Car tires work better on the road because the surface provides natural traction. If you encounter mud, then the softer, more slippery surface makes it a challenge to move.
Your tires will start spinning. Then you get stuck. The mud has made it so that you’re going nowhere fast. That can be fun if you’re off-roading until the vehicle won’t move forward at all – then you’re a little bit stuck.
Did you know that spinning the wheels can actually make things worse? Rapid tire movements tend to make the car slip deeper into the mud. You’re better off using one of these options so that you can get back on the road quickly.
#1: Use a Car Mat
Put your car into park. Then take the car mat out from the interior, placing the tip of it under the tire that’s stuck in the mud. Let the rest of the mat sit in front of the wheel. Once you get back into the vehicle, drive slowly forward until you can reach solid ground again. You may need to use one for each tire to successfully free the car. Then don’t forget to go back to grab your floor protectors!
#2: Snatch the Car
If there is another vehicle nearby with a suitable tow rating, then you can pull your stuck car from the mud. The pulling driver should have 4×4 traction to ensure you don’t end up with two trapped instead of only one. Use the correct anchor points and strap to complete this job. You’ll want to make sure anyone nearby is away from the vehicles since there is a risk that the strap could snap.
#3: The Rocking Method
If your car can move slightly back and forth, then the rocking method might provide enough momentum to get you out of the mud. You must accelerate forward slightly, then rapidly put the vehicle into reverse to roll backward, unless you are driving a manual vehicle in which case neutral might do the trick to move forward and back. Use the lowest gear possible in an automatic transmission. Manual drivers should use second or third gear. As you get more movement, continue to press forward and back until you are free.
#4: Digging to Freedom
Grab the shovel from your car’s emergency kit – ideally you would remember to bring something like this with you if off-roading in potentially hazardous conditions. Then remove as much mud as possible from around the tires to try to get to drier ground below. If you don’t have this tool available, you can try to get resourceful with anything you can find in the area to help dig too. When you can give yourself more room to create momentum, then it becomes easier to drive your way to freedom.
If you’ve tried these methods to get unstuck from the mud without success, then the choice of last resort is to drop the air pressure in your tires. This action increases the surface area you have available to create more traction contacts. Then re-inflate the tires to their correct pressure as soon as possible to avoid damaging them.