Whether you are a four wheeler or just adventurous road tripper, everyone gets stuck in snow or mud at some point. Sometimes you can call AAA for help but much of the time, you are on your own. If this happens to you, there are many tools that can save the day if you have them with you. Let’s run through a few of them.
A shovel is probably the single most useful tool for getting a vehicle unstuck. Often it may be the only tool that you need. Shovels are large items so to save space you have 2 options. First, you can take a garden shovel and cut down the handle so it will fit where your spare tire is or, second, you can get a folding shovel. Folding shovels are probably the best option because they are designed to lie flat and thus are easy to stow in your vehicle.
A piece of carpet
Once you’ve removed the snow or mud away from the front of your tire, you can slide a strip of carpet in front of it to gain some traction. Sticks and branches you find might also work. The technique is to get these items under the spinning tire and then press on the accelerator slowly to climb out.
Molded plastic recovery tracks
Even better than a piece of carpet are molded plastic recovery tracks. These are designed for maximum traction when slipped under a spinning tire. A popular one is made by MaxTrax but they are a bit expensive. There are cheaper alternatives that you can find on the internet.
A hi-lift jack is a recovery gear staple on most four wheel rigs. The factory tire jacks that come with your truck are fine for jacking up your car when on the road but are wholly inadequate when off-road.
A tow strap is a very hand option to have. With a tow strap, you can attach one end to your vehicle and one end to a recovery vehicle. Get one that has tow hooks and is rated at least 10,000 pounds. By the way, only connect a tow strap between tow hooks or automobile frames, never to the body or bumpers as they will be far to flimsy to pull a car with.
The service manager at Pollard Jeep in Boulder, CO, a full service Jeep dealer, highly recommends investing in a front mounted winch if you frequently go off-road. A winch and proper recovery gear including a tree saver strap and tow straps can pull your 4×4 out of just about any situation.
Snow chains or straps
Today’s snow chains can be easily installed. It’s not like the old days when it was best to jack you vehicle up to put the chains on.
You know Murphys law, the next time you get stuck, it will be at night. A flashlight will be the toll that will make the process a great deal easier.