I do not like mud on my 4x4s. In fact, I hate it. Mud damages bodywork and mechanicals so I clean my 4x4s as soon as possible, usually directly after the trip before the mud has a chance to bake in hard. The ‘wash’ is exactly that, a wash, not a wax and polish by any means, more of a rinse.
To my mind, driving around with a dirty 4×4 is not a badge of pride, it is sign of laziness. If you’re inclined to show where you’ve been and what you do then you don’t need to leave the car filthy to do that. It is easy enough for the initiated to pick a 4×4 used for off-roading regardless of how clean it is, and I think it a better look to have a tidy vehicle with subtle clues to many past adventures than a wheeled mud bath that’s clearly only had an excursion or two. That said, I do love mud driving, just not the aftermath. I’m past the stage where I feel the need to drive a giant bog hole just because it’s there, but if it’s along the way on a trip then it’ll be conquered.
It is quite easy to clean the muddy body of a 4×4, and that’s best done at your local carwash. It helps to wear old clothes – another reason to do it immediately post-trip – and even eye protection against splatter. I start with a high-pressure hose, directed at an angle to the body panels. The mud will easily wash off, but it is harder to clean the more important parts which are the mechanicals and that means spending some time under the vehicle. Here again the high-pressure hose is useful, but you must be careful not to destroy wiring or force water in through seals. If in doubt, ease off the pressure. As a general rule, I probably spend about a third of the time on the bodywork and the rest under the vehicle cleaning out mud in around the suspension, transmission, wheelarches, brakes and everywhere else. To shift difficult mud let the vehicle soak a while, and use truck cleaner such as CT-18. Simply placing a garden sprinkler over a vehicle works wonders too, if water restrictions allow, and if it rains hard on the drive home the wheels do a decent job of kicking up spray to loosen mud.
Make: Discovery 3
Recent costs: Nil
Arrived: March 2012
You can read more about this Discovery in the August 2013 issue of 4×4 Magazine – available here