Car Stuck In Sand? 5 Easy Steps (Quick Solution)

We all love getting off the pavement once in a while. But not all cars are equipped for the off-road environment.

If your car is stuck in sand, how do you get out?

In this article, we provide steps to help you get your car unstuck from sand and answer other commonly asked questions regarding the topic.

How to Get a Car Out of Sand

Here are steps you can use to get your car out of the sand:

Examine the Situation

The first step out of the sand is to let off the gas.

You need to take a critical look at the situation, as pushing the gas pedal will make your tires spin and get stuck deeper.

Increase Traction

Look for items to create more traction. If you have traction mats with you, this is where you need them.

Place the traction mats behind the back tires. Ensure they are placed slowly so you can get out without further hassle.

If you don’t have traction mats, you can use gravel and any other material that can increase the grip of your tires.

Make Use of a Shovel

If you are stuck in deep sand, you might need to use a shovel to dig in front of each car tire. Having a clear path in front of your tires will make it easy for you to drive out.

You need to ensure the sand below your car is properly cleared before attempting to drive out of the pit. If there is little sand beneath your car, you may not have issues driving out.

Lay Out Traction Materials

Lay down traction mats if you have them after you have packed the sand with the shovel from the car tires.

If you don’t have traction mats, you can use dry card board, jute bags, floor mats, twigs, dry leaves, and other suitable materials.

Drive out slowly and ensure you do not hit the brakes and gas pedal at the same time.

Wet Down the Sand

You can try to add water to the sand if you are not getting sufficient traction to get out of a sand trap.

This compacts the sand, creating a resilient surface area that provides more traction for your tires. This will make it easy for you to drive out of the trap.

Request for Help

If the above steps did not work, you may need to ask for help. You may need to use tow straps and a rope, and a 4WD vehicle to help you move out of the sand trap.

What to Do After Being Stuck in Sand

Once you are out of the trap, make sure you wash your car to ensure the dirty water or salt water does not penetrate your car components, such as the engine.

This will help prevent moisture, salt and other impurities from damaging your bodywork and encouraging rust.

Also, check your tires to ensure they have sufficient tread left on them. If the tread is gone, you need to replace your tires.

Also, do a general inspection to ensure that the sand hasn’t gotten into crevices or soiled vital components.

Related: Where Do Cars Rust The Most In The U.S.? (With Examples)

Does Getting Stuck In Sand Damage a Car?

Sand can damage your car if it gets into the air filter.

A sand-clogged air filter won’t be able to supply sufficient airflow to the engine, and this can lead to internal damage and overheating of the engine.

Sand can also affect the cabin air quality negatively if it blocks the air filter. It can also contaminate engine oil, reducing its lubricating powers and increasing your ownership expenses.

Besides, soiled floor mats and cushions can be an eyesore and a hassle to clean.

Related: Can Golf Carts Drive On Sand? 5 Important Facts (With Examples)

Tools You Should Always Have In Your Car to Get Unstuck

If you own a car and you take it to the beach or the desert, the chances of getting stuck in a sand trap are high.

Once you feel your wheels are slipping and the car is not moving, ensure you do not place your foot on the gas pedal.

It is better to have the right tools in your car trunk in case of such an emergency. These are some tools that you must have handy before you find yourself stuck in the sand:

Work Gloves

This is one of the most important tools that must be in your car trunk. These hand gloves will protect your hands and fingernails from the dirt that could be on your tires while trapped in the sand.

You may need to touch some parts of the car, such as the exhaust systems, which could get hot. A pair of work gloves can protect your hands from getting hurt.


A shovel is another crucial tool that gets the job done quicker than your bare hands. It is less stressful to make use of a shovel, as it can be used to scoop sand to ensure your tires get unstuck from the sand trap.

Most people prefer using the shovel with the D-handle, as it is known for not breaking easily. 

Hi-Lift Jack

You may need to have a hi-lift jack, and it is a common tool on most off-road rigs. The role of a hi-lift jack is to ensure the tire is lifted so you can place an item, such as cardboard, below it.

It is important to note that the car tire jacks in your car may not be sufficient for this purpose.

You need to attach a tow strap or chain to the loop on the component that moves up and down the jack and tie the other side of the strap to a tree or any object.

Attach the plate end of the jack to the tow hook of your car and pump the jack like you are lowering the jack. This will help you pull your car out of the sand trap.

Recovery Strap

Recovery strap is an important tool to pull your vehicle out of the trap whenever you are stuck. Ensure you buy a proper recovery strap that has loops at each end. Do not use tow straps with hooks at the ends because breaking of the straps can cause damage.

It is essential to purchase a strap that can accommodate the weight of your vehicle. Do not connect the recovery strap to the bumpers or body of the car. Ensure you connect between the tow points and frames, so it does not break.

Make sure you attach the strap properly to your vehicle and the other automobile that will be used to pull out your stuck car.

Get Items for More Traction

As soon as you pack the sand in front of your car tire, it is important to have some items that will give your tires more traction. These items will ensure your tires do not slip back into the sand where your car is stuck.

You can place carpet or cardboard in front of your wheel to enable it to gain the traction you need to get unstuck. Other items could be plywood, branches, and sticks, as they do not allow your tire to spin.

It is crucial to press the accelerator slowly to enable your car tires to have sufficient time to grip. On the other hand, you can purchase molded plastic recovery tracks if you do not like having sticks and cardboard in your trunk.

Related: Automatic Car Stuck In Reverse? 5 Common Issues (Solved)


Having a winch and a proper recovery gear, including tow straps, snatch block, and tree saver strap in your vehicle, is a smart idea. A winch can pull your vehicle out of the sand trap even when there is no other car to pull your vehicle for you.

However, it is better to acquire a winch that can pull 30 percent above your vehicle’s weight. A snatch block can increase the pulling ability of your winch and prevent the winch line from snapping.

When you connect the winch to another car, make sure you attach a tow strap to the winch line end and align it to the frame.

Snow Chains

Any user can easily mount snow chains.

You need to wrap the snow chains around your car wheel after parking your automobile. It is also important to wear hand gloves to ensure you do not get hurt.

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