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How to clean your 4X4 (we know it’s boring, but it has to be done)

Mud P4 Rodeo

We know it’s a chore, but we’re going to take you through how to clean your 4X4 step by step. It’s a job that has to be done, particularly if you’ve been driving on the beach and through saltwater. Salt is your vehicle’s kryptonite and if you don’t remove it as soon as possible, rust will come knocking on your door.

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Follow these steps to get your pride and joy looking schmick again.

Start under your vehicle

First things first, you’ll need to lay on the ground to get under your vehicle with a hose or high-pressure cleaner. If you wash the body first, you’ll end up lying in mud when it comes to cleaning underneath! Also, this part takes the most time so it’s great to get it out of the way first. 

All that mud, sand, dirt and saltwater you had fun driving through usually goes all up on the bash plates, through the suspension, under the chassis rails and everywhere else it can squeeze into. Here’s how to clean the underbody of your 4X4.

Jeep Water Crossing
Sorry, driving through a freshwater creek will not clean the underside of your vehicle!

Step 1 – Bring out the garden sprinkler

Stick your garden sprinkler underneath the vehicle and move it around every few minutes. This loosens off all the sand and muck, making it much easier to remove it.

Step 2 (optional) – Remove your tyres

Some people remove their tyres completely and use an axel stand to do a thorough job. For most, this becomes a little too time-consuming however, removing the tyres allows you to get in and really clean the suspension properly.

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Step 3 –  Hit the underbody with a gerni (high-pressure cleaner)

Connect your gerni, get down on the ground and begin spraying the underbody. If you don’t get wet, muddy and dirty doing this step you are probably not doing it right. Keep the gerni at a distance and if you have the option, reduce the pressure. This will help ensure you don’t take any paint off.

Make sure to get up under the wheel arches and on top of your bash plates. If you want to be extra thorough, fashion a bit of pipe with a kind of hook on the end and fix it to your garden hose. This allows you to blast some water up under the chassis rails. You will be surprised at the amount of gunk that comes out even after spending an hour with a gerni.

Don’t stop until the water is running clear from the underside of your vehicle. If it’s not clear, your 4X4 is not clean yet!

Clean your tyres

Wheel cleaning products tend to leave dirty streaks on your paint job so it’s best to tackle your tyres before the rest of the vehicle. Use a tyre-specific cleaner and follow the instructions on the packaging. It’s without a doubt the easiest way to clean away the road grime and brake dust from your 4X4.

how to clean your 4x4
Use a specific cleaner for tyres to make your job easier

Get your vehicle body looking schmick

Using your gerni, get as much of the bulky mud off the car body as possible. Don’t forget to clean the drain holes in the bottom of your doors as they can become clogged.

Lather up your vehicle and set to work with your washing sponge. Rinse the soapy residue off and your 4X4 should be looking pretty clean. For an extra touch, treat it with a finishing product.

Don’t forget to look under the bonnet

For the last step, clean the engine bay which is best done with a good old degreaser and you guessed it, elbow grease. Many people like to cover the alternator and any other electrics with plastic bags, taping them into place to prevent water from getting where it shouldn’t. 

Spray with degreaser and let it sit for half-hour to do its job. Then, using a small scrubbing brush and rags, clean in and around all the nooks and crannies before rinsing it off with a garden hose. I don’t recommend using a gerni to clean your engine bay as it could damage your radiator fins and rubber joins etc.

Don’t forget the last step … look under the bonnet

That’s it, your 4X4 should be looking like a million bucks right about now. Let’s see if you can keep it clean for longer than a week!


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