Dirty on dirty
So you own a 4WD and you use it offroad. Often it’ll get dirty in the course of those trips, but when it does, take a few moments clean it. There is no point driving around for days or even weeks with a dirty 4WD as some misguided badge of honour – you won’t do the paintwork any good and you increase the chance of rust. And if you do clean it straight after the trip you can take the opportunity to check out the car for developing problems, plus it’s a lot easier before the mud sets hard. There’s also the road safety aspect. Lights covered with mud aren’t effective, so get them clean. Mechanics don’t appreciate working on dirty vehicles either.
It’s funny how those who like to drive around in muddy vehicles on perfectly good bitumen like to complain about their paintwork scratching when they go bush. The thing is, a good defence against scratches is highly polished, waxed bodywork. That way branches and undergrowth will just brush off, but if you have dust or mud baked in then it’ll scratch deep.
Maybe the drive-dirty lovers want everyone to know they’ve been offroading or are worried about being seen as one of the non-offroading 4WD set. Well, if that’s a concern then time to harden up, be proud of who you are and what you drive! Anyway, an enthusiast can tell in a glance whether your car is regularly used offroad or is just temporarily dirty, and the ultragreen brigade will want to convert you to fertilizer regardless of dirt on your car or not. So, clean it up!