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Car Stuck? How to Get Your Vehicle out of the Sand or Mud

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Recovering a Stuck Vehicle

Whether you’ve got a car built for off-roading, or any other type of vehicle, getting stuck in the mud or sand is bound to happen at some point, if it hasn’t already. No matter the situation, it is frustrating to deal with, and can even result in damage to your vehicle if you aren’t careful. Trying to recover a car without any experience or knowledge of what you are doing could end poorly.

Spinning your tires over and over could dig you in deeper. Attempting to pull your car out by tying something to it and towing it with another vehicle could result in damage to one or even both cars involved. The tips below can help when your vehicle isn’t stuck too deep. However, in some situations, if you don’t know what you are doing, it’s best to call a professional towing company to recover your car from the mud or sand.

4 Tips for Recovering a Car Stuck in the Mud or Sand

If you do ever find yourself stuck, don’t panic. People who panic in these cases tend to make things worse by spinning their tires frantically to get free. Unfortunately, doing so only digs the car in deeper, making it harder to recover. Before you do anything, get out of your vehicle if you can and asses the situation. If you are alone, the task might be more difficult, but it is not impossible, depending on how bad it is.

If you have someone with you, one of you should sit in the car and step on the gas once or twice, while the other person stands outside of the car to watch. The person outside should pay close attention to the wheels to determine where the trouble spots are and which wheel or wheels are spinning or stuck the most. Once you have some idea of what’s going on, you can follow the tips below.

1. Try Digging the Wheels Out

If you notice one or more tires are stuck, you can attempt to dig them out to get more space to gain some traction and momentum. Fine, dry sand might not be as easy to work with, as the sand will likely fall back down towards the wheel, but give it a shot. If the sand is dense and wet, or if you are in the mud, it should be easier to dig around the wheels.

For these situations, it’s great if you have an emergency car kit that has a portable shovel, but there are other things you can use to dig that will work in a pinch. Your hands, of course, will do, or if there is anything in the car like a cup or any other object that you can use to scoop the mud or sand away, that will work too. You can also scan the area you are in for something that might help you dig. Once you start digging, try digging around the wheel(s), especially in front of and behind them. You want to try to create a small path for the wheels to move forward and backward until you can gain traction and momentum to move out. Do not dig straight down as it will only dig the wheels deeper.

2. Provide Traction

If you tried the digging method and it didn’t work, it is possible that the wheels still couldn’t gain enough traction. If the ground is really soft and wet, there isn’t much for the wheels to grab onto and they will just keep spinning. Luckily, there are some pretty easy ways to gain traction in these situations. The best thing is to use gravel or kitty litter. It might seem silly to carry around litter in your trunk all the time, but you’ll be happy you did if you ever get stuck.

Sprinkle the litter or any gravel you can find around the tires, and in front of and behind them. This will help give the wheels something to grip onto to get you out. If you don’t have any liter or gravel, you can try using things from your car, like a towel, a blanket, cardboard, or even the floor mats. Lay them down in front of or behind the tires and then try moving the car.

3. Rock the Car Back and Forth

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If you are only attempting to go forward or only go back, it might not work if the vehicle is in too deep. The key is to try to create just enough of a surface for the wheels to grip onto that you have the momentum to get out. If your wheels aren’t just spinning in place and you have some movement, but just not enough, you can try this method.

Slowly move your car forward and then put it in reverse and slowly move back. Even if you only move inches at a time, this is fine. Take your time repeating the forward and backward movement until you create a broader path. Once you’ve created more space to move, it may give you enough momentum to get out.

4. Push it Out

The pushing method is pretty straight forward. One person stays in the car to step on the gas, while the other person stands outside to push. Just be careful if you are doing the pushing that you don’t slip and injure yourself. If the car is struggling to gain traction, it might be hard for your feet to gain traction as well.

Call Mobile Maintenance & Towing

If all else fails, or if you’re alone and don’t feel comfortable attempting to get your vehicle free on your own, call for a tow. Mobile Maintenance & Towing in Tucson offers a variety of towing and roadside assistance services to help drivers in need. No job is too big or too small. If you’re stuck or having car troubles, our team of dedicated tow truck operators will be there in 30 minutes or less. For 24-hour towing services you can count out, call Mobile Maintenance & Towing today!

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