Even if you don’t say “hold my beer” anything that involves  “watch this” doesn’t usually end well….

One of my brothers has a 35 acre property about 20km out of Orange NSW, the city I call home. On a number of occasions last year, he got his second-gen Hyundai Santa Fe and trailer stuck trying to either take bales of hay down to the horses, or collect wood for the fire.

Being a little too keen to see how my new tyres performed offroad, I was all to happy to go and rescue him, and it was therefore only a matter of time before I became stuck.

While trying to drive the Santa Fe up one of the property tracks to get some wood, he hit a soft patch where it appeared OK on the surface, but there was water running underneath. The front wheels dropped through the surface into the mud, grounding the front end. As he was unable to reverse out, he called me for assistance. A tow recovery had him mobile again.

I then decided to give it a shot. My first attempt went well, as the accompanying video shows

My second attempt didn’t go so well, and there just happened to be video evidence accompanied by ‘expert’ commentary from my then 6 year old niece:

This is exactly the same predicament my brother was in less than half an hour ago, and like him, I didn’t have sufficient traction to reverse out. At this point I had the choice of trying to dig myself out with a shovel, or swallowing my pride and letting a softroader pull me out. Accepting my fate, we hooked up the strap between the two vehicles again, and he pulled me out. Somewhat surprisingly, he hasn’t chipped me about it since.

So, what did I learn from the experience?

  • Showing off is a surefire way to find yourself stuck, especially when you deliberately use an incorrect technique to test your vehicle’s capabilities
  • The clearance under the front diff of my HiLux is about the same as under the body of a second gen Hyundai Santa Fe
  • Eating some humble pie is far easier than trying to dig a 4WD out of a bog or winching it out by hand
  • It doesn’t matter how aggressive your tyres are, if they aren’t firmly on the ground, they aren’t much use
  • Despite how wet and muddy it was, a Santa Fe on road tyres was still able to pull out a bogged HiLux sitting on its front diff
  • Referring to all soft roaders as ‘useless 4WDs’ is not helpful, especially when you haven’t driven them. You just never know when you might need one to pull you out!

PM4X4 Comment

It doesn’t take much to get bogged! It is possible that Andrew may have been able to get out by deflating tyres to 15psi or so which not only affords better traction, but slightly improves suspension flex. There was enough room to go back and forth, so rocking the vehicle back/forth may have worked, as may have going back and then dropping rocks into the hole. However, there was a nice easy way out – the snatch wouldn’t have been difficult, more of a tow, so that was the logical option.

This Reader’s Write story was submitted as part of our Win a Set of MAXTRAX competition. We will publish the rest of the (publishable!) entries over the next few days and then pick a winner. We have also published a MAXTRAX product review.

MAXTRAX come in all sorts of colours, although, it must be said that orange is the coolest, or so we reckon…



2017 BMW M140i Performance Edition Review


We test the Yokohama AD08R on street and track

About Author

Andrew Riles

My parents knew I was a car enthusiast when I was about 15months old, as I could already tell the difference between our Subaru and other similar vehicles. I have since had an almost insatiable appetite for almost anything car related. My main interest now is 4WDing, though one day I'd like to take part in 24hrs of LeMons, and maybe one of the rallies that raises money for charity.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Check Also