How to properly recover a vehicle while off-roading

How to properly recover a vehicle while off-roading

No matter what vehicle you drive over tough terrain, at some point nature will be unforgiving and you will get stuck. This is where equipping your off-roader with the right tools comes into play. With so much equipment out there, let's cover what you need to properly recover a vehicle.

If you like to tackle desert trails, then you may encounter deep sand which gives way under you. If you’re in a snowy area, then grip on hills may be troublesome and leave you in a trench when sliding off-course. Or you might hit some rocky terrains on a rock crawling trail and lodge yourself on a rock – So here are the steps to properly recover a vehicle while off-roading:

 Stuck in Mud, Snow or Sand? 

Each of these can offer similar steps on getting out of trouble. With the main issues coming from lack of surface grip and getting high-pointed. High pointing is where the axle is lodged on a mound or rock and wheels have nothing to grip onto. 

As your tires start to slip on these surfaces, you end up with spinning wheels and not moving anywhere. This is due to the loose and slippery materials you’re up against. The number one advice is to improve grip between the tires and the surface.

Switching into 4-wheel drive and locking the axles. 

Although this might be difficult when not moving, it will get you into a better position if at least one of the tires has traction and drive. If you’re also able to lock your differential, then wheels spin at the same time, aiding in better traction.

Improve traction using items nearby.

     If you’re able to find any, nearby rocks and sticks are ideal for pushing under the tires to improve traction. It’s also good to have recovery boards on you at all times in case this happens. They immediately increase traction and get you going in no time. Letting air out of the tires may provide you with better grip too.

    Dig around the wheels

    Allowing more space for the wheels to rock back and forth will give you momentum to get moving. Equipping yourself with a shovel is a great start to dig away sand, snow, and mud. After digging, adding sticks and rocks around the wheels makes it easier to maneuver out.

    These methods not working? Then Tow the vehicle.

    Most off-roaders drive in groups or are equipped with a winch. Both of these are ideal ways to get out of trouble. As they provide the most force and are most likely to set you free. Along with another vehicle, you will need the following to get yourself free: 


    A soft shackle rope is a great way to protect your bodywork and paint whilst having the strength to pull you out of danger. They offer incredible strength with high grade 12 strand rope and are a much lighter and stronger material than steel ropes. The SRQ Fabrications 3/8” soft shackle has a waterproof design and works up to 8,700LBS. Suitable for any vehicle that needs recovering. 

    Kinetic Rope 

    Pairing with a Kinetic Rope will also get you recovered in no time. Using the latest material science, the lightweight design uses kinetic energy build-up to get vehicles unstuck. Yanking a vehicle free by a buildup of energy from the recovery vehicle pulling the rope. 

    SRQ Fabrications use a bright red 7/8” Kinetic rope for clear visibility in mud, sand, and snow. Ideal for the new 6th gen Bronco as the quirky styling of the new Ford Bronco combined with the brightly colored kinetic rope can get you out of trouble, whilst looking the part too!

    Advantages of Kinetic Ropes 

    Advantages with a kinetic rope is that smaller vehicles can often pull heavier vehicles, which would not be possible in a static rope. Winching may be useful, but steel cables can sometimes jerk and snap if not used correctly. With a kinetic ropes lightweight construction, they often are stronger and safer than steel ropes.

    How to Recover Using Kinetic Ropes

    Making sure you have the right circumstances for a kinetic rope recovery is important. You need space for the recovery vehicle to build momentum and to stop again. With both vehicles requiring points for mounting your ropes that can endure the high forces involved.

    The recovery vehicle needs to be in line with the vehicle that’s stuck too. With roughly a distance apart which is the same as the length of the recovery rope. Attach the kinetic rope to the recovery points which are defined in the owner’s manual, or part of your off-road equipment. 

    For example, the 6th gen bronco armor and aftermarket bumpers may be suitable for attaching a shackle and kinetic rope to, as they are mounted to the vehicle chassis. It’s important to not mount the rope to a standard ball hitch as they may be torn away and sent through the air causing possible accidents. Connecting the rope to the shackles you are ready to begin pulling. 

    With the vehicle that’s stuck, this needs to be in Neutral gear, with the recovery vehicle in first gear. Pull forward to slowly tighten the rope, then reverse a bit to allow some slack. This makes the recovery vehicle able to drive out the way from the vehicle that’s stuck, helping with momentum build-up on the rope. 

    Put a damper (winch line dampers, mats or blankets can be used) on the stretched rope to prevent it from flying away if it snaps. As the built-up tension can cause serious damage if it’s sent flying through the air. 

    Now the recovery vehicle can drive forward and tug the stuck vehicle slightly, setting it free. If the vehicle is still stuck, then repeat the process and back up the recovery vehicle. With slightly more gas each time. It’s important to not have too much slack on the rope as more than 25% of the length of the rope causes damage to the rope and increases the risk of snapping due to over tension. Then you are set free! 

    Make sure you pick up your off-road adventure gear at SRQ Fabrications! With a host of experience in the off-road space, we offer the highest quality Shackles, Ropes and accessories to get you unstuck in no time! No matter what vehicle you drive over tough terrain, at some point nature will be unforgiving and you will get stuck. This is where equipping your off-roader with the right tools comes into play. With so much equipment out there, lets cover what you need to properly recover a vehicle.