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You’re standing on the side of the trail, looking mournfully at your Jeep – buried in mud nearly up to your Bestop bumpers. Seemingly stranded, all you can think about is how much mud sucks … literally. If you’re not resting on your axle yet, though, there is hope of recovery! Here’s how.
Lowering your tires’ psi maximizes the amount of traction you can get from of the soggy ground. Softer tires have a better chance of gripping into the dirt and pulling you out of the mess instead of digging you down deeper, until you really are buried up to your bumpers.
Just remember to air back up ASAP!
The reason your beloved Jeep is sinking into the Swamp of Sorrow is because it can’t get a grip. A jack and a shovel
are invaluable tools here. Put them to use and place debris around and (if possible) under your tires.
Almost any debris will do – sticks, rocks, grass, bark, etc. “Small branches work great, like snow shoes for mud, and the crossing branches grab your tire lugs,” says Mike Finch, 4WD content specialist. He also warns to keep in mind that “what goes under might come flinging out at odd angles. Stand clear and be aware.”
Your Bestop floor mats would also work splendidly to give your tires something solid to dig into. If you are using a jack, remember to place something solid underneath it as well.
The key to traction is torque, not horsepower. Sure, if you want to go mudding and be able to fling it all about with your deep-lugged super swamper tires, horsepower is great, but if you’re stuck you want more “oomph” and less spin. Switch into a lower gear and take it slow and easy.
When all else fails, grab your shovel and dig some trenches in front of your Jeep tires. Lay some sort of wooden plank or log down in the trenches, or just fill them with solid debris. Essentially, you have MacGyvered a road for your Jeep to pull itself up onto. Be sure the top of your “road” is level with the bottom of your tires and try to build it as far underneath them as possible.
If you’re just too deep in the muck and driving out is not an option, it’s time to get the winch or snatch line. “Tug and slack,” says Finch, “It’s an old tow truck driver trick. As you pull on mud, the tires develop suction. You need time to let the suction break, so load the line and wait for it to start to pull away: when the line starts to slack, add more tension.”
The tug and slack trick makes sure everyone gets out in one piece: your Bestop bumper stays put, your winch doesn’t overload and your suspension remains intact. If you just keep pulling, all of the above might break.
If none of these tips work, it’s probably time to call for a tow.