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Never Get Your Rig Stuck in Mud Again
Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.
Bryan Rogala gives some quick advice for driving your adventure vehicle through the muck.
BRYAN ROGALA: Hey, everybody, Bryan Rogala here for Outside. This is The 101. Today, I want to take a quick second to talk to you about mud-- yeah, mud. So I'm out turkey hunting this morning. It's actually May if you can believe that. It's snowing on me right now.
Quickly realized that the road I usually take to get out here, which is a relatively benign Forest Service road is completely soaked. And there's about two inches of mud. Now, if you know how to drive in mud or you have the right equipment for it, it's not a big deal. So I just wanted to take a second and go over that with you. OK, so you'll hear a lot of people talk about lockers and limited slips. The moral of the story is you really don't need that unless you're going to do some serious hardcore off-road driving. The biggest thing you need to increase traction is actually your tires.
So case in point, these are BFGoodrich all terrain T/A KO2s. They're a pretty classic all terrain tire. It's what I recommend to anybody who's looking to add a little more capability to whatever rig they drive. I put these in Outside's Buyer's Guide this year. And one of the reasons I did that is because they're available in a ton of sizes. You'd be really hard pressed to not find one that would fit your vehicle, whether it's a Subaru, a truck, Sprinter van, or whatever.
Now, admittedly, the KO2 is not the best tire for mud. BFGoodrich actually makes a specific mud terrain tire, as do a bunch of other brands. But here's the thing with those mud terrain tires. Unless you're driving in this kind of gumbo mud every single day, you're going to compromise a lot. They're going to be a lot louder on the highway and get worse gas mileage. So if you're just concerned about getting down a dirt road, maybe even when it's a little muddy like this, an all terrain tire is what you need.
All right, now let's talk about something else real quick. When it comes to floor liners, ditch whatever carpet mats your vehicle came with. Don't mess around with that. You'll never get them clean again if you're dealing with a lot of mud. I like Husky liners because they're actually trays, so it keeps all the mud and the gunk and the water and stuff on the mat. And it doesn't run off and into your vehicle.
One other thing that can help when you are dealing with really slick, muddy conditions, and you can do this with any tire, any vehicle-- it doesn't matter what you've got-- is actually lower the tire pressure. It's like airing down your mountain bike tires-- same basic concept. Not only do you get a little more traction, but it actually makes the ride smoother off road as well. Well, that only works if you have an air compressor and can fill them back up afterwards, which is what I'm doing right now. You want to make sure you do that when you get back on the street.
OK, and here's my last tip for dealing with mud. And that's when it comes to actually driving through it. This is one of those times if you've got a traction control button in your car, you might want to disable that. Oftentimes, that's the better way to go because it's going to help clear mud out of the grooves in the tread of the tire. Also, you want to keep your momentum going, especially if you're going up a slight hill or if you feel the car start to slip.
Oftentimes, the gut reaction is to slow up, take your foot off the gas. But that's not going to help you any. You're going to lose your momentum. Then when you try to get going again, you're just going to spin those wheels. All right, those are some quick tips. This is The 101. We'll see you next time.