.

Professional using a high tech self-guiding snake to check the pipes for clogs

Follow these simple guidelines to help prevent plumbing snake stuck issues. Remember, a well-maintained plumbing system is key to avoiding blockages and potential damage.

Potential Damage from Stuck Plumbing Snakes

When your plumbing snake gets stuck, it can lead to some issues. Damage may result from attempting to dislodge the snake inappropriately or forcefully.

Breaking a pipe

A broken pipe and leaking

You may accidentally break a pipe if you apply too much force to remove the plumbing snake. This can lead to flooding and expensive repairs.

Sewer line damage

If the plumbing snake is stuck in a sewer line, trying to remove it without caution can cause damage to the line. This might result in sewage backup into your home.

Types of Plumbing Snakes and Drain Augers

Plumbing snakes and drain augers are key tools for clearing pipe clogs, and come in a few types, each designed for a specific task:

1. Drain Snakes

These are commonly used for most pipe blockages. Available in various lengths, they can reach clogs in different pipe sizes. They're particularly effective for sink and bathtub clogs.

Click here to see this drain snake on Amazon.

2. Drain Augers

Similar to drain snakes but with a stronger motor, drain augers can clear larger and more stubborn blockages. These are typically used for main sewer lines and landscaping drains.

Click here to see this drain auger on Amazon.

3. Toilet Augers

Specifically designed for toilet clogs, they have a unique shape and coating to protect the porcelain from scratches. It's important to use these, not drain snakes, for toilet clogs.

Click here to see this drain toilet auger on Amazon.

Understanding these types can help you choose the right tool for your plumbing problem, saving you time and reducing frustration.

Wrapping Up: Unsticking Your Plumbing Snake

Now that you've learned the reasons behind a stuck plumbing snake and various methods to resolve it, you should feel more prepared to tackle the issue should it arise.

Apply these pointers, and you'll be well on your way to confidently handling a stuck plumbing snake scenario.

With a little patience and knowledge, you can maintain a well-functioning plumbing system and avoid any unnecessary issues.

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Many thanks to OpenAI's ChatGPT for helping fine-tune the creation of this article.