Skip to main content

What is a traction mat?

If you’ve ever had a car stuck in mud, snow, sand, or wet grass, you know it’s easier to get out if you can get someone to help you. But help isn’t always at hand, and shoveling gravel under the tires doesn’t always work. That’s where a traction mat comes in. Recovery boards are also known as traction boards. These items are made of sturdy materials and are used to help stalled vehicles get started. The traction boards are also known as recovery boards or recovery tracks.

Recovery boards are available in different varieties at specialty and online retailers. In the following, purchase factors and material properties of the boards are discussed in more detail.

Recovery Boards – what are they made of?

Recovery boards are sold at least in pairs and are used to free or recover a stuck vehicle under its own power. Generally, traction boards are durable and sturdily made. They must be able to withstand the weight of the vehicle without issue, as well as any off-road tires that may spin.

Recovery boards can be made from a variety of materials. For example, items made of aluminum and variants made of reinforced, UV-stabilized nylon are offered. The products are made to ensure better traction on sand, mud, or gravel.

Traction mats- which variants are distinguished?

Recovery boards that are usable for surfaces such as snow, ice, and mud are available in the trade. Furthermore, off-road variants can also be purchased, which can be used specifically on flat, sandy, or muddy surfaces. Those who mainly use their vehicle off-road should choose a variant that suits the surface.

The manufacturers specify in the product descriptions exactly which areas and which surfaces the recovery boards are intended for. In addition to the surface factor, the maximum possible load also plays a role. For example, recovery boards are available on the market that can be loaded with up to 10 tons.

Recovery Boards for ATV and UTV

Recovery boards can be interesting not only for tuning vehicles and private cars. Depending on the model, the articles are also suitable for ATV and UTV. ATV means All Terrain Vehicles and refers, for example, to vehicles that are suitable for light transport work. Off-road vehicles and quads can also fall under this designation. UTV refers to side-by-side vehicles that are used for transportation work and often have tiltable cargo beds.

Those who drive off-road vehicles, quads, or utility vehicles and want to use recovery boards should look for ATV/UTV suitability when making a purchase. Recovery boards with ATV/UTV suitability are available in short, lightweight versions that are stronger than other boards and are designed to provide adequate portability.

Recovery Boards – available with interchangeable elements

Traction aids are available with interchangeable designs. The boards have defined profiles, such as Z-shaped teeth and snowflake-shaped teeth. When purchasing, make sure the teeth are interchangeable and matching replacements are available. With the right replacement material, there is no need to buy new recovery boards when the teeth wear out. The teeth should also be sturdy and prevent a vehicle from sliding. Foldable versions that can be stored to save space are advantageous

Traction mats with underside channels

Recovery boards also have other tread elements to ensure a firm base on sand, snow, mud, or other surfaces. For example, channels may be incorporated into the underside of each board.

Tire Traction Mat – Best Choice

Best choice

X-BULL Recovery Traction Tracks

It uses its specific structure to provide emergency traction for vehicle tires, prevent car tires from spinning in harsh environments such as snow, sand, mud or ice, thereby reducing the possibility of injury. It is suitable for all vehicles. 5,0 Rating
Safety guarantee.
Dimension: 4.3×41.7×12.2inches for each one.
Material: reinforced strong nylon.
Rocky terrain: 15 psi.

How to choose traction boards?

How to choose traction mats

Best 5 vehicle recovery boards


X-BULL Recovery Traction Tracks

X-BULL Recovery Traction Tracks
  • Lightweight and ergonomic handle allows for easy transportation.
  • Adopts the specific elastic design.

4,9 Rating

Check Best Price


Maxtrax Safety Vehicle Recovery Board

Maxtrax Safety Vehicle Recovery Board

  • UV-stabilized, flexible, super tough engineering-grade reinforced nylon.
  • 45 inches long X 13 inches wide.

4,9 Rating

Check Best Price


IKURAM Recovery Boards Traction Tracks Mat

IKURAM Recovery Boards Traction Tracks Mat

  • Capacity up to 10T on flat ground.
  • Work with front, rear and all-wheel drive vehicles as well as trucks, SUVs and ATVs.

4,8 Rating

Check Best Price


ARB TREDPROMGO Vehicle Recovery Boards

ARB TREDPROMGO Vehicle Recovery Boards

  • Ergonomic handles for shovel control.
  • Contour ramp created using 4×4 tire dimension and tred pattern data for optimised design.

4,5 Rating

Check Best Price


BUNKER INDUST Recovery Traction Boards

BUNKER INDUST Recovery Traction Boards

  • Work from -30°C (-22°F) to 60°C (140°F).
  • Anti-corrosion, UV resistance.

4,5 Rating

Check Best Price

We have tested traction mats and selected the best products for you

Key considerations

  • Size

The most important factor when comparing traction mats is the size of the mat. If the mats are too small for the tires, they are unlikely to have enough traction to free the vehicle.

  • Width

Grab a tape measure and go outside. Measure the width of your tires, then go back inside. all set? Good…; you… have taken the most important step in finding the perfect traction mats.

Traction mats come in different sizes, and the larger your vehicle, the wider your tires will be. Getting mats that are too small is a waste of time and money. Read the descriptions of the mats available to make sure you have the right size. The mat should be as wide as, or wider than, your tires. When in doubt, too wide is better than too narrow.

  • Length

The length of a traction mat is not as critical as the width. Most of the time, you only need enough length to get the tires out of the hole they’ve dug themselves into. In fact, with front-wheel drive cars, long traction mats will be a disadvantage because you won’t be able to place them at a steep enough angle to tuck them under the tires.

  • Car or truck

The type of vehicle you drive should inform your decision when determining the length and strength of your traction mats.

Cars are typically closer to the ground than trucks, which means you have less room to work with when trying to put a traction mat under the tires. If you’re driving a car, you’ll probably be better off with a shorter traction mat or one that folds or unrolls. If you’re driving a truck, you’ll need a stronger, thicker mat to support the heavier weight of your vehicle.

vehicle recovery boards


  • Material

Most of today’s traction mats are made of heavy-duty plastic or industrial nylon. Some are made of galvanized steel covered with a rubber tread. For long-term durability, steel is the material of choice, but it is also the most expensive option. For low weight and ease of use, plastic or nylon is the way to go. The right material for you depends on the type of vehicle and how often you anticipate needing additional traction.

  • Color

Many manufacturers offer traction mats in various bright, eye-catching colors. You want something that has a high contrast to whatever you’re into. If you’re stuck in the mud, a black or brown traction mat could get lost in the mud after doing its job. White, orange or red would be best for you.

However, if most of your problems occur in the snow, then black or blue would be good choices. Choose the color that is opposite of what you’re most likely to get stuck in, keeping in mind that a vibrant color increases your visibility when stuck on the side of a busy road.

  • Storage

Traction mats should have a carrying bag or box of some sort. This is especially important after you’ve used them the first time. Who wants to put muddy traction mats in the trunk of their car? Make sure your traction mats come with a case or box of some kind. If they don’t, consider picking one up separately. Some traction mats can fold or roll up, which can make it easier to fit into a small space, but you’ll still want something to store them in to protect your car from dirt, mud, and snow.

  • Instructions

When you get your traction mats, be sure to read the instructions and maybe even test your mats so that you’ll know what to do when you find yourself in a situation where you desperately need them to work.


  • Place the traction mat as far down the tires as possible before attempting to peel off. Otherwise, it may simply dig deeper or create a slippery surface under the tires.
  • Traction mats that are too stiff will break when the weight of the car is on them. Mats that are slightly flexible are the best choice as they can conform to a variety of angles and surfaces.
  • For best results, put a traction mat under each wheel that has power.
  • Before putting the traction mats in place, use a shovel to clear as much debris as possible from the tires. This can also help create a flat surface for your mats to grip.

David Muench (Carnes Mechanical)

David Muench (Carnes Mechanical)

Hey, I’m David. I’ve worked in a cars store for 6 years. I write reviews and guides, helping people to choose the most suitable technicals and best product for them. I’m happy to finally share my knowledge of the industry here, on CarnesMechanical.

Leave a Reply