How to Clean Your Rig After Off-Roading

Getting your truck or SUV dirty is one of the best parts of driving a 4x4 or AWD rig. But, unfortunately, there comes a time when you have to clean the mud and dirt off your rig. While it may be tempting to leave that dirt as a badge of honor, cleaning your vehicle is essential. Letting mud or salt stay on your vehicle for too long can cause damage to the paint job and even lead to rust!

Here is a step-by-step guide to keeping your ride nice and clean after a fun day of slinging mud!

Pressure Wash


The first step is spraying down your vehicle with a hose. It is tempting to use a sponge right away, but that would be a mistake. Scrubbing could lead to small scratches on your paint if sand or debris is in the mud.

Using the hose, take your time spraying down your vehicle. Areas like the wheel wells and the underside of your truck might not be visible but can be covered in mud and dirt. Make sure to hit all these areas and give them a few extra seconds of blast time. Allowing mud to harden on your undercarriage can seriously impact performance. In a pinch, you can always park your rig over a sprinkler to loosen some of the dried mud.

The sooner you clean the vehicle, the easier it will be to get rid of caked-on mud and dirt. A high-pressure nozzle can help eliminate dirt even after it has dried out and turned to concrete.

You should carefully clean the engine bay along with your truck’s or SUV’s exterior. Dirt can easily enter your engine bay through the grille causing a huge mess that could negatively impact your rig’s performance. Cleaning under the hood can be challenging, so if you want to play it safe, take it to a local detailer.

Soap and Sponge


Now that most of the caked-on dirt is gone, you can use a large sponge and soap to clean up the rest, focusing on the hard-to-reach nooks and crannies.

There are soaps made explicitly for washing vehicles to ensure you don’t damage the paint on your vehicle. Some household soaps can actually strip away the wax that protects your paint.

When you’re scrubbing your vehicle, make sure to work from the top down, so the dirty water doesn’t ruin all your hard work. Once you’ve scrubbed all that extra dirt off, it’s time to rinse off all the leftover soap and dirt with the hose.

Clean Your Wheels and Tires


After a couple of hours out on the trails, your wheels and tires will be a mess. The caked-on mud can even get so bad that it can cause your wheels to become imbalanced, causing your vehicle to start shaking. It will also negatively impact performance and fuel economy! This is another reason you shouldn’t wait too long to clean off your rig after off-roading.

Start by hosing off the wheels and tires to get off large chunks of dirt before using a brush to get off the rest. If you have chrome wheels, use chrome polish to make them look new again. Once everything looks shiny and clean, apply car wax or a tire shine product.

Cleaning The Interior


Going off-roading or mudding doesn’t just get the outside of your vehicle dirty. Dirt and mud will inevitably get tracked into your truck. Vacuuming the interior can help prevent dirt from being ground into the carpet. If the dirt has already been ground in, you should use a carpet cleaner. For removable carpets or mats, some soapy water and a brush should do the trick.

Looking For a New Off-Road Rig?


You can find the perfect 4x4 truck or SUV at Northwest Motorsport! We have a massive selection of adventurous off-road rigs to get you out into the dirt and mud. So kickstart your next off-road adventure with a 4x4 Jeep Wrangler or a lifted Ram truck. These adventure-ready rigs are built to get dirty – just make sure to give it a bath after!