How to Get Your Car Unstuck From the Mud

Getting out is the first priority when you have a vehicle stuck in mud. Yes, mud-terrain (M/T) tires are a smart option if you plan to do any off-road travel. But even the best tires can leave your SUV, light truck, or crossover stranded if the mud is thick enough. We have some tips to help get your vehicle unstuck.

What Are Mud-Terrain (M/T) Tires

M/T tires feature deep tread and wide channels designed to improve grip and traction, as well as move water and expel rocks from the tire surface. They’re perfect for gravel roads, backcountry lanes, unsteady or muddy surfaces, and forest roads best described as makeshift trails.

Choose a Set of M/T Tires From Les Schwab:

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, as they say. A set of M/T tires for your SUV, light truck, or crossover is a great way to avoid getting stuck in the mud — and if you are stuck, they can help you get out. Stop by and tell us what kind of off-road conditions you plan to face and what you drive. We’ll show you all the options and help you make the best choice.

Stuck in the Mud: What Not to Do.

Okay. You’re already stuck in the mud. Now what? Here are a few things you should NOT do if you want to quickly be free from the muddy mess.

  • Don’t Spin Your Wheels:

    You’ll only make matters worse. The more the wheels spin, the deeper your vehicle will likely sink into the muck. You might even cause damage to other parts of your vehicle, including the axles, transmission, or engine.

    Spinning Tire in Mud

  • Don’t Stop the Momentum:

    There’s always a chance that trying to break free will be slightly successful. If your vehicle starts to move forward, keep the momentum going instead of allowing it to settle back into the spot where you got stuck.

  • Don’t Forget to Ask for Help:

    Call a friend or ask another driver for help. If they have a winch and tow cable, they may be able to pull you free.

8 Things to Help Prepare for and Deal With Muddy Roads

You know what not to do when you’re stuck in the mud. Now we have 8 tips to help free your vehicle or avoid getting stuck in the first place.

  1. Plan Ahead With the Right Vehicle for Where You&Rsquo;Re Going:

    If you know you’ll experience muddy roads with 5-inch ruts, ensure your vehicle has enough clearance and gumption to make the trek.

  2. Plan Ahead With a Tow Strap and Winch (and Know How to Use Them):

    You don’t always need another vehicle to get free. With the right equipment, you can use a sturdy tree or boulder to pull yourself from the mud. Be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions before using a winch. Before using a winch, be sure the vehicle and tires are clear of any people or pets.

  3. Plan Ahead and Carry a Bag of Cat Litter:

    That litter or your floor mats can be placed under and just forward of your front wheels. This trick can often give you the traction needed to break free. If you don’t have kitty litter or don’t want to use your floor mats, branches, rocks, cardboard, and other nearby objects can also be used. Be sure the vehicle and tires are clear of any people or pets before attempting to use this method.

  4. Shift Into 4WD or Lower Gear:

    While shifting down and into AWD or 4x4 might seem obvious, it’s easy to get lost in the moment. If you are driving a manual, try second gear to move out of the mud.

    4WD Gear Stick

  5. Try the Rocking Method:

    Put your vehicle into the lowest gear (if you haven’t already), then accelerate forward just a little. Now, put it in reverse and do the same. Do this over and over until you gain momentum and break free. Keep in mind, being overly aggressive with this method could damage your drivetrain.

  6. Start Digging:

    Using a shovel or other mud-moving object, clear away as much of the muck as you can from all four tires. Turn the wheels left and right a few times to help with the digging. Be careful that people are far enough away from the vehicle and tires while digging.

  7. Add/Subtract Weight (As Needed):

    Except for the driver, get everyone out of the vehicle. This can sometimes help free a truck or SUV from the mud. If that doesn’t work, put everyone back into the vehicle and try again. Still not working? Move several people to an area inside the vehicle that is over the stuck wheel(s). The additional weight could help with traction. Before using this method, be sure the vehicle and tires are clear of any people or pets.

  8. Relieve Some Pressure:

    Removing no more than 20-percent of the air from your tires can help give your vehicle more traction. However, be sure to refill the tires to avoid permanently damaging the sidewalls.

Find Yourself in Mud Often? Try Mud Tires!

The pros at Les Schwab can help you find the right M/T tires for exceptional backcountry traction on almost any road. Whatever adventure you have planned, M/T tires can get you there.

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