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5 Important Reason To Clean Your 4x4 Of Mud

For some Off-Roaders, getting muddy is part of the fun. Photo rights and Credits belong to John Overstreet and Central Missouri Off-Road Park.
For some Off-Roaders, mud is fun. For others, it’s just part of the experience. For even others, it’s an enemy they fight to avoid. Either way, mud is part of off-roading. The question is; what will you do once your rig is cover in this natural slop?

Most people have been told that you should get the mud/dirt off your vehicle so that it doesn’t scratch the paint. Let’s face it though. Most of us are scratching the paint, on the trails, much worse than any dried mud will. Still, there are five good reasons to get that mud off your rig after being in the thick of it. Here they are.

Mud sitting on rubber or moving parts has a wearing and drying effect. You can see these effects in action in this photo. This CV boot has been neglected for some time. The mud left on the CV Boot encouraged deterioration and dried mud has become embedded in the CV Axle. If left unattended, they CV will wear, and the grit left over from the mud will cause the CV joint to fail. Photo Credit: Eric McGrew.

It Just Rubs You The Wrong Way

While you may not worry about the grit in mud scratching the paint, that same grit can (and does) do quite a bit of damage over time to some of the components on your 4x4. All those finite pieces of rock are quite aggressive. When you leave mud on moving parts, such as ball joints and bushings, they tend to wear at excessive rates. Your rig can become unreliable or leave it lacking in performance.

Depending on the metal prep and undercoating used by a manufacturer, rusting such as seen in this photo can occur slower or faster. However, if mud is left to sit for long periods of time on any surface, it will cause rusting. It's also important to know that mud is bad because it can have a reoccurring negative effect. Mud doesn't just transfer moisture when it is first introduced to the material it lands on, as it dries. When mud becomes wet again, it continues to slowly introduce moisture to the surfaces that it is in contact with. The longer mud is on a surface, the more harmful, to that surface, it is. Photo Credit: Eric McGrew

It Just Gets Under Your Skin

Your 4x4’s paint does is it’s skin. As our skin helps protect and hold us together, your 4x4’s paint does the same thing. Moisture in mud is eventually going to transferring somewhere. Any water close to the environment is usually evaporated into the atmosphere, while the moisture closest to the rig, gets sweated onto the paint. Microscopic cracks in the paint are potential entry points to let the water move in behind it. Once that happens, it will slowly eat your sheet metal and continue to move across the panel, or metal component. This will eventually cause a weakening effect over time. 

It’ll Smother You To Death

As mud dries, it because an insulator. It tends to slow down heat dissipation that is needed for performance and OEM components to work like they should, and be long lasting. Most commonly, you’ll see the overheating effects of mud on wiring harnesses; sparkplug wires, radiators, and alternators. Heavily mud coated drive train components are also susceptible to failure. When the mud dries out and becomes a blanket around the component, it can’t release the heat and internal components and fluids tend to break down prematurely. Leaving you with a high potential for damage.

This fuse block suffered a fire due to two different effects of mud. As far as we can tell. One, the wiring under the 4x4 was completely clotted up and coated with mud. This caused the wiring to have a propensity to overheat. Two, mud had rusted holes in the floor board. Leaving behind very aggressive grit, that helped wear thru the wire insulation. This caused the wires to short out against the floor, causing a rapid heating of the system and starting a fire in the fuse block. Photo Credit: Eric McGrew

It’ll suck you dry

Mud left on rubber, plastic, and painted components can start to dry these materials out. Causing it to crack, or become brittle. Once this happens, components start to fail. Your protective paint may start to fall off. Leaving the metal exposed. Hoses may start to crack and split open. Seals and rubber sliders may become dry. Creating poorly working and sealing components. Rubber bushings can also become brittle and stop working as they should.

It's amazing how much weight the mud stuck to your 4x4 can add up to. By getting rid of the extra weight, you can save your components extra work, and gain some extra fuel economy. Photo rights and Credits belong to John Overstreet and Central Missouri Off-Road Park.

It Just Weighs You Down

Mud is heavy. You’d be surprised how much dead weight you’ve been carrying around. All this extra weight causes your 4wd to work harder. Having all this extra mud can damage drive-train components, cause extra wear on the suspensions, and even lower your gas mileage.

Here in this photo, my friend and I, take cleaning the mud and grit off your 4x4 to the extreme. While it's not necessary to pull your motor out of your 4 wheel drive vehicle, it is a good idea to wash the mud off once you're done wheeling. Using a water hose is good, but using a pressure washer is better. Making sure to clean the mud off your vehicle will not only help prevent the 5 things mentioned in this article, but it will also help prevent the rusting of bolts and fasteners. Allowing you to remove and install them during repairs and maintenance with greater ease. Photo Credit: Eric McGrew

Cleaning The Slate

There you five really good reasons to clean your 4x4 of mud. It’s a good idea to wash your 4wd vehicle once you’ve finished your trip. That way the mud is still soft and will easily come off. Use a pressure washer when possible. Using hot, or warm water with a detergent or degreaser is also a good for get oils off with the mud.

Now you have the idea. If you get your 4wd muddy, get it cleaned as soon as possible. Because if you don’t, it may just fall apart on you.

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  1. Nice post. You are right, sometime mud is good but mostly mud become the reason of junked for your off-roaders. Find the best Oilfield Pressure Washing Edmonton service for your vehicles.

  2. Thanks for the advice about the pressure washer. Another thing to consider is using the correct pressure setting for the area you are cleaning. I am very much satisfy for using the pressure washer.


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