If you’re dreaming of off-road adventures in your Dodge Ram, the last thing you want to do is make a rookie mistake. Mudding is a great way to blow off steam but it also requires some preparation and knowledge to be done safely. Follow these 15 tips and you’ll be a mudding pro in no time.
1. Fill up your tank
Sure it sounds basic, but who hasn’t been stranded by the side of the road with an empty gas tank at least once? When you’re off-roading in the middle of nowhere, it’s even more important to make sure your gas tank is full before you hit the mud.
2. Get the right type of tires
Your Dodge Ram can handle the mud, but if you’ve only driven to the grocery store before you better check your tires. Make sure your rig is sporting a high-quality set of all-terrain or mud-terrain tires before you head out mudding.
3. Don’t slow down
When you’re out in the mud, it’s easy to get stuck. Most newbies panic when they feel the tires sticking and slow down, which only makes the tires sink further into the mud. Try rocking the wheels from left to right to help the tires regain traction instead.
4. Don’t spin your wheels
If you’re well and truly stuck, it’s time to stop. The more you spin your wheels, the more stuck you’ll get. Get out of the truck and assess the situation instead of digging yourself in deeper.
5. Bring your shovel
One of the most important things to bring mudding is a shovel. If your wheels get stuck, you’ll be glad you brought it. Digging out your wheels is a great way to avoid having to be towed out of the mud.
6. Rock out your stuck truck
Before you give up and let your buddies tow you out, try rocking gently from drive to reverse. This motion can sometimes help free your tires from the mud and regain traction, and it’s a good last ditch attempt before giving in and accepting a tow.
7. Check your tow strap capacity
Odds are you’ll need to be towed out of the mud at least once so make life easier by having a tow rope handy that’s rated for at least double the weight of your truck. Your buddies will thank you—after they finish laughing at you.
8. Bring a spare tire (and know how to change it!)
Mudding can wreak havoc on tires, and it’s important to make sure you have a working spare and everything you need to change a tire before you head out on your next adventure. If you don’t know how to change a tire, now’s the time. It’s a lot easier to learn in your garage than it is in the middle of the mud.
9. Don’t be that guy (or gal)
It’s tempting to speed out into the mud and start spinning, but those impressive moves won’t last long. When you start spinning in mud, you’ll quickly lose control. Restrain your urge to spin and you’ll be glad you did when you’re not the one who ends up in a ditch (or on YouTube).
10. Be safe
Every car should have a first aid kit, but it’s even more important to be prepared before you go mudding. Minor injuries will happen and you don’t want to be caught unprepared. A charged cell phone in case of emergency is also important when you’re in cell range; two-way radios can work to keep you in touch with your buddies when you’re not.
11. Tell your friends
If you’re setting out on your own, make sure someone knows where you’ll be and when you’re planning to be home. A simple text or post on social media will let everyone know where you are in case you get hurt.
12. Bring the right gear
You may not be planning to stay overnight, but it’s important to make sure you can if the need arises. Stock your truck with basic survival gear like water, food, warm clothes, a sleeping bag and other basic necessities in case your truck breaks down or you end up stuck.
13. Keep your hands in the truck
It might be tempting to use your hands to push off a rock, but it’s a good way to lose an arm. Keep your hands (and legs!) in the truck when you’re mudding.
14. Test the mud
Before you ride into the mud, use a stick to test its depth. If it’s six inches or deeper, it can easily swallow up your tires. Stick to shallower mud and avoid mud holes that will suck in your tires in no time.
15. Wear your flip flops
Especially the cheap ones. You’re going to lose them when you have to hook up the tow rope, anyway.