Pre-Wash and Post-Wash
Extreme exposure to mud, dust, dirt, and water will quickly corrode the body of your car or truck, so it's imperative to protect the exterior of your car when you go off-road. It's a good idea to give your car a wash before you go off-roading so that it is easier to clean afterwards without dirt sticking on to dirt. However it is absolutely essential to wash the car down as soon after your outing as possible. The longer the mud stays on your car, the more difficult it will be to remove, possibly damaging the paintwork.
Use a pressure washer for the first wash to remove the stubborn dirt without having to scrub endlessly. It's best to use the power washer or foam gun to spray the undercarriage too, which will be clogged with dust or mud. An added benefit of using a pressure washer is that it uses less water than a normal hose.
Make sure to use a detergent that is specifically made for car washes to avoid stripping paint, grease, or wax from the exterior. Use a sponge or wash mitt to give the body a good clean and a wheel and tire brush to scrub the wheel arches and tires. Make sure to clean everywhere, including the grille, bumpers, windows, and mirrors. Microfiber cloths work really well for drying the different areas without leaving streak marks.
Rinse the Engine
It's highly likely that dirt has made its way in under the hood. Rinse the engine without blasting or saturating any area too much, especially the electrics and the air filter. It may be wise to cover the electrics with a plastic bag to prevent them getting soaked. Another method is to use a sponge to clean the engine bed.
Rinse the Undercarriage
The undercarriage, being the closest part of the vehicle to the ground, will collect a lot of mud or dirt. Either spray it down as already mentioned or place a lawn sprinkler under the car and allow it to spray the undercarriage for a substantial period of time.
Don't Miss the Hidden Areas
Go through your car with a detailed eye. Dust finds its way into all the nooks and crannies, so check all the cracks and crevices in the vehicle. Look behind the bumpers, on the roof, on your rims, and even inside the cab, and clean thoroughly.
One tip for protecting the car is to spray it with All Armor before going off-road. The mud will wash off much easier when you spray it.
By following these tips you will keep the exterior of your car in great condition so that you can have many more outings and many miles more of driving pleasure.
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