How to get a stuck car out of the mud

Updated February 21, 2017

In many parts of the country, it is only a matter of time before a roadway becomes muddy and difficult to use. Once a vehicle becomes unable to gain traction in a muddy area, accelerating and spinning the tires only serve to further entrench the car in the muck and mire. Towing services can get expensive, especially in areas with dirt roads and frequent mud problems, but most drivers can work their vehicles free of mud without needing to call for help.

Turn your steering wheel from left to right quickly, moving it approximately 1/8 turn each time. If you think of your steering wheel as a clock face, with 12 o'clock marked in the top centre of the wheel, you would move it to the 10:30 position on the left and the 1:30 position on the right to equal 1/8 turn each time.

Straighten your wheels and apply light pressure to the accelerator. If the car doesn't begin moving, stop accelerating and move the gearshift to "Reverse" and apply light pressure to your accelerator. If you don't feel movement, shift the car back into forward and try accelerating again. Then, try reverse again.

Turn off your vehicle and dig some of the mud away from the tires. If you don't have a shovel with you, try to find a large stick or anything else you can use.

Place broken limbs or boards in front and back of the rear tires for traction. Repeat Step 2 until your car starts moving forward or backward. If your car begins to move, keep accelerating until the vehicle is free of the trench. You might need to get out and reposition the wood if you lose traction while trying to accelerate out of the hole.

Drive to the nearest area where you can get out and look underneath the vehicle to survey any possible damage, or take it to the nearest auto repair shop. You might have damaged something underneath the car while trying to extract it from the mud.


You also can use the floor mats in your car for traction. Wedge them under the back wheels. You might have to throw them away after using them in this manner.

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About the Author

Based in Texas, Cynthia Measom has been writing various parenting, business and finance and education articles since 2011. Her articles have appeared on websites such as The Bump and Motley Fool. Measom received a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Texas at Austin.