Not all mud is created equal.
There is an endless list of types of mud you can come across when you are 4×4 off-roading. Anything from the thick, heavy sticky mud to the watery, slippery mud. Each condition needs a certain amount of 4×4 Technique and skill to get through. There are a few key principles that will stand you in good stead, regardless of which mud you come across.
Although there’s no way of knowing what type of mud terrain you’re going to come across. There are several points to bear in mind that don’t change. We look at three key points you need to think about before, during and after attempting mud terrain.
4X4 Tyres come in many different designs, and in this case the obvious choice is mud terrain tyres. Mud terrain tyres have treads that have large lugs. This enables them to self clean as the mud can easily escape the crevices of the tyre. If it didn’t the tread would become clogged with mud, losing your ability to grip and resulting in loss of traction and loss of effective movement. This is when you start to spin and you find yourself in a sticky situation.
Because of the unpredictability of mud, and the fact that you need to use different driving techniques depending on the mud type, if you can, it’s a good idea to stop your 4×4 and look first. Get out of your vehicle and have a look at the type and depth of mud you’re dealing with. Are there any tyre tracks from previous vehicles? If the tracks don’t look too deep it might be a good idea to follow the same ruts, or if they’re too deep you can try and straddle them without slipping.
Lower your tyres a little to help with traction, but not as much as you would if you were driving in sand. If the mud has a solid base you can keep your pressures higher.
Once your driving through the mud, the best 4×4 techniques are to keep the revs up and avoid any gear changes. If you lose traction and start to spin in the mud, sometimes this motion will help spin out some of the mud from the tyre and actually help your tyre to grip. But if this happens and you lose momentum you may need to see-saw. See-sawing is when you steer the stearing wheel left and right quickly to try and gain extra traction.
Clean your vehicle. This is so important. As soon as you can give your vehicle a good clean. Not just to unclog any blocked tyres, but to minimise corrosion, rust damage and damage to the paintwork. This will massively reduce your risk of problems down the line. Vehicles just don’t like mud. You wouldn’t want dry crusty mud on you and neither does you 4×4.
If you’re planning an off-road trip and you know there’s a chance you’re going to come across mud, then mud terrain tyres are going to be the main thing that will prevent you getting stuck
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