Any rider will tell you, nothing says fun quite like a dirty ATV. Hitting the trail for some ATV mudding is what it’s all about. But when you get home, you’ll need to put some effort in and get your ATV clean. Keeping your ATV clean helps ensure it is safe and properly functioning. So what really goes into getting it clean? Here are some tips to make your cleanup after ATV mudding a little easier.
You’re ATV is good and muddy; you’ve just pulled it off the trailer and it’s pretty caked up. Before you go for the hose, go around and tap the big chunks off with light taps from a rubber mallet. Once you’ve done that, use a large, broad spray of water and let it soak into the mud. You’re not trying to blast if off right now; your goal is to just loosen things up. Repeat this step a couple of times as the water soaks in, because sometimes heavy mud will need a little extra water to break down.
Now that you have the mud softened up, it’s time to get to work. While you can do this step with the pressure spray nozzle on your garden hose, a pressure washer will do the most thorough job here. Keep in mind that with a pressure washer you need to dial the pressure back, use a broad tip and keep away from sensitive areas (air box, CV boots, fuse box, radiator, gas tank, stickers, etc). You want to avoid driving water into places that may cause damage. Also some ATVs state in the owner’s manual to never use a pressure washer, so check if your rig’s manual just in case. Either way, the object here is power! Get in there and blast that softened mud off. While you’ll find that you can get most of it out with this step, don’t get too hung up on it; you just want to get the real problem areas started.
The spray wash should’ve removed the majority of the mud, but if you find that there’s a little left in tight spots, now is a good time to take some extra measures. Fill a bucket with soap, specific to car washing, and scrub your ATV down with a sponge, and a bristled brush for tighter areas. Places that see a lot of oily residue, like chain guards and the swing arm, could even use a bit of de-greaser to get things good and clean.
Depending who you ask, you might end up with 100 different answers on the best way to dry your ATV off after a good washing. You can always just let it sit in the sun and air dry, but if you want to save time and make sure you get it good and dry, try using your leaf blower. On top of getting all the water off and drying things up quickly, using your leaf blower will also help blow out any dirt remaining in cracks and crevices that managed to escape your washing. It also helps to avoid rust and corrosion and saves on having to wash towels afterward. Spray down moving parts and large metal surfaces with a quality rust inhibitor to protect your ATV, and even make it easier to clean next time. Finally, if your rig has a chain now is the time to re-lube it.
What was once an ATV completely covered in mud is now showroom shiny and ready to get back out there again.
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Nicole Wakelin covers the automotive industry as a freelance journalist for a variety of outlets. Her work includes news pieces, podcasts, radio, written reviews, and video reviews. She can be found in The Boston Globe, CarGurus, BestRide, US News and World Report, and AAA along with lifestyle blogs like Be Car Chic, The Other PTA, and She Buys Cars. She is active on social media with a large following on both Twitter and Instagram and currently serves as Vice President of the New England Motor Press Association.