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How to Get a Car Unstuck From Mud

Close-up of a car's bottom half and tires covered in mud

Do you know how to get a car unstuck from mud when spring’s rainy weather arrives? A heavy downpour can turn an otherwise tame dirt road into a muddy mess in no time. Here’s what to do if you find yourself stuck in the mud this spring.

Don’t Panic!

Your first instinct may be to hit the gas to get out as quickly as possible, but that’s not a great idea. You’ll likely just dig your tires deeper into the muck. Instead, take your foot off the gas, so you can assess the situation.

Get Out of the Rut

Your tires are stuck in a muddy rut, so you need to get out of that rut before you can get moving again. Without giving the car any gas, try turning your wheel side to side to create a little extra room for your tires. Next, lightly apply your foot to the gas pedal, and continue wiggling the wheel until you get the traction you need to break free.

Are You Ready to Rock?

Another method is to rock the car from front to back. You can create a rocking motion simply by easing your foot gently up and down on the gas pedal. This momentum is usually enough to rock the tires out of a rut and get the traction you need to keep going. Once you feel the tires gripping, gently give the car extra gas to get moving.

Create TractionMuddy road

If your tires simply cannot get any traction, then give them something to grip. If you frequently travel through mud, carry a traction kit with grabbers that attach to your tires. Otherwise, that extra grip could be an old towel, blanket, coat or even the rubber floor mats from your car, but only if you’re okay with whatever you use getting ruined in the process.

Place whatever you decide to use directly in front of the tires that are spinning. Gently apply the gas and see if you have the traction you need to break free. Don’t forget to retrieve the item you used once you’re out of the mud.

If You Need an Assist

If you’ve tried everything but still don’t know how to get a car unstuck from mud, then it may be time to ask for help. Depending on where you are, a passerby can pull you out of the mud with a tow strap, but be sure you know how to properly secure it to your vehicles to avoid damage. Otherwise, call a professional rather than risk hurting yourself or your vehicle.

Check out all the tire products available on NAPA online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on safe off-roading, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photo courtesy of Flickr.


Nicole Wakelin View All

Nicole Wakelin covers the automotive industry as a freelance journalist for a variety of outlets. Her work includes news pieces, podcasts, radio, written reviews, and video reviews. She can be found in The Boston Globe, CarGurus, BestRide, US News and World Report, and AAA along with lifestyle blogs like Be Car Chic, The Other PTA, and She Buys Cars. She is active on social media with a large following on both Twitter and Instagram and currently serves as Vice President of the New England Motor Press Association.

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