Cleaning Your 4×4 after Mudding

Cleaning your 4x4 after muddingMudding is awesome! Man and machine against Mother Nature. It’s fun, it’s dirty, but it is a chore to clean your rig. Mud gets everywhere and as soon as you think you’ve got it all there’s more. Here is some advice for getting your rig clean after she’s all muddy.

The sooner, the better.

Mud is different everywhere. In some regions it’s thin and watery; in others it’s thick like wet concrete. No matter what type of mud your rig is covered in the sooner you wash it off, the easier it will come off. This is simple common sense, but for a few drivers out there this goes against natural instinct. Driving around town with a truck covered in mud is like a badge of honor. But, soon as that mud dries it literally can become like concrete in your undercarriage. My advice is as soon as you’re done mudding go wash your truck.

Use high pressure.

Cleaning your rig is chore, speed up the process and use some muscle with high pressure. There are two options to consider when it comes to washing with high pressure.

  • Pressure Washer: This is the best choice if you have the space (yard or drive way) and the money to invest. Prices can range from $70 up to $500 for top of the line units. Don’t forget, all that mud has to go somewhere – after you’re done cleaning your 4×4 you’ll most likely need to clean your driveway. Be cautious, higher PSI and paint don’t play nice together. You can also buy a U-Shaped attachment for your pressure washer to easier reach the undercarriage.
  • Car Wash: A DIY car wash is great because the pressure is higher than using a standard hose and you don’t have to clean up! Another bonus is many car washers have a warm water rinse which makes mud removal easier. The down side is you can expect to pay $10-$20 each time you wash.

Don’t forget under the hood.

The engine bay is an area of much debate on how to clean. Depending on the age of your vehicle there is going to be anywhere from a little to a lot of precious electronics under there – which you DO NOT want soaking wet. Also, be cautious around your air filter. Depending on the type of air filter you’re running (Stock vs. Cone) you might want to be extra careful with that as well. I spoke with several owners in person and online and here are some tips for cleaning under your hood.

  • Many owners simply use a hose, brush, and towel and carefully clean the engine bay.
  • One owner I spoke with said he left his engine running and pressure washed his engine bay.
  • A lot of dealers recommend steam cleaning and covering electronics with plastic bags.
  • Using a cleaner like Simple Green is highly recommended to speed up the process

Wash behind your ears.

Cleaning your 4x4 after mudding

Ok, trucks don’t have ears. But they have radiators, bumpers, and wheels. All of these parts have little cracks and crevices that attract mud. While you’re under the hood carefully wash off your radiator. It’s surprising how much mud finds its way into the little vents.  Dried mud on your radiator can lead to overheating – So don’t forget to clean this! Just like radiators, wheels can sometimes have little spaces that mud can dry and become difficult to remove. A Toyota FJ Cruiser owner said dried mud caused his wheel to go out of balance and shake at higher speeds. After cleaning out all the mud everything was back to normal.

Keeping your rig clean will help everything run smoother and last longer. Washing all that mud and dirt off your truck can be a chore, but is well worth it in the long run.

Bonus Tips

  • Spray the underside with Armor All before mudding and the mud will wash off easier
  • Too lazy to get underneath? Set up a sprinkler under your 4×4 and go watch a game. Most of the mud will be gone when you return.
  • The best way to keep your rig clean? Don’t go into the mud.
About the author: James Daugherty loves his Dodge Truck and the Pacific Northwest. He writes for



About Rick Webster

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *