Stuck or sliding wheels are a common occurrence when driving in an off-road truck.
Anyone who has been doing off-roading any amount of time already knows how easy it can be to spin your wheels when the conditions are right.
It is also no exaggeration that intentionally spinning your wheels or letting them keep spinning is detrimental in any situation, potentially damaging to an off-road truck, and even resulting in a deadly accident.
Learn here why it is so bad to spin the tires on your 4x4 in various situations and what should be done instead.
Spinning Tires On Soft Surfaces
Whether driving an off-road truck or Jeep through mud, on the sand, or in the snow, getting stuck is always a possibility and getting unstuck takes some skill.
The one thing that is not going to help is gunning the accelerator and spinning the tires faster.
In mud and sand, the tires will just dig in and make your 4x4 even more stuck than before.
On snow, spinning tires create friction that produces a coating of ice under the tires, thus removing any chance of gaining traction.
There only ways out of all of these situations include:
Skillfully rocking the vehicle.
Using the winch on another off-road truck.
Do not make winching even harder by spinning deeper.
Losing Traction Going Uphill
One of the more dangerous scenarios to be in when tires start spinning is moving uphill.
When starting to lose traction while climbing a hill in an off-road truck, stepping on the gas and making the tires spin more is not going to get you further up that hill.
In reality, it is more likely to cause a sideways drift instead which can be deadly if that causes your off-road truck to go off the side of the trail and roll over.
This could also end up causing the front of the 4x4 to “bunny hop,” which is equally as dangerous and can cause substantial damage to the truck's suspension as well.
The key to successfully ascending a hill is to stay in 4WD low and take it slow to maintain traction.
It is important to drive a 4x4 fast enough to maintain forward momentum all the way to the top, yet not go so fast that the tires end up spinning.
It is a careful balance that takes practice in your prized weekend warrior.
If you try and cannot do it without spinning, the best option is to slowly back down the hill and try it again.
Losing Traction Going Downhill
You could also lose traction once starting to go down a hill.
In this similar yet different scenario, tires sliding is basically the same as when they are spinning while going uphill.
This loss of traction is caused either when the automatic transmission shifts into a lower gear and suddenly slowing the 4x4 so the tires break free of their traction and slide, or simply from creeping too slowly down a sharp descent.
In this case, letting the tires slide carries the risk of another extremely dangerous crash if the rear of your off-road truck or Jeep lifts up and begins to roll forward.
In either case, there is only one way to regain that traction so you do not end up sliding all the way down and that is to get the wheels moving a little faster.
As counter-intuitive as it may seem, ease back on the brakes a little bit to let the vehicle catch up with itself, then try to continue creeping down the hill.
The better way to correct this kind of slide is to avoid stepping on the throttle to get up and over the top of the hill; instead, just let the off-road truck climb its way over on its own.
Spinning Wheels Do Not Resolve Problems
If you have read this far, it should be pretty obvious that it is undesirable to spin tires on an off-road truck or Jeep as a solution for lost traction because it causes more problems than it solves.
Not only will it make your 4x4 more stuck, it could also become extremely dangerous and cause a rollover.
The best option in all cases is to think before putting yourself in that position and come up with a Plan B.
Whether that plan for your off-road truck involves a winch, backing down a hill, or taking better control when cresting a hill and starting a descent, plan off-road activities so that Plan B can be executed safely and as the phrase says, you won’t be spinning your wheels and going nowhere!