What To Do If You Get Your RV Stuck

Derrek Sigler
by Derrek Sigler
What do you do if you get your RV stuck? It’s never a great experience, but we’ve got some suggestions in case you ever find yourself in this sticky situation.

As autumn is in full swing and winter is creeping in just around the corner, this is a great time of year to get out and enjoy some amazing color with the changing leaves. There is also the added benefit of some cooler temperatures that make falling asleep in the crisp air so appealing. There does exist a small hazard that you need to be aware of – if you’re not careful, you can get your RV stuck. Doesn’t sound like much fun, does it? Let’s talk about the easier ways to get that RV unstuck and back on the road.

Sure, the risk of getting your RV stuck is always there. It seems that autumn always brings some late season rainfall, and then it can turn into something a little more frozen. Snow can pile up quickly and turn your trip into a tricky situation.

What are you stuck in?

If you’re dealing with an RV stuck in sand, the first trick to try is lowering your tire pressures down to the minimum the tire will take. This isn’t necessarily the lowest the tire will go to, as you are going to put some exertion on the tire, so you don’t want it to peel off the rim. But you want to get it way down, much lower than you’d drive it on the highway. This spreads the force exerted by the tire out and helps get you some traction. Just make sure you pump the tire back up before you drive off down the road.

Mud and snow are very similar in that lowering the tire pressure won’t help. You need to add something to get you additional traction. One trick is to add traction multipliers, like TruckClaws, to your tire to help dig you out. These types of aids work well in mud. For snow and ice, tire chains are the hot ticket. In fact, some roads will require you to have chains ready and in some cases, have them on your tires to even traverse the roadway. If you’re planning a fall color tour of the Rocky Mountains, especially in Colorado, you’d best have a set of tire chains handy.

How are you stuck?

This is a tricky subject. If you simply lost traction and dug in with the tires, this is one thing. If you’ve sunk in due to the weight of the RV, it gets a little trickier. Sliding in on icy conditions gets even more difficult to solve.

For travel trailers, regardless of the situation you find yourself in, getting the RV out can often be a matter of disconnecting the trailer from your vehicle, getting a different angle on the trailer, and using a tow strap to gently ease the trailer out of whatever mess you’re in.

A fifth wheel RV is probably going to require assistance from a tow truck. The sheer size of the RV combined with the mounting of a fifth wheel makes disconnecting difficult. Make sure you let the tow company know you’ve got a fifth wheel too, and tell them the length and weight if you can.

With a motorhome, it is similar to getting any other vehicle out, just bigger, especially if you’ve got a big motorhome. Chances are if you’ve got a Class A RV, you’re going to need a big tow truck. The extreme weight and low ground clearance are going to make getting one out hard to do. Tire chains, rated for that weight, and a serious jack might help you though, so if you’re planning to go into a spot that looks sketchy, be prepared.

Of course, if the types of places that could lead you to getting stuck are appealing to you, then an off-road worthy RV like an EarthRoamer might be the better ticket. I’m currently trying to convince my wife that we need one, but she’s not buying in just yet.