Soap and water is your basic ticket to keeping your 4×4 spunky clean. But are you doing it the right way?
In this article, we’ll specify which parts of your vehicle need thorough cleaning and how you should be doing it, without accidentally reducing their service life.
1. Visit a Self-service Car Wash
It’s always easy to clean your 4×4 in your garage or in your backyard whenever you need to. The problem though is you don’t have all the necessary tools to keep your vehicle clean because some of them are found only on self-service car wash.
Aside from the complete cleaning tools, many people turn to self-service car wash because they’re less expensive than hiring a professional to do the cleaning for you. In fact, cleaning experts can charge you more than $15 for the service, which you’ll often only get half the price when you do it by yourself.
2. Insert Hose into the Chassis Rail
The chassis rail is a part of the chassis frame that’s made from pressed or folded steel. It helps support your 4×4’s body and other parts as well as binds them together. Once you let it deteriorate or get damaged, you compromise your 4×4‘s overall safety and performance.
If you usually go water crossing, whether on the river or on the beach, salt water can build up in your chassis rail, which makes it difficult to remove. The technique is to place the hose in your chassis rail.
This allows you to easily flush out the salt water inside your vehicle, which is an important factor to remove not only the water itself but also excess sand and rocks that can clog it. It also helps you protect it from early rusting.
3. Avoid Spraying Hose Too Close When Under High Pressure
It’s tempting to use a hose in cleaning your 4×4 because you can just increase its water-pouring intensity, to quickly remove the dirt. However, spraying a high-pressure hose that’s too close to your vehicle can cause its paint to chip. This will eventually force you to have your 4×4 repainted more often than necessary.
Plus, once its metal parts have been exposed, you’re also making it prone to rusting because it lacks protection against the harsh elements.
4. Use a Degreaser in Cleaning the Engine Bay
Accumulated amounts of dirt, mud, and other stains on your engine bay are hard to remove. Because of this, you may also be wondering, is it good to expose them under high-pressure water? The answer is NO. Your engine bay consists of special sealants that prevent water intrusion and placing them in such a kind of water pressure can break them.
So if you’re having trouble removing stubborn stains on your engine bay, your solution is to apply a degreaser on them. It gently dissolves the stains making them easy to remove. Take note, when you’re washing the engine bay, make sure the motor is running for even cleaning.
5. Clean Thoroughly the Wheel Arches
Doing this removes the dirt that’s present on the wheel arches and the same goes on the inside and bottom of the rims which are crucial in maintaining the optimal wheel momentum, by the time you get back on track.
What Can I Do to Prevent Tire and Wheel Damage?
While many cleaners have acid content to make them truly effective against stain removal, more auto detailers prefer using non-acidic cleaners when it comes to rinsing the tires and wheels because of the same result but without damaging the surface.
You can even make your own non-acidic cleaner by mixing a teaspoon of dish washing (liquid) soap with half a cup of baking soda in warm water. Put the solution in a bottle and spray it on the tires and wheels. Then, use either a paint brush or toothbrush to gently scrub them.
6. Check the Door Drain Holes
It’s also important that you inspect your 4×4’s door drain holes. Many off-roaders had them overlooked since they’re usually located at the bottom of the doors. But this shouldn’t be an excuse because door drain holes automatically flush out water, dirt, mud, etc., when they penetrate the door seal. Therefore, cleaning them will help maintain their purpose. Otherwise, you risk reducing your 4×4’s lifespan.
How to Check for Clogged Door Drains?
To see if your door drain holes still serve their purpose, check out the instructions found in the infographics above.
7. Use an Air Hose to Clean Interior Vents
Aside from the usual wiping that you’ll be doing on your 4×4’s interior, don’t forget to keep an air hose handy in cleaning the vents. Using an air hose to remove dirt particles on the vents contributes to a clean and unrestricted air flow that goes in and out of your 4×4.
You may keep it running for more or less than 15 minutes, depending on your cleaning needs or as recommended. Moreover, you may use it on your vehicle’s floor. As for the mats, remove and wash them separately.
8. Use a Semi-Gloss Black Paint on Rusted Suspension Parts
In the event that you notice minor rusting on some parts of your 4×4’s suspension, apply a semi-gloss black paint on the affected areas. Doing this conceals the rust and makes them looking new again.
Afterwards, you need to top them off with a rust-resistant lubricant to help preserve their lifespan. You may use WD40 or any lubricant that matches your preference.
9. Spray Ceramic Coating on Your 4×4
Adding ceramic coating on your vehicle not only provides it with the shiny appearance but also protects it against the harsh abuse of nature.
What Do You Need to Know About Ceramic Coating?
Ceramic coating is a special substance that you can spray on your 4×4’s surface. It contains silica and titanium dioxide that combine together to form a film where; water, grease, and other stains, easily slide away.
There are 2 ways of applying it on your vehicle; either you spray it directly on the surface and rinse it with hose, or you spray it on a dry microfiber cloth and wipe it gently on the surface. Remember, if you’re doing the latter, make sure you use another microfiber cloth to pat your 4×4’s surface dry because the coating will get smudged and unevenly spread.
D.I.Y. Engine Degreaser
If you’re not interested in buying a degreaser for your 4×4 and are curious enough on how you can make your own, here’s a simple guide on how to do it. Click here for the complete tutorial.
These are some of the things you can do for proper vehicle cleaning. By ensuring that not a single dirt particle escapes your eyes and your 4×4’s given adequate lubrication, you prolong your vehicle’s usefulness. If you have other ideas on how to properly clean your ride, drop us a comment below.