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Monday, February 23, 2015

Is it OK to spin your tires when stuck on ice or in mud ?

Quick answer to this question is

I bring this up for a couple of reasons. One is that I just read a RV forum post from someone that was stuck in mud and tried "spinning" their tires to get out. (it didn't work) The other reason is that with Canada and portions of the US that normally never get real cold in a deep freeze, there will be some vehicle owners experiencing frozen ground conditions and they may never have had that experience before.

The reason the practice of spinning your tires is dangerous is that very few RVs have limited slip differentials so when they rev the engine and spin their tires in a effort to get going they may UN-wittingly be spinning their tires at speeds high enough to cause a tire failure and explosion.

When you spin your tires the spinning tire is going TWICE the speed indicated on your speedometer.
This picture shows what can happen to a passenger size tire.
As you can see in this failure, not just the tread comes off and the sidewalls blow-out but the Hi-Tensile bead wire fractures in multiple locations which allows the complete tire to become a missile. When this happens with a small passenger car tire it may only "remove" one corner of the car. Sometimes a "free spin" tire failure ends up almost a mile away!  Now for a moment think what a LT or TBR tire might do if it were to fail in a similar manner.

If you are stuck, the best way to get out is to either use sand or gravel or to get some towing assistance. But please never simply spin your tires.

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  1. Why is the speedometer off when spinning your tires?

    1. With a standard [non limited slip] differential, if one set of wheels is stationary, the moving wheels will turn at twice the speed indicated on the speedometer. A standard differential will turn the wheels with the least resistance, allowing one set to be still, while the other set turns twice as fast as indicated.

  2. spinning your tires forward than shifting in reverse (trying to rock the vehicle out), will blow an automatic transmission

  3. There is something different about your tireman articles in the weekly RV travel newsletter. For the last few months, every time I open one of your tireman articles I get a warning from my Webroot antivirus software that this site is not safe. I don't get the warning for any other links on the newsletter or any other websites I visit which are usually 30-50 sites daily. Webroot is one of the most popular antivirus softwares on the market so it's reliable. Maybe you should have an IT person take a look at your site to see if there is something that is causing this warning. I like your articles but it always scares me to ignore the warning and continue to your site.

    1. Thank you very much, Fred, for calling this to our attention. I also have Webroot antivirus software and it is very "sensitive" (which is usually a good thing!). This morning when clicking on this blog I also received the warning from Webroot (for the first time on this blog). I unblocked it and went into the blog. As far as we know there is nothing malicious on this page, but we will have our IT guy check into it. Thank you for your information. We apologize for the inconvenience and for making you uncomfortable. Thank you for reading our newsletters and blogs -- we really appreciate it!
      Diane at


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