If you’re part of a convoy of 4×4s and you manage to get stuck, it’s not quite ideal but at least you have some backup to help you out of your predicament. Getting your 4×4 stuck in the middle of the gramadoelas on your own, however… well, that’s a whole lot more tricky.
It started as another great day in Africa: Oom Frikkie and Auntie Beryl were traversing the Moremi National Park in Botswana, in their 4×4 bakkie. Then Oom Frikkie decided to head off on a twee-spoor track because it was, clearly, a shortcut. Auntie Beryl protested, mentioning lions and death and so on. Oom Frikkie, of course, carried on regardless. Then, around a bend, a long stretch of mud presented itself. Exactly three seconds later, the bakkie was buried up to its axles in the mud. So, how will Oom Frikkie and a rather upset Auntie Beryl get out of this predicament?
4×4 Mega World’s Kurt Brunner says:
Start praying and call a marriage counsellor are my first thoughts. There are numerous possibilities that come into play. Let’s start with the easy scenario: if the vehicle is equipped with a winch and there are trees nearby, a simple winching exercise – using the correct equipment (tree trunk protector, shackles snatch block and so on) – needs to be undertaken. What many people forget is to open the vehicle’s bonnet and let the engine idle while using the winch, as it draws tremendous amps. The open bonnet will protect the windshield in the unlikely event of cable failure.
If you’re not the owner of a winch, then a high lift jack will do exactly the same job, but will obviously take longer. Attach one end of the jack to the tree trunk protector with a shackle, and the other end to a recovery/tow strap, which in turn is attached to the vehicle’s recovery point. Now simply start cranking the handle. You will be able to pull the vehicle 1.2m at a time if you have a 1.2m jack. This method takes effort but is extremely effective. Again, provided there are trees or substantial rocks to anchor your winch process. If you are irresponsible enough to have ventured overland without a winch or high lift jack, you’re in trouble. The vehicle must be jacked up one wheel at a time (no digging) and sand tracks placed under the wheels. The problem is most people, if they have such tracks, only have a pair.
Just two wheels will have traction. The second problem is that these tracks can get pushed down into the mud by the weight of the vehicle, rendering them useless. However, if the mud isn’t too deep and wet, you may have success. If you don’t have sand tracks, branches are your next best bet. Provided you have an axe or saw and branches to cut. Do you see where this is going? Don’t drive through mud because it gets everywhere, including in the brakes, propshaft, protection plates, differential breathers, radiator fins, and so on. Dry mud throws your wheel alignment out. But the most important piece of advice is always: go prepared with all the necessary equipment. It’s the responsible thing to do, and Auntie Beryl will definitely agree.
Here’s a video of what NOT to do when stuck in the mud.