As the wetter months of fall approach, the ground is more likely to get muddy and cause traction issues. If you are looking for adventure, be particularly careful in what weather conditions and your surroundings where you’re driving off-road. You might drive your car in deep grooves during the muddy season, or attempt to navigate deep mud in an off-road situation.
But even in your daily drive, you could get your car stuck in mud. Say, if you park it on the grass at an outdoor event. No matter how careful you are, bad weather can still strike when you least expect it. It’s demoralizing and can throw a wrench in your plans, but there are methods to deal with it.
In this article, we cover what to do if you get your car stuck in the mud. Hopefully, these tips can help you prepare in advance, so you’re not searching “how to get car out of mud” while you’re already knee-deep in frustration. Keep in mind that, when attempting to get your car unstuck without expert help, you can get it worse.
Use Your Vehicle’s Own Power to get Vehicle Unstuck
Things You Need
You need a truck or SUV with a four-wheel drive system. Rear wheel drive cars are terrible for navigating wet and muddy conditions. Since a rear-wheel drive vehicle wouldn’t have the weight of the engine sitting on top of the drive wheels, they have less traction. At least with front wheel drive cars, you have a fighting chance – but having a vehicle with four drive wheels is the ideal scenario.
Option 1: Shifting Weight
Shifting the weight of a vehicle it’s possible to budge a stuck car from the soggy ground. Adjust the weight so there’s more cargo or body weight above the rear passenger side wheel and the front driver’s side wheel. This can get your car unstuck and get you out of a sticky situation by distributing equal weight to important areas of the car stuck in mud.
Option 2: Rocking the Car
A stuck vehicle feels firmly planted to whatever surface the stuck tires are on. The wheel slip just continues, digging out more earth and complicating the situation. Use the rocking method when you’re stuck in the mud making tire tracks. You want to avoid deep grooves, as these cause you to lose traction even more by creating a deeper hole. Stand on one side of the car while bouncing up and down with your feet on the edge of the door frame. Have someone else opposite you while you both shift up and down. The downward force exerted after rocking the car can cause it to suddenly regain traction and safely exit. Make sure your steering wheel is straight while you perform this action.
Using Some Gear
Things You Need
It might also help to have a winch if you frequently deal with a car stuck in mud situations. However, you’ll want the following items at the very least:
- Sand (or kitty litter)
- Floor mat for placing under drive wheels
- Tire pump
Option 1: Digging Vehicle Out
Digging a vehicle out of excess mud can help. Remove mud off the surface area of the tires and shovel any remaining mud from beneath them. Remove the mud from the rear and front wheels and slowly accelerate, gaining traction as you rev the engine. Continue a steady pace as you gain more traction – otherwise stop, as you can make the situation worse.
Option 2: Using Floor Mats
This works for front and rear wheel drive vehicles. Place the mats directly in front of your wheels. This places the point of contact on a non-slippery surface that actually has rubber tread (most of the time). Accelerate slowly and stay straight, hopefully budging the car in the process.
Option 3: Using Sand
Sprinkle sand generously around the tires. Make it as thick as possible, and use a shovel to get it beneath the tires if you can. This provides a gritty texture to give the car traction.
Option 4: Reducing Tire Pressure
Reducing your tire pressure can help you remove your car from the mud. Slight deflation puts more rubber in contact with the surface when the tire sags, providing additional traction in the process. Be sure to reinflate your tires once you’re out of the situation.
Towing or Winching
Things You Need
If you have a companion vehicle, you can use them as a rescue vehicle.
- A 4×4 or AWD rescue vehicle or a tractor
- Mud tires for rescue vehicle (optional)
- Snatch strap to pull the stuck vehicle
- Strap damper
Option 1: Getting Towed
Getting towed should be one of your final options. This is because a tow often comes with a hefty price tag. Contact your local towing company and give them the closest address to your location, along with a description of the visuals around you. If you have roadside assistance, you may have some form of coverage if you need a tow, relieving you of some of the cost.
Option 2: Using a Winch
If someone you know has a winch, you could be in luck. Otherwise, this could be another job for a tow truck. A winch is a pulley you attach to your vehicle. The motorized end of the winch is attached to the rescue truck or a solid anchor (like a tree) and it literally winds up, pulling you out of the mud.
Tips to Help Get a Car Unstuck
Car stuck in mud? Use these tips if you need to know how to get car out of mud.
- Always pack a bag of kitty litter. You can use it in place of sand if you’re in an emergency situation.
- Pack emergency equipment just in case. This includes shovels, a snatch strap, a chain, and even extra car mats.
- Always keep your wheels straight when attempting to get out of the mud.
- Don’t dig yourself into a deeper hole. If what you’re doing isn’t working, don’t continue to press the accelerator. On the same token, when you press the gas, do it gradually to avoid slippage.
Avoiding a Sticky Situation
Getting stuck can be a stressful situation. However, it’s possible to prepare yourself for these situations by bringing the right equipment and driving with consideration for the weather and road conditions.
If it looks too difficult to pass, it probably is. Use your best judgment and always drive with concern for your safety and the safety of passengers. In challenging situations, always adhere to your car’s safety manual.