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A Guide to Tackling Mud When Off-Road

 photo by Lorado via iStock

Not many things are more fun than tackling mud when off-roading – at least while having your pants on. Mud is one of few terrains in which a bit of extra throttle is encouraged and the slippery nature of it means you will be skidding around really quick. 

Mud can bring your 4WD to a halt though and as with everything, there are a few tips that if implemented will make tackling the nasty stuff far easier. 

In today’s guide, we go through those tips to help you have more fun in the mud and avoid getting covered in it while trying to recover your rig! 

Vehicle Setup for Tackling Mud When Off-Road

Close up of muddy tires tackling mud when off-roading

 photo by nuwatphoto via iStock

As with all types of difficult terrain, you will want to drop your tire pressures and engage 4WD when tackling mud when off-roading. This will help increase the amount of grip you have available. If you know you will be driving in muddy terrain for the majority of the time, consider changing to a set of mud-terrain tires. 

Have a Good Look at the Track

Jeep Driving through muddy water

 photo by shaunl via iStock

Grab a stick and poke around the track, have a feel of how soft the bottom is, and check for any rocks or large pieces of wood that may have been used for added traction in the past and maybe too big for your vehicle to drive over. 

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Driving Tips for Tackling Mud When Off-Road

Jeep tackling mud when off-roading

 photo by RichLegg via iStock

Now the fun begins, in an auto use the manual gear selector to select first or second gear. If you have an older style auto use the L position on the shifter or the second gear start. In a manual transmission select first or second gear. Use first gear on a muddy section that has turns that do not allow for increased speeds. On steep inclines and straight tracks opt for the higher wheel speed second gear has to offer. 

Most times the track will have a set of ruts made by the vehicles that have crossed in the past, it’s better to stay in those ruts because chances are you’re going to slip in them anyway. The only reason to try and straddle the ruts is when they are too deep for your vehicle’s available ground clearance.

When tackling mud when off-roading, ease your front tires into the mud, you don’t want to enter like a mad man because you are most probably going to break something. As soon as your rear tires start descending into the hole that is when you want to apply some throttle. Don’t go full send though, the key is to use enough to not get stuck but not so much you may break something or stress your vehicle unnecessarily.

If you get stuck, don’t panic – let off the throttle immediately to avoid digging four big holes, then grab reverse. Drive backward as far as you can and then come back forwards. Do this a few times and you will notice that every time you end up getting stuck a little further up the mud hole. With enough patience, you will make it out of the mud hole without having to get into the mud and recover your vehicle. 

Another very effective tip is to turn the wheel left and right while on the throttle, this will force the sidewalls of the tires against the side of the ruts and the additional grip may be all you need to get going again. 

Memorize the tips mentioned above and you will decrease the times you have to get into the mud to recover your vehicle; plus, your mates will be left wondering how you can wheel so well!!

What do you think? Have we left any crucial tips behind?

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