This is What You Need to Do if Your Car is Stuck in Mud

truck stuck in mudIn 2019, 93.3% of US households have access to at least one car. Over 225 million people are licensed to drive in the US.

Of all those people who are ready to hit the open road, how many know how to deal with potential car trouble or fix minor problems on their own? How many know how to get themselves out of a jam?

Let’s say you’re driving on an unpaved road or back out of the driveway and into the yard. Your tires get stuck in mud. What do you do?

Read on to find out how to get your car out of the mud in a few easy steps.

Don’t Get Yourself More Stuck in Mud

The moment you realize that you’re stuck in the mud, turn off the car and think for a moment. Don’t panic and don’t hit the gas.

The primary issue is that the tire or tires that are stuck in mud don’t have any traction. No matter how hard you accelerate, your tires are going to spin without moving you forward or backward. The faster your tires are spinning, the less like it is that they’re going to grab onto the mud and gain traction.

If you do this, you’ll see mud go flying every which way. Chances are, you’re digging yourself into a deeper hole, which will make it even harder to get out of.

Give Your Tires More Space

You don’t want to stir up the mud in a way that causes you to sink further. However, you do want to give your tires more space.

Slowly turn the wheel left and right a few times to widen the space on either side of your tire. If you’re willing to do some dirty work, get out and scoop away some of the mud in front of the stuck tire. The idea is to create a nice slope so that you’re not trying to jump a wall of mud.

Get Gritty

One way to gain traction in the mud is to lay a gritty material around the tire. If you have access to sand, mulch, or even kitty litter, that could do the trick.

Scatter a healthy heaping in front of the stuck tire. For good measure, cover the muddy area on the sides and behind the tire, as well. This will give the grooves of your tire something to hold on to and will soak up some of the moisture in the mud.

Lay The Groundwork

Okay, so you don’t have a ten-pound bag of kitty litter in your trunk. You probably have something that will do the trick, even if it’s the car mats from your driver and passenger seats.

Large pieces of cardboard, flat pieces of wood, or blankets and towels could do the trick. If you’re near a wooded area, you could even gather a large bundle of sticks. (Be careful of sharp edges that could pop your tire.)

Wedge your material between the mud and the front end of your tire. Ideally, the material will have enough surface area to cover the mud from the front of your tire to the top of the slope you’ve created.

If you’re stuck and have someone there to help you, get back in the driver’s seat and start the engine. Very lightly accelerate while your helper applies pressure to the material, pushing it towards the front of the stuck tire. This can help to wedge the material further under the tire, but not that it needs to be done with great care and extreme caution.

Once the material is firmly wedged underneath the tire and your helper has cleared the area, slowly accelerate. Hopefully, this will get you out of the rut.


If the traction you’ve created wasn’t enough, you may need to increase the surface area of your tire and increase the pressure on it caused by your car. In other words, you may need to let a little air out of the tire or tires that are stuck.

With your cardboard, wood, or other traction-creating materials in place, deflate your tires enough that you see a slight sagging but not so much that they’re flat. Once again, try accelerating very slowly to climb out of the mud.

Gain Momentum

This is never our first move because it’s not great for the transmission, but it’s a good last resort. If nothing else is keeping your tires from spinning out, add a bit of momentum.

You may be tempted to switch between drive and reverse to get the car rocking, but this is absolutely a bad move for your transmission. Instead, pause between accelerations. Accelerate for three counts, pause for two, accelerate for three counts again, and pause for two.

After the second or third pause, accelerate a bit harder and keep your foot on the gas longer. The extra momentum may be the push you needed to get you up and out of the mud.

If All Else Fails, Call in the Tow Truck

Going through this series of steps should get you out of the mud. If it doesn’t, you’re going to have to kiss a few bucks goodbye and call in the professionals.

Know Your Car

Whether you’re stuck in mud or noticing lights on the dash that you’ve never seen before, it’s good to know your car.

That’s why we’ve compiled every car manual we could find. Maybe you’ve misplaced your physical copy or the person who sold you your car threw it out. We’re not here to judge, we’re here to help!

Visit our online library of car manuals and find yours today!