Face it, you’re gonna get stuck sometime. Whether it’s thanks to bigger ruts than you were expecting, some mud that’s a little too deep, an issue with rocks, or even broken equipment, it’s inevitable that your truck will get stuck on the trail at some point. If it doesn’t, then you’re probably not off-roading hard enough. Instead of taking it easy, get some skills to recover your truck no matter what happens. A little preparation and a few extra tools and supplies will give you the best chance of getting out of a sticky situation and make it a good story for later rather than a complete failure.
RELATED: Tow Like a Pro With These 6 Tips
Keep a Floor Jack With You
They might be bulky and a pain to carry around, but the tried and true floor jack can get you out of a lot of bad situations without too much trouble. Floor jacks not only have great reach, but the longer bases allow them more stability than a standard bottle jack.
Use the floor jack by itself, or place it on wood or large rocks to change larger tires or move axles out of the way to clear rocks and debris. Any way you use it. A floor jack is definitely a necessity.
Get a Winch
This point gets covered over and over, but for very good reason. While choosing the right winch
can be difficult, and they’re far from cheap, a good winch is the single best recovery tool you can keep with you. A good rule of thumb for choosing the right capacity winch is the 1 ½ rule, which says your winch’s weight rating should be 1 ½ the total weight of your fully loaded rig. This will account for mud and other obstacles
you need to overcome with the winch.
Use a Recovery Strap Safely
Speaking of towing yourself out of places, winches aren’t the only way to get un-stuck. Recovery straps are a great way to use one vehicle to pull another one out, no winch required. Purchase a good set of recovery straps in the 2-3-inch wide size, and follow the instructions on the package. We’re talking about recovery straps here, and not tow straps. Recovery straps have some stretch to them and do not have metal hooks on the end. Recovery straps are made for this type of heavy-duty work.
Rolling Your Truck
No matter how safe you are and how well you plan, if you’re driving over extreme terrain it’s always possible to roll your truck over. This doesn’t mean your truck is done for, but it does mean you have to do a little work. Before rolling the truck right-side up, get out and make sure you’re ok and don’t have any injuries. If it’s someone else you saw roll their truck, do the same.
Once everyone is OK, use your recovery straps or a winch to set the truck right-side up. This ideally should be done with two winches or recovery vehicles so the truck can be eased down from both sides, to avoid any further damage, but in a pinch one will do. The biggest thing the rollover probably did was to empty your truck of its fluids. Make sure to check every fluid in your truck before continuing. Once those are checked, you need to worry about the gas and oil that may have leaked into your cylinders. A good tip to fix this is to remove the spark plugs and crank the engine a few times. This should clear anything present. Not doing this may cause you to hydrolock your engine, which will definitely require a tow out for you.
Break it Before? Keep a Spare
The last tip here is probably the most useful. If you’ve owned your truck for a while you probably already know where its weaknesses are, meaning you’ve probably broken a thing or two already. If you know your truck has a weak spot that’s prone to break, keep a spare with you along with the tools to put it on. If you know you snap steering hydraulic lines, then keep a steering box cap with you. If you’ve broken a main leaf spring before, bite the bullet and put one behind your seat. The same goes for fittings, fuses, and battery terminals. If you’ve broken it before, keep a spare for the next time. Your friends might think you’re crazy keeping all those supplies with you, but the first time they need to borrow a leaf spring they will probably shut up pretty quickly.