Cars

How to get your car outta mud without any assistance

If you’re stuck in the muddy ditch – try rocking the car back and forth, it’s probably the easiest way to get out. It’s done like this. Let’s assume you’ve already tried to push forward a little only to find your car buried deep. From now on, press the clutch to let the car roll back into the ditch, let it gain some momentum and once you feel that the car has reached the point where it stops and starts rolling back forward, quickly depress the clutch and accelerate adding to the inertia that is moving the car forward. Thanks to that you will be able to swing further and further each time – and each rollback will give you more and more inertia, adding a bit of engine power. After five or six swings of this “pendulum”, your car will be able to gain enough momentum to jump out of a ditch and ride forward at a good speed.

This “rule of the swing” is effective for the loose ground as well: rocking back and forth you’ll wear yourself a rut, where you can gain enough speed to break free.

But keep in mind that your automatic gearbox may overheat if you rev too much! Which, as we already know, is the main cause of gearbox breakdown. Having found yourself in exactly the “swingable” ditch, don’t give your automatic gearbox too much strain, instead focusing on one of the following methods.

The first method is putting some kind of a footing next to a wheel (a board or a plank, a handful of twigs, a small log, whatever…you get it) to put a levelling jack on it (without it, the jack will drown in the mud), jack up the car so the wheel is free in the air and shove stuff underneath it – sticks, twigs, stones, any firm stuff you can get your hands on – then jack the car down and get the hell outta there.

The other way around is shoving the car foot pad underneath the wheel. Cargo mats would be even better – they’re bigger! The drawback? Although the pad helps in 90% of attempts, it gets dirty as heck.

Still, there is a way for you to keep your foot pads clean. For that you’ll need: an assistant, a towing rope, and a sharp-ground peg (a rod or a spade shovel would do too). The end of the towing rope is tied to the bottom of the peg, the assistant takes it away as far as he can, so that the rope is strained to the breaking point, and that’s when the driver begins to try and rock the car free. As soon as the car gets the farthest from the deepest point of the ditch, the assistant drives the peg to the ground as deep as he can, holding the car on this “higher ground”, the driver then gets out and starts stuffing the ditch with whatever he can (branches, gravel, sand). So when the assistant gets the peg out, the car would roll back to a more suitable surface than the ditch. Such “holding” drill can be exercised a few times in a row, taking the car ever farther each time.

Another trick to increase flotation is lowering the tire pressure which increases the surface area of the tires. However, we do not recommend you to play with that if you don’t have any prior experience. Deflate the tire too much – and you risk getting a tire spinning around the wheel rim. No good!

It’s easy to get lost somewhere in an unfamiliar place, like woods, where you’ll be forced to make a u-turn. It’s a pretty tricky task, so keep in mind that it’s important to turn the car around so that the leading wheels ALWAYS remain on the roadbed. As it is the leading wheels that will drag you out of any trouble, even if the idle wheels skid-off into a bog.

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