As a freedom-loving, red-blooded, beer-guzzlin’ American, one of the best things I love about riding an ATV is the freedom to travel almost any kind of terrain.
The key word here is almost.
Although I do suffer from an inflated ego – I’m not superman and neither is my ATV. I can’t fly, can’t travel underwater, up a cliff, or through really deep mud. While flying, submarining, and scaling cliffs are impossibilities, deep mud happens to be a way of life here for ATVers in the Mississippi valley.
Although getting stuck is part of the ATV’n experience, it can still place a pause on the fun. However, some people take it as a challenge to go through muddy terrain without getting stuck. Others love the challenge of figuring out how to get their ATV unstuck.
Either way, there is always a chance for you to get your ATV stuck in the mud. So might as well learn how to properly remove it from the deep mud. Here’s how you can properly do that.
When things go sideways, most rider’s instincts are to shut off their ATV right away. If you have a snorkel, or your hood isn’t submerged, you’ll want to keep the engine running, at least until you can assess the situation. Although you’re not moving, that will help prevent mud to get into your exhaust, transmission, and other parts of your ATV.
Next carefully assess your situation, and formulate a plan to get yourself unstuck. Sounds simple, but each situation is unique, so the proper removal of your ATV will depend on your available resources plus your current situation.
The best thing to do is observe and ask yourself some basic questions. Like which tires are stuck in the mud. Is it submerged beneath the intake? What tools do you have in hand? Is there someone who can help? Now that you know your situation, you can get on to the next step.
Mud is crafty. It has a mind of it’s own, and it’s hungry! By that I mean it will consume your vehicle whole if you let it!
If the mud is deep enough, it will create a airtight seal around a submerged vehicle and unless that seal is broken, any effort to jostle it free will only get it stuck further. In order to break this death grip, you need to lever it out while creating an pocket of air underneath your ATV jar it loose.
Well how the hell do you do that Fred?
By using a thick gauge PVC pipe as a lever – that’s how!
By using a properly-placed, heavy gauge PVC, or metal pipe as a lever, your vehicle is lifted up while simultaneously pumping air into a pocket below the ATV. If it works, you can throttle the gas and scootch your way out of the mud thereby freeing your all terrain vehicle for further misadventures!
NOTE: Big thanks to our friend John Reynaud for this little tidbit. As the owner of a towing company in Minneapolis on the north end of the might Mississippi he’s been using this little trick for years to free drivers stuck in ditches on the byways in St Paul – more on that in a minute…
If all the muscle, might, motors, and PVC pipes are unable to dislodge your ATV, you’ll need to call in the heavy guns – namely an ATV winch.
If you don’t have one already, you’re going to want to have a winch mounted to the frame of your ATV. Believe me, it will come in handy in various situations including getting stuck in the mud. A decent quality winch with a rated capacity between 2-4 tons, will cost you a couple of hundred dollars but you’d surely be willing to pay even double that amount when you find yourself in sticky situations.
When using your winch and connecting your ATV, make sure to carefully select something solid to adhere the hook-end of the winch cable to. Make sure that it is capable of pulling your vehicle out without moving – and whatever you do – take it slowly.
Don’t rush or you or your ATV could be damaged.
Aside from the winch, you should also think about carrying some other useful tools while taking your adventure. Sure it can cost you some weight but that would be worth it in different cases. Some of the most essential tools that you should think about bringing are a shovel, a pull strap, a tree saw, and many others.
As a freedom-loving, red-blooded, beer-guzzlin’ American, the last thing I want to do is call for help. Dammit I’d rather slam my fingers in a door jam.
But there are times when it must be done.
Again I refer back to my friend John the Tow Truck Driver who saved our rear when we got our ATVs submerged in mud and water on Foxy Loop trail north of Minneapolis in Carlton County two years ago.
Despite our best efforts to cajole a UTV rental out of the mud, it wasn’t budging – so a local tow truck company was called which happened to have an eight ton beast-of-a-winch that could’ve ripped a 200-year oak stump out of the ground.
Using the PVC technique described above, the UTV was gently jostled free. Luckily we were a few hundred feet from a connecting road that the wrecker truck was to get to us on the trail.
Although the exact process of getting your ATV unstuck will vary from one situation to another, here are a few tips that should help avoid getting stuck in mud.
If you already know that you are going to pass through a mud hole, it is best to prepare for it. One thing you should do is to keep your momentum but be careful. Prepare for a jolt because a sudden stop can cause you to move forward abruptly. The momentum can help you go through the mud hole but the impact can also throw you off so just be prepared. Once you’re there, just push through and don’t slow down to keep your momentum.
If you get stuck, one way that could help you get out of the situation is if you rock your bike forwards and backward. However, if that doesn’t seem to be working, you should know when to stop. If you keep on pushing your ATV without moving, you can burn the drive belt so be wary of any burnt rubber scent.
To help make sure that your ATV could better go through the mud, you can opt for tires that are specially designed to run on mud. Additionally, you should also make sure that your ATV is properly maintained. That way, it would have enough power to go through such obstacles.