Getting stuck is part of off-roading. We can go so far as to say that it’s a rite of passage for novices.
Maybe you were putting your truck through its paces on the trail when an off-camber obstacle left your tires spinning in the air. Or maybe you were playing in some sand dunes or trying to drive through a sandy wash then ended up with your wheels half-buried. Or maybe it was mud that bogged you down. No matter how tough and sturdy your custom-built truck is, if you regularly go off-roading, you’re bound to get stuck at some point.
Since you can’t give up off-roading, the only thing you can do is to always be prepared with the correct gear at hand and to know how to use it in case your vehicle gets stuck. The good news is that there are numerous products on the market to help you free your stuck rig and get you moving again, even if you were on a trip by yourself (which we don’t recommend, by the way). Some of the equipment you can use to get unstuck include straps, a jack, winch, shovel, a land anchor, and traction mats or boards.
Out of all the products designed for this purpose, few are as effective, durable, portable, and easy to use in nearly every off-road situation as the Maxtrax traction boards.
What Are Maxtrax Traction Boards
You’ve probably seen these bright orange traction boards dangling from a lifted truck or being used out on the trails. We’ve also had several customers asking for them at the Dixie 4 Wheel Drive auto shop in St. George and in our other auto shop in Moab. They’re in demand and for good reason.
Unlike other similar products on the market, Maxtrax are extremely durable. These recovery boards are built and designed in Australia by off-road fanatics using top-notch materials. They are made of flexible, UV stabilized reinforced nylon and are engineered to withstand serious punishment without sinking or sliding under your tires.
Maxtrax boards measure 13 inches wide by about 4 feet long and have special keyholes to allow them to be securely mounted on genuine Maxtrax mounting pins on your rig so you can save on space. They’re lightweight and compact and can be stacked in a pair so they can be easily stored in your truck or Jeep along with the rest of your adventure and recovery gear.
They also come with tether straps that can be attached on the boards before use to help you easily pull them out of deep snow, sand, or mud once they’ve done their job.
Maxtrax traction boards are well-designed with pegs or teeth that grip your tires, lending much-needed traction to help them climb up on the board, freeing your vehicle. They have more teeth on the underside which grip the terrain, preventing the boards from slipping during use. Additionally, the underside of each board is designed as a scoop to shovel away sand or other debris from the tires, allowing you to easily fix the boards underneath for maximum traction.
Getting your Vehicle Unstuck using Maxtrax
The simplicity and design of the Maxtrax make them easy to use, even for novices. Simply follow these steps:
Clear any debris away from the tires. If you’re stuck in sand or snow, use the underside of the traction boards to shovel away as much material as you need in front of the tires with the least traction.
Next, wedge the Maxtrax boards firmly under the tires and make sure the correct teeth side face upwards. The best way to place the boards for recovery is to insert them at an angle. This allows the vehicle to rise out of the ground as it moves forward along the board.
Once the traction boards are firmly in place, shift to low range gear for more control and allow the vehicle to move slowly and smoothly onto the boards. The tires will slowly grip the Maxtrax, pulling them under the vehicle as it moves, eventually helping to get it unstuck.
You want to maintain a slow, steady pace at this stage. If you spin your tires when climbing onto the boards, the resulting friction can cause heat which can in turn melt the board’s teeth, causing you to dig yourself further into the ground.
Once the tires grip the board and get enough traction, keep moving up and out of the ground.
In case you had spun your tires after getting stuck and dug yourself too firmly into the ground to correctly position the Maxtrax boards underneath the tires, you need to change tactics slightly. In such a situation, you’ll need to lift the vehicle to get the additional clearance you need to place the Maxtrax. The safest and easiest way to do this is to use an exhaust jack. The exhaust jack’s size will prevent it from sinking and when it is uninflated, you can easily squeeze it under the stuck vehicle with a little digging ( the Maxtrax comes in handy here as well).
Once the vehicle has been safely recovered, make sure it is stabilized. Then simply tug on the Maxtrax’s tether straps to pull them from the ground where they’re sure to have sunk slightly (hoping that you remembered to attach the straps in the first place). Finally, load them back into the vehicle and you are good to go.
The whole process is quite easy, hassle-free, and safe since you don’t need anchor points, winches, recovery straps, or additional vehicles to recover your vehicle. This minimizes the chance of accidents happening.
Though pricier than other traction or recovery boards, Maxtrax are a great investment. Their sturdiness, durability, and ease of use make them stand out from the competition. If you’re planning on hitting the trails or exploring the outdoors in your rig, get yourself these amazing recovery boards. You never know when you might need them.