How to Get Your Car Out of Mud

March 07, 2024
Car driving on a flooded highway.

If you’ve ever found yourself in this slippery, sinking situation, you know that getting your car out of the mud can be a maddening experience. Here are tips on how to avoid getting stuck, how to get your vehicle out of mud, and what not to do.

What to do when your car is stuck in mud

Follow these eight tips when getting your car out of the mud:

1. Get out of the car, but stay out of the road.

Before getting out of the car, check your surroundings and make sure that the road is safe. Keep an eye out for other drivers on the road. Stay off the road as much as possible when you’re trying to free your car from the mud. [1]

2. Try rocking your car.

When your car is deep in mud, sometimes you can try to rock your car back and forth to gain momentum and slowly accelerate out of it. Make sure you are in the lowest gear, accelerate forward slightly, then put the car in reverse and move backward. Repeat this until you can feel your car gaining the momentum to get out. Be careful not to damage your transmission by changing gears too quickly. [2]

3. Scoop out mud and clear the area.

Grab a shovel and try to clear out as much mud as possible around your tires. Flattening the space around the tires can help you gain momentum. If you don’t have a shovel, try using a different object or your hands to clear the mud away. Be careful to not dig too deep and create a bigger hole for your tires to sink into.

4. Create and gain traction.

The main problem could be that your wheels are buried too far into the mud. To solve that issue, you need to get traction. Try to slide a car floor mat, cardboard, blanket, or anything flat in front of the wheels. Get back into the car and try to slowly accelerate.

5. Redistribute the weight in your car.

If there are other people in the car with you, they can get out to lighten the weight; this may help avoid digging in deeper. If this doesn’t work, move several people to an area in the car that is over the stuck wheel. More weight could help with traction and help you get free. [3]

6. Let out some of the air from your tires.

If you still haven’t gotten any traction, try releasing a little air from your tires. After the air has been released, try step 4 again and see if you’re able to move. Don’t forget to reinflate your tires before you get back on the road. [1]

7. Use a tow rope or tow strap.

If there is another vehicle around to help, you can try this method only if you have 4×4 traction and a locking differential. You should check your car’s manual for specific instructions and safety precautions before attempting to get assistance from another vehicle with a tow rope/strap.  You shouldn’t try to attach to a tow ball, as it could snap and become a dangerous flying projectile. If you’re not sure you should try this, it’s best to call for help from a professional towing company. [2]

8. Get roadside assistance.

You can always call for a professional tow. Depending on your policy, you might have Roadside Assistance coverage. If you don’t have roadside assistance or another service like AAA, you’ll need call a nearby towing company directly for help.

What to avoid when your car is stuck in mud

When it comes to your car being stuck in the mud, here are the main 4 things you should avoid:

  1. Spinning your wheels: When your wheels spin, it only makes the problem worse. It can dig your car deeper into the mud and damage other parts of your car.
  2. Stopping your momentum: If your car starts to move forward, keep the momentum going and keep moving forward until your car is out of the mud.
  3. Forgetting to ask for help: Don’t hesitate to call a friend, a tow truck or another driver who could help get you out of the mud.
  4. Ignoring your surroundings: Stay off the road and make sure there aren’t any vehicles or pedestrians that can be affected by your actions.

Always be prepared for roadside emergencies

If you find yourself regularly driving off the road for festivals, concerts or shows, that means there are more chances to get stuck in the mud. Always be prepared and keep these useful tips in mind when driving in the mud or rain:

  • Use mudguards: Protect the sides and underneath of your car from mud, chips, and corrosion.
  • Use a lower gear: Shift to second or third gear in a manual transmission to drive at a steady pace.
  • Avoid sudden braking or accelerating: Accelerate or brake gently to keep from losing traction or skidding. [1]

It’s important to be prepared and hopefully avoid muddy situations. Always remember to protect your car and yourself while on the road with the right auto insurance for you.


[1] “How to Get Car Out of Mud – Follow These 7 Steps,” (Accessed Feb. 2024)

[2] “Car Stuck In Mud? Top 9 Things To Do [Ultimate 2021 Guide],” Don Hill, (Accessed Feb. 2024)

[3] “How to Get Your Car Unstuck From the Mud,” (accessed Dec. 2023)


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