How to Get a Car Unstuck From the Mud

by Gertrude Elizabeth Greene

Getting stuck in the mud is one of the hazards of driving on unpaved, wet roads or going out four-wheeling--and yes, even jeeps and SUVs can get stuck in the mud. Some areas of the country seem plagued with muddy roads, but a driver can get caught unawares almost anywhere, and end up stuck in a sticky mess. Cars are designed to drive well on roads that provide traction, but slippery mud will just make your tires spin. Keep these steps in mind in case you ever need to get a car unstuck from the mud.

Step 1

Don't panic. Often a person's instinct is to do the same thing harder, if the initial efforts aren't working. It won't help your predicament to push harder on the accelerator, spinning your wheels--it will just get the car even more deeply stuck. So stop, get out of the car, and look at the situation.

Step 2

Gently push on the accelerator to try to ease out of the mud pit. For cars with an automatic transmission, put the car in its lowest gear and give it just a bit of gas to see if the tires will get traction. For cars with a manual transmission, use a higher gear and very gently let out the clutch, moving the tires inch by inch. If this does not work, try the next step.

Step 3

Rock the car back and forth. Turn the steering wheel so the wheels are straight, and quickly switch back and forth from reverse to drive about 8 to 10 times--but no more, or you could damage your car. If your car is still stuck, move on to the next step.

Step 4

Let a little air out of the tires. A slightly flat tire will allow more surface area to come in contact with the ground, perhaps providing that extra amount of traction you need to get unstuck. Just remember to refill your tires as soon as you get to safety.

Step 5

Find something to place under the tires to provide traction. You can use tree branches, sand, boards (check for nails), an old coat or blanket, or even your floor mats. Place these items under your front tires, and drive slowly over them. This step will almost always get a car unstuck from the mud, but if it doesn't work, you might need help.

Step 6

Get help. Call a tow truck or a friend that has a wench to come and rescue you.

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