Is Your Car Stuck in the Mud? Here’s How to Get it Out!
Maybe you parked in a distant lot at a concert or event when it was raining. Maybe you thought your car could take the road less traveled. Maybe you misjudged the depth or tenacity of that mud puddle. Regardless of how it happened, once your car is stuck in mud, you have a rather sticky situation on your hands.
How to get a car out of mud without causing damage can be a tricky question. It’s important to make sure you know what you are doing before attempting to free your vehicle. This guide will go over several different methods on how to get a car out of mud as safely and quickly as possible.
No matter your eventual course of action, you are going to want to follow a few basic guidelines as you try to figure out how to get your car out of mud.
The last thing you want to to do is lose your cool. If you are freaking out or panicking, you are more likely to make mistakes that will only worsen the situation. A cool head will allow you to examine the circumstances and identify the best course of action.
If your car is buried to the axles, then you’ll most likely need a tow truck to get you out. However, if you’re just dealing with one or two stubborn, stuck tires, then you may be able to get out on your own.
Reduce the Weight
The less weight the better, when trying to move a car that is stuck in the mud. Ask your passengers to get out of the vehicle and stay a safe distance away as you try to get out. Clear out any unnecessary heavy items you might be carrying.
Take it Slow
This is why you need to calm down before you do anything else. Just as the old tale says, slow and steady wins the race, or, in this case, frees the car. If you slam on the gas pedal, you are more likely to dig deeper into the mud than to make your way out. Every action should be slow and deliberate.
Phone a Friend
There are a couple of methods you can try on your own, but it helps to have both a driver and someone with eyes on the ground to see if you are making any progress or just spinning your wheels. If you have a buddy with you, great. However, you might need help from someone with towing ability.
While this isn’t something you can do once the car is already stuck, it’s worth mentioning a few items you can carry around in your vehicle just in case. Make sure to have some kind of light source. Sure, you can use the flashlight app on your phone, but what are you going to do when your battery runs out? You’ll also want floor mats and tow cables depending on your vehicle to get your car out of the mud.
Best Methods to Try When a Car is Stuck in Mud
Once your car is stuck in the mud, you can pick from several plans of attack. The best method will depend on a host of factors including the depth and texture of the mud, your vehicle, available resources, and more.
Back it Up
Once you start to feel your wheels start to turn without moving forward, put your car in reverse and try to inch your way back the way you came while keeping your wheels straight. Lightly press on the gas to avoid digging in too much.
If this doesn’t work initially, it can sometimes help to create a wider space in which to maneuver. Turn your steering wheel both right and left to clear out a bit of space, and then try again.
No, this is not an excuse to show off your new subwoofer. In this case, the term rock is a little more literal, as it involves rocking your car back and forth. This is the next step for how to get your car out of the mud if backing out didn’t work.
First, back up as far as you can in the mud, then switch to drive, and drive as far forward as you can. Repeat this process as long as you are making some progress and not just spinning your wheels. Start off going as slow as possible and gradually increase your acceleration as you make progress going backwards or forwards.
Wet mud doesn’t provide much traction, especially if you have tires with shallow treads (reason #565 to replace old tires). If you can add more traction beneath your tires, you may be able to figure out how to get your car out of the mud.
You can choose one (or a combination of) several options to add traction beneath your wheels.
- Car mat (the most popular option)
- Kitty litter
- Leaves, twigs, etc.
Once you’ve gathered your traction-adding items of choice, make sure your car is in park. If you’re using a solid item like your car mats, cardboard, wood boards, etc., place the tip just under the tire that is stuck in the mud, and leave the rest of the item in front as a makeshift ramp. Next, hop back into your vehicle and slowly accelerate. If all goes well, you should be on solid ground in no time.
If you’re using looser items such as kitty litter, sand, salt, or leaves and twigs, make a path in front of your tires. This should create a rough surface with, hopefully, enough traction to get out. Similar to the more solid items, slowly move forward until you’re out of the mud.
Use Man Power
Getting your friends out of the car is a great way to lighten the load, but if the first few how to get a car out of mud methods don’t work, then you might want to add a little extra muscle.
While one person operates the car, the others can try to push the car stuck in mud out. Communication throughout this process is crucial. Open up the car window, and make sure that both parties can hear each other throughout the experience. Never change direction without making sure those pushing know it’s happening.
Tow It Out
If none of these methods work, it’s time to consider towing your vehicle. If you have a friend with towing capabilities and solid tow points on your vehicle, you may be able to handle it without hiring someone else. However, if that isn’t an option, it’s a good idea to call in the professionals.
How to Avoid Getting Your Car Stuck in Mud
You know what they say: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Now that you know how to get a car out of mud, take time to learn how to avoid the situation in the first place.
Know Your Car’s Limits
Not all cars are made for off-road adventures. It’s important to know when it’s safe to take your vehicle out into the unknown and when it’s better to stay on the road more traveled. A fully outfitted Jeep is more prepared to take on challenging terrain than a Sonata or a Civic.
If you are going to make a habit of off-roading, you will want a car with high ground clearance, locking differentials, a high-mounted air intake, and quality tow points (like tow hooks or trailer hitches). The tow points are especially important because even the best off-roading vehicles get stuck from time to time.
If your vehicle is not made for off-roading, then stick to paved roads and parking lots whenever possible.
Of course, you don’t have to go out into the wild yonder to get your car stuck in the mud. All it takes is a dirt lot and a poorly timed rainstorm. If you know you’re going to an event that involves unpaved parking, then watch the weather. If you see rain in the forecast, consider taking a vehicle that can handle a bit of mud, parking further away on a paved surface, or calling a cab/using a ride service like Uber or Lyft.
Get the Right Tires
Street tires will get you where you need to go if you plan to stay on paved streets. However, if you want to spend time on the wilder paths of life, then you are going to want to invest in the right tires. Even if you’ve got a great vehicle for off-roading, without the right tires you will likely find yourself frustrated with a car stuck in the mud.
If you plan to drive in areas with a lot of mud and natural terrain, you will want tires with deep treads and tough rubber. You may want to invest in mud terrain tires if off-roading is going to be a frequent occurrence to avoid getting your car stuck in the mud and even then you will need to know how to get a car out of mud, just in case.
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