The biggest 4wding mistake you’ll ever make

The biggest 4wding mistake you’ll ever make

As a new 4wder, the one thing you will read and hear the most is “be prepared with all the correct recovery gear” or “don’t go out alone if you don’t have the means to recover yourself”. Makes sense right? And how many of us have ignored that advice at some point and got ourselves hopelessly stuck?

I am guilty, and on more than one occasion too. Heck I still do it! Although these days I don’t actively put myself into dicey situations like I used to!  I have driven countless things I shouldn’t have with just one vehicle. Mud pits, beaches, boulders and even an old dam (without checking the depth I might add!).

Eventually my luck had to end, and the end came in the form of the old Maverick, a swamp and a pruning saw. It was the end of the weekend on a property in Margaret River. Everybody had headed for home, but Dad and myself decided to take one last spin before leaving. The previous day I had driven across a massive swamp, and we had arrived back here. Not an issue I thought, and bravely ploughed into the muck with 40psi in the tyres, giving no consideration to the fact that I had broken what little surface crust there was the previous day.

Down she went…

This is how stuck we are talking here!!

We put probably 3 hours into digging, stuffed anything we could find under the wheels and let the tyres down until they were practically inside out before we went and asked the farmer next door for some help. “I’m not taking my tractor in there!” he said before saying that the bed rock is 6 metres below us, hence this area becomes so waterlogged. So practically 6 metres of mud and we were on our own.

Next day (we had to leave it overnight) we were back into it and this is where the pruning saw comes in. With not enough dead wood to use for traction, I got stuck into a dead tree and dismantled it with the pruning saw right down to the stump. Meanwhile Dad would jack the Mav as high out of the mud as he could, cram as much sticks and logs under the tyres as possible and repeat process until we reckoned we had the Mav well clear of the mud.

We finally backed out of the swamp at 11am that day, almost 24 hours after we got it stuck there.

I learned my lesson there. I have not since put myself in another situation like this, although I have learned that you can get out of almost anything if you put your mind and body into it!

So to finish off this post, I want to know how you learned the lesson. What major 4wding stuff up made you finally say “definitely not doing that again!”. Leave us a comment with your story, and if you have a picture even better! Email it to me on If I get a few good stories I would love to use them for a follow up post!


Alex Garner

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  1. Aaron Schubert
    May 15, 20:25 Reply
    Hahaha - once is enough to learn from! I remember driving over a recently cleared area down in Collie, and sunk down worse than I'd ever been before. My rear 33" tyre was completely buried under soft mud. We tried a few times to get it out, and ended up with a tractor, a land cruiser, 3 snatch straps and drag chain to pull me out! Aaron
    • Alex Garner
      May 18, 14:07 Reply
      Jeez that is a bad one! I'm curious as to where you ended up finding yourself a tractor! A trip around to a nearby farm?
  2. mrpete
    December 28, 13:00 Reply
    2009 house sitting for friends in Margaret River. I wanted to go up to the airport to measure the length of the bitumen runway. Going up the damp road, came to the top. Made a LH turn then headed North before making a 90 degree turn to go down the side access. Suddenly felt the vehicle getting wheel spin and beat a hasty retreat. So back to where I started and decided to go down the right hand side. Plenty of water over an access road. Tried to avoid going through the flooded track and ventured off into thick scrub . Then the problems started. Ended up being totally stuck and unable to move. Rang a family member who once owned one of the best 3.0L Turbo diesel Surf with 35" tyres, 2" body lift that I have ever seen . Had lockers front and rear and had undergone a totally new paint job. He comes to my rescue and ended up getting the right front wheel sunk into a 3 ft hole in the grey gooey clay. Now we have a real problem, as the rescue vehicle was totally stuck. Even with lockers, the wheels on the hard ground just kept spinning. and the right front suspension and chassis were '' glued" to the clay. Now what do we do ? The rescue vehicle is well and truly immobilized and my 4x4 wasn`t going anywhere ( If I had a diff lock in the rear I would have been able to extradite myself ) . So now what. This particular family member had some contacts ,and they came with winches and snatch straps. Getting me out was dead easy. But for the Surf, was another story . We used my vehicle as an anchor point and attached a snatch bock and pulley to the back of my 4x4. Four feet was all it needed to get the Surf back on the road. Cartons of beer were bought for all concerned. Since then we have been back there and did a measurement of the runway which is 1.6 km which is 5280 feet. Long enough to get an executive jet on and off the runway. When I get back home, I`ll dig up the photos and upload them to the site so that you can see for your selves just what happened.

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