How to Free a Car Stuck in the Mud

Muddy roads can be treacherous for cars.
Muddy roads can be treacherous for cars.

Attempting to navigate a wet, muddy road can be very nerve-racking for even the most experienced drivers, but if you ever find your car stuck in the mud, tires spinning to no avail, don't panic. Calling a tow truck to pull your car out of the mud can be frustrating, time-consuming, and expensive, but it may not be necessary if you know a few tricks to free your car from the mud on your own.


    • 1

      Ask any passengers to get out of the car and stand a safe distance away. This will reduce the weight of the vehicle, making it less likely to sink deeper into the mud as you try to get unstuck, and will also keep your passengers safe from any mud or other loose debris that may fly out from under the tires as you accelerate.

    • 2

      Turn your steering wheel back and forth a few times to clear space around the tires. Your car is much more likely to move if the tires have someplace to go rather than being confined to a muddy hole.

    • 3

      Accelerate very slowly. Flooring the gas pedal will only serve to dig your tires deeper into the mud; if you go as slowly as possible, the weight of the vehicle can work in your favor to help the tires find traction. If the car isn't able to move forward, shift into reverse and accelerate lightly.

    • 4

      Dig out a small area around the tires, and then place some gravel or small sticks underneath the tires to provide traction. An old blanket or the car's floor mats will also work if no other materials are available. Get back into the car and accelerate slowly once again until you feel the tires beginning to grip the items you've just put down, then continue to accelerate until you've driven out of the hole.

    • 5

      Drive slowly to allow your tires to shed the mud from their treads once you're back on safe, solid ground. When the majority of the caked-on mud is gone, you can resume driving at a normal speed. You may want to stop at a gas station or other safe place to check your car for damage. Your brake line is particularly vulnerable, and if damaged will need to be fixed as soon as possible.

Tips & Warnings

  • Non-clumping cat litter is an excellent traction aid in both mud and snow. Keeping a bag in your trunk can help you get out of similar situations much more quickly in the future.

  • Mud can hold moisture against the metal of your car's wheels and undercarriage, leading to corrosion. Prevent this from happening by washing your car as soon as possible after a muddy ordeal.

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  • Photo Credit Mud image by lefebvre_jonathan from


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