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How to Avoid Getting Stuck on Tough Trails

For me, it's always been about preparation, and the more prepared I can be each week, the less pressure I feel and the more confident I am. As your confidence grows, it's only natural that the pressure you feel diminishes. 

Aaron Rodgers

When you decide to veer off the beaten path and drive the road less traveled (if there is indeed a road at all), it can be a tremendous rush. Unfortunately, without the proper equipment and gear, that rush can be squelched quickly. Being prepared is important, and that means knowing what to do when, and if, you encounter a sticky situation when off-roading. Nobody wants to get stuck in the mud, but it still happens to a lot of us. 

When Should You Shift into 4WD?

You’ll want to shift into 4WD (or lock the center differential in the case of all-wheel drive vehicles). It might seem a little early, but this goes back to what we said above about planning. Shifting early means not only will you not forget to do it later, but because shifting once your back tires begin to spin it may already be too late.

Some challenging trails will require the added control that 4WD Low-Range provides. In this gear set, the power of the engine will be put through another set of gears before it reaches the wheels, allowing for a slower drive but more torque at the wheels, allowing you to pass over obstacles you would otherwise be unable to pass over with gear set featuring less torque.

The type of terrain will influence which gear set you use on tough trails. While driving over rocks in a 4 x 4, you’ll want to go slow and drive in first gear. When driving over soft soil or sand, you need more momentum to avoid getting stuck, which means you should be in a higher gear for this type of terrain. And then there’s mud. Depending on how deep and wet the mud is, you may need to stay in a higher gear to be able to drive through it without getting stuck. It may seem counter-intuitive, but shifting your engine into high gear will provide the centrifugal force necessary to clear mud and debris from your tires and allow the treads on your tires to bite deeper.

What if You Still Get Stuck?

No matter how prepared you are, you may find yourself stuck in the mud from time to time. That’s why you should always bring with you a winch and some high-quality recovery gear like the one offered by GearAmerica. Our company was founded on the longstanding love of adventure, and we know that adventures can sometimes go awry. All of our recovery gear is premium quality and comes with hassle-free lifetime replacement.

Off-roading is a blast, and the more you do it, the better you’ll get at handling sticky situations. No matter how experienced you are, you should always be prepared. You may even be the hero of the day by helping a fellow off-roader get back on the trail. Bring recovery gear and a winch set and getting your vehicle unstuck will be a breeze.