Ways to Pull a Truck from the mud.

Whether you go mudding for fun or drive through unexpected mud on your route, there’s always a chance of getting stuck. If you’re a mudding enthusiast, that might seem like a fun challenge, but for others, it’s quite stressful. We want you to get where you need to go as quickly and safely as possible.

 

  1. Rock It Out of The Mud

When your truck gets stuck, your first thought might be to throw it in reverse and gun it as hard as you can. But this can actually dig a deeper hole, which makes it more difficult to get out. Instead, switch into 4-wheel drive and lock your differential (if you can), and then downshift into low gear quickly. Try to roll forward, then switch quickly between drive and reverse, essentially rocking your truck back and forth. This helps to level the surface of the mud and provide better traction for your tires. Increase the acceleration gradually, rather than putting the pedal to the metal, to help you roll out. If that fails, you will at least have created a better surface for a tow truck to pull you out.

 

  1. Don’t Spin Your Wheels

When you accelerate too quickly in a slick rut, you’ll just be spinning your wheels. Don’t allow the wheels to continue to spin, since this doesn’t help you get out, and may even overheat your radiator. Instead, start turning the wheels to the side, to see if the treads on the edges of your tires grip the ground. If you emerge partially from the rut, keep moving forward, applying steady pressure on the gas pedal.

  1. Increase Traction
  • Shift Truck Weight – If your truck has rear-wheel drive, improve traction by adding weight above the rear axle. Either shift items in your truck bed or trunk, or look for heavy items nearby like rocks, large tree limbs, or weighted items from a nearby gas station.
  • Add Friction for Tires – Find a flat, dry object to place in front of or behind the tire, depending on which direction you want to go. Wooden planks, flattened boxes, tree branches, rocks, or gravel work well, and you can even try a floor mat from your truck. It’s a good idea to keep tools in your truck bed, like shovels, carpet scraps, or cardboard, for such situations. If needed, use a jack to lift your tires and place dry items underneath.

 

  1. Reduce Tire Pressure

If you have a portable air compressor, let some air out of your tires, to about 18-20 psi, to gain more traction. Be sure to use the compressor to re-inflate the tires before you head back on the road, to prevent damage to your wheels. If you don’t have a compressor on hand, only try this if someone can bring you a pump before you hit the pavement.

  1. Use A Winch

Off-roaders love a good winch, since it can get you out of a real jam. If you happen to own a winch, secure it to your truck and wrap the tow strap around a tree, or use a land anchor if there’s a solid surface nearby. Use a winch that’s rated at 30% or more of the weight of your vehicle. Always hook your winch to the truck frame or a recovery point directly bolted to the frame. Bumpers can easily break off and pose a projectile hazard. Tow straps are also prone to snapping, so drape a heavy item like a coat over the middle of the strap to prevent it from injuring people or property. Always have passengers stand several car lengths away.

6. People Power

With a small rut, sometimes all you need is a good shove from a couple of passengers. This is safer and more effective in drive than in reverse. This method can be quite dangerous, so make sure your helpers are adults who are strong, quick, capable, and have experience pushing a stalled or stuck vehicle. Even if your passengers don’t plan to push, have them hop out of the truck to reduce the weight in the vehicle and improve traction.

  1. Enlist Other Trucks

If you’re traveling in a group, you might be tempted to have another truck tow you out. If you try this tactic, there are important things to consider. First, limit the recovery vehicles, since the more trucks there are, the more the ground gets torn up. Second, never attach tow straps to the suspension, axle, bumper, or hitch ball, since these can easily break. Use the tow hitch or frame. Once the two trucks are safely connected, the mobile truck should slowly pull forward to remove most of the strap slack, then accelerate gently to pull the stuck truck forward. Keep in mind that this poses several risks:

  • Damage to both trucks
  • Breakage of the strap
  • Both trucks getting stuck
  • The stuck truck rolling away if a strap breaks
  • Injury to passengers

 

What to Do If Your Brakes Go Out

Noticing your brakes have failed while driving can be a shocking experience. While you hope it never happens to you, prepare yourself for such a situation by familiarizing yourself with some tips to help you stop as safely as possible.

Don’t Panic

A clear head can be your ally behind the wheel, especially when things go awry. If your brakes fail, it’s in your best interest to remain calm and attempt to get your car safely off the road.

Try the Brakes Again

Unless you’re behind the wheel of a classic car, your vehicle likely has a dual braking system, which controls your front and rear brakes independently. As a result, both halves of the system would have to fail for your car to totally lose all braking power. Still, having your car’s braking ability reduced by half can be enough to make it feel unsafe, but there may still be some stopping power. Try applying strong, consistent pressure to the brake pedal to see if you can slow the car down.

Carefully Engage Emergency Brake

If your main braking system isn’t working, one option is to very carefully employ the emergency brake. The emergency braking system is separate from the main, hydraulic brake system, and it may help stop the vehicle — although stopping will likely take you longer when doing it this way than it would with the traditional brake pedal.

Downshift Into a Lower Gear

Another way to slow your car down, is by keeping your foot off the accelerator and downshifting so that the engine can help slow the car down. If you have a manual transmission, work your way down through the gears to slow the car down. If you have an automatic transmission, taking your foot off the accelerator should cause your car to shift to lower gears as it slows down.

However, in newer cars with automatic transmissions that allow you to also drive them manually, you may want to use the paddle shifters (if available), which are levers on the steering wheels of cars with this feature, or put your transmission in manual mode and downshift to the lowest gear. Check your car owner’s manual for information on using your automatic car in manual mode.

Safely Get Off the Road

After you’ve slowed the car down, it’s critical that you get your car off the road to minimize the chances of getting hit. If you’re on the highway or a larger road, you’ll first need to concentrate on getting your car safely into the right lane. Don’t forget to use your turn signals, and pay attention to surrounding traffic. Cautiously make your way into the slow lane and turn on your hazard lights when you get there. Remember to steer around any possible hazards, and if needed, use your car’s lights and horn to alert other motorists.

Move from the right lane onto the shoulder (or, ideally, somewhere safe off the road, such as a parking lot), then shift into neutral. Use your emergency, or parking, brake to slow the car down, but be prepared to release it if the car starts to skid. If the emergency brake doesn’t work, you’ll need to keep your eyes peeled for other ways to stop.

Don’t Turn the Car Off Until You’ve Stopped

While shutting your car off might seem like it would help slow it down, it may be a good idea to keep the engine running until you’ve reached a complete stop. Turning the ignition off will typically also shut down your power steering, which makes the vehicle more difficult to turn. It could also cause the steering wheel to lock into place. So, you may want to get your vehicle stopped and off the road before turning it off.

Signal for Help

You may need some assistance once your car is safely off the road. Make it obvious that you need help by raising your hood and keeping your hazard lights on. If you have reflective triangles or road flares, you can also put them behind your car to make yourself more visible. Be sure to stay out of oncoming traffic, and avoid standing next to (or behind) your car if you can. You can also use your cellphone to call for roadside assistance.

 

Get Your Brakes Inspected by a Professional

Even if it seems like the brakes are operating normally again, have them inspected by a professional before you try to drive it again. Have your vehicle towed to a dealer or mechanic, so they can inspect your car and provide the necessary repairs. Keep in mind that you can also prevent problems before they start by having your car’s brakes inspected regularly.

Knowing what to do if your brakes go out could help prevent injuries and damage to your vehicle.