How to Get a Car Out of the Mud Easily & Quickly
Whether you are off-roading in the swamps or just taking a shorter path through a construction site, your car can get stuck in the mud.
Luckily, getting your car out of the mud is not as difficult as it might seem. You can use any of these three approaches, and you’ll be free in no time.
- Pull the car out with the help of another car.
- Give the tires a surface to grip.
- Rock the car to build up momentum and use it to extract the car.
But first, let’s see what causes cars to get stuck in the mud and what’s needed to get them out..
DISCLAIMER: Care needs to be taken when using towing equipment. Stay at a safe distance from the car and the snatch strap/ tow-line at all times. If you cannot get out of the mud by yourself, call a recovery service.
Why Do Cars Get Stuck in the Mud?
The most common reason cars get stuck in the mud is when the tires do not have enough grip to move the car due to the following reasons:
- The tires are worn out and cannot produce enough friction.
- The floor of the car starts touching the mud as a result of which the weight of the car is supported by the floor and not the wheels. In such a case, the wheels cannot grip the road surface due to the absence of weight on them.
- Certain cars are not meant for off-roading, if one of the wheels gets lifted from the ground or loses grip due to any reason, the differential sends the torque to that wheel. In such cases, even if one of the tires has a grip, it cannot get power.
- In some cases, the tires do have grip, but the car still can’t get out. This happens when the power needed to get the car to move is more than the power output of the car’s engine.
Next, you’ll need to know the working principle of getting a stuck car out of the mud, so that you’ll know how to do it on your own..
The Principle Behind Getting a Car Out of the Mud
Here are two things that you can do to get a car unstuck from the mud:
- Increase the grip of the wheels so that they can move the car out of the mud.
- Use an external force to pull the car out of the mud, like a winch or another car.
Now, let’s learn about the three approaches mentioned earlier.
1. How to Pull a Car Out of the Mud
In this method, the power and grip of two cars are used to get one car out of the mud.
This method can be used if:
- The car has some grip but not enough to get out of the mud.
- If there’s a rescue vehicle available on the spot.
- A snatch strap
- Tow-line dampers
- A towing car, preferably a 4×4 vehicle with locking differentials
- Recovery spot on your car
1. Find the Recovery Point on Both Cars
It is important that you find the recovery point. This is not the towing eye or the trailer hitch. If you use these to extract the car, you’ll break them and they can fly off erratically, becoming a serious hazard. See the owner’s manual to locate the correct spot.
2. Attach the Snatch Strap
Once you have located the recovery point, attach both cars with a snatch strap. Avoid using a rope or wire for this, as they deliver the force at once and can yank the recovery point out.
A snatch strap is elastic and stretches up to 20%, for applying force slowly to the car.
3. Stretch the Snatch Strap
Once the snatch strap is secured to both cars, move the towing car further from the stuck car so that the snatch strap is under mild tension.
4. Use the Tow-Line Damper
Put a tow-line damper on the snatch strap. This step is an extremely important safety measure. The tow-line damper will contain the force of the snatch strap if it breaks. If you don’t use this and the strap breaks, it can injure someone or damage the cars.
5. Pull the Car Out
Make sure drivers of both cars can communicate. If the towing car is a 4×4, put it in 4-Low (or any other name the car uses for low-range 4×4 gearing) and start pulling the car.
Once the driver of the stuck car feels the car moving under the force of the towing car, they accelerate the car in the lowest gear possible.
6. Drive Out
Drive the car fully out of the mud, and don’t stop until you reach a safe spot.
However, this method might not work every time, especially if you don’t have a recovery vehicle available to you.
Don’t worry. The next method will teach you how to get your car out of mud by yourself, without any external help.
2. How to Get a Car Out of Mud Using Cardboard
This approach focuses on “replacing” the surface beneath the tires so that they can get some grip. You can use this method when:
- The tires seem to have little to no grip.
- You can dig around the wheels.
- Something to dig around the tires with
- Wooden cardboards, planks, or shrubs
- Dig in Front of the Wheels
Using a shovel, dig the mud in front of the wheels. What you need to do is to make a ramp in front of each tire so that it can easily move
- Give the Wheels Something to Grip
This is where you may want to get creative. As the surface beneath the tires is still mud, chances are the tires will dig into it again. You need to provide the tires with a surface that has a better grip. You can use one of the following for this:
- Take the floor mats out and put one in front of every wheel.
- If there are bushes nearby, cut some branches and place them in front of the wheels.
- You can use any piece of cardboard, wood, etc. to increase the grip.
- Slowly Move the Car Ahead
Once you have prepared the surface under the tires, start moving the car slowly. You don’t need to accelerate too hard as it will lead to the tires to dig into the mud again.
- Keep Driving
Once the car gains a bit of momentum, keep accelerating slowly and don’t stop until you are out of the mud.
The next method will tell you how to get your car out of mud by yourself without any external aid at all.
3. How to Get a Car Unstuck by Yourself
If your car has some wiggle room, you can use this method to get it unstuck from mud by yourself.
This method can work if:
- Your car can move a bit back and forth where it is stuck.
- You do not have any vehicle to help you.
How it Works:
- Put the Car in Reverse
Reverse the car as much as you can without digging into the mud.
- Move the Car Forward
Once you are all the way back, put the car in the lowest forward gear and move it as far ahead as you can.
Keep repeating these two steps; make sure the tires do not dig into the mud.
- Keep Driving
Once your car has enough momentum, accelerate just enough to keep it moving but not so much that the tires dig into the mud. Keep driving that way until you clear the mud.
That’s how to get a car unstuck by yourself – without any external help, or without any tool!
Now that you have learned how to get a car out of the mud, let’s answer some frequently asked questions.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I get my car out of the mud?
You can have your car pulled out by another car or can dig the area in front of the tires to make a ramp for your wheels to climb out.
What is the first thing you should do to get out of the mud?
Do not panic. Get out of the car, assess the severity of the problem, and strategize your next moves for getting the car out.
What do you put under a tire stuck in the mud?
You can put anything that can support the weight. The most suitable option is wooden cardboard, floor mats, or bushes.
What is the difference between a snatch strap and a rope?
A rope is stiff and does not absorb the sudden force from the towing vehicle. A snatch strap, on the other hand, has room for expansion and can dampen the effect of pulling the car.
Why is the tow-line damper important?
If the snatch strap or the recovery point on any of the cars fails, the tow-line dampers help contain the kinetic energy stored in the line and prevent it from damaging the car or hurting someone.