Recovering Your Vehicle – What To Do If You Get Your 4×4 Stuck In The Mud

Make the most of the ease in lockdown restrictions and the summer weather, as Avalanche reopens to offer an exhilarating off road experience.

If you fancy a race through our muddy trails, then indulge in our action-packed 4×4 pay and play days out with your adventure buddies. After all, there is nothing more exciting than hopping in your off road vehicle and zooming around the UK’s most renowned off-road venues. Moreover, as social distancing measures are still in effect, you are likely to feel safer driving in your own 4×4. 

So come have fun and be adventurous at our off road tracks while you make the most of the warm summer weather

Book Your Slot to Drive Through Our Muddy Trails

At Avalanche Adventure, we offer monthly off roading sessions (keep an eye on our Facebook page for updates regarding future events), where our off road tracks are open for you to drive around in your 4×4 as you take on our exciting, muddy terrain.

However, whilst off-roading through the mud, there’s always the possibility of getting stuck. 

The good news is – along with offering you an experience like never before, we also provide assistance should your 4×4 get stuck in the mud. Since we have had firsthand experience in freeing up a 4×4 in one of our latest off-roading escapades, we have put together a handy little guide for you when you find yourself stuck.

Let’s dive in.

What to Do When About a 4×4 Stuck in the Mud?

What do I need for a tow strap?

Will this kit from Halfords do?

We get asked this a lot.

I know, I may get stuck, I want to have the right gear, there are loads of all kinds of ratings and all kinds of costs and brands. So what do I go buy?

There is a lot of science and study behind this, but here is a pretty much in a nutshell guide to point you in the right direction for what you need for you.

That’s important – what you need for you.

The weight of your truck, do you need a tow along a tarmac road or do you need to be pulled out of a pit of mud that’s up to the bonnet?

In reality, if you buy a kit that is rated to a higher rating than you need, you’ll spend more than you perhaps needed to.  

But often it’s not going to be much more in reality; it will probably be more durable, better made, will last longer and will do what it says.

As we’ll see, the forces involved here can be huge and the repercussions when kit fails can literally be deadly.  So when eBay says this 20 tonne rated shackle for £10 quid is a bargain and it looks a bit weedy in the picture, it’s probably not a good deal.

But nor is the shackle for £100 that could tow a tank!

How Much Force?

This is from an Australian company, Just Straps and nicely matches military guidelines.


Disco 2, 2.5T, add fuel, driver, some tools, let’s say 3 tonnes.

Stuck on solid but wet grass, it’s a 3.3T roughly tow, so items rated to 4T is fine.

Now, our Disco, flat muddy field, bogs down to the axles, it’s a 6T recovery.

Perhaps it’s on a bit of a hill, 7T.

What about this one?


3T, silty deep mud, past the floor pan, and a drop/slope behind the rear wheel.

10T? 12T? Maybe more.

12,000 kilos of force to shift that backwards.

Chains and the Weakest Link

Your truck will connect to a “rope” (of whatever sort) by a shackle.

The other end will go to another shackle and to another truck.

(If you are winching your 4×4 out of the mud, no other truck)

So there are truck recovery points, shackles and rope/strap/ winch cables.

One of those will be the weakest link and under enough load, will fail.

Will the level of load exceed the level of force required to get you out?

Arguably, in all of this, we want the weakest link to be the item that will do the least damage when it fails.

This will be the rope/strap/cable.

The potential energy in the recovery is stored in the rope/strap/cable.

It becomes like an elastic band.

If it’s a snatch strap, it is effectively an elastic band!

Metal winch cables will pingback. Ropes and straps less so.

If the Recovery point on your truck fails or the shackle fails, the rope/strap/cable will then whip that piece of metal through the air at great speed and energy.

So a 15T strap and a 20t shackle, on a little manufactured fitted recovery point, that point won’t last.

Manufacturers (bar something fancy) make recovery points to pull the vehicle on the tarmac, wet grass, maybe out of a ditch, so maybe a 5T limit?

As we’ve seen above, we can quickly exceed that.

Following on from the above-stuck truck.

Existing recovery points:

Default manufacturer recovery points and we estimate maybe 12T or more of force may be needed?


(link to download the video)

Looking carefully at the video, the rope and shackle have lasted, in this case, it’s the recovery point that failed.


And the result, thankfully no one injured but the chaps helping will need a new door.


Any time we are winching or recovering your vehicle like this, we should use a nice weighted winch blanket/winch sail.


If something breaks, it helps to pull the flying loose end down to the ground, not let it whiz through the air.

And we need to stand well clear!

Snatch straps and metal winch cables are the biggest risk items compared to winch ropes or straps in terms of behaving elastically.

A whipping metal cable in itself is a big risk.

Correctly high rated rope shackles are good and much less risk if they break compared to a metal shackle, but they are more money.

Rated Strengths

A shackle or rope with a “4T” rating is a safe working load of 4T.

It’s breaking load (depending on country and regulations) will be 4- 6 times higher.

In our case above, a 4T rated shackle is likely to be getting to its limit in this recovery and so at genuine risk of failure.

Age, wear, use can all reduce the strength compared to a brand new item.

On recovery points, pulling at different angles can also greatly affect its strength.

So In Closing

Your recovery points, shackles and straps/ropes can all be very quickly put under huge loads.

Solid recovery points are as essential in the chain as shackles and straps.

The forces involved in recovery can very quickly mount up to 4 or 5 times the weight of the truck.

That is a huge amount of stored energy if / when something breaks, so safety must be paramount at all times.

On every recovery, even if it seems simple, spend an extra few minutes just thinking and checking if everything is safe, secure, correctly set and if it fails, will it fail safely.

Get In Touch With Avalanche Adventure to Book Your Slots Today!

Now that we can enjoy more freedom of activity, it’s time to leave that couch of yours and go on an exhilarating adventure with friends and family.

At Avalanche Adventure, we are set to offer some much-needed fun at our activity centre based in Cambridgeshire and make sure that you have the time of your life.

We have opened up our activity centre for small groups of people. From clay pigeon shooting and off-road driving to DTV shredders, we have brought back all your favourite thrilling activities.

Given the situation, we have changed our approach to these gatherings. For all the present and future events, we’ve switched to a pre-booking system, meaning only a limited number of slots will be available.

So get in touch with our team and book your slots today!