Your custom-made Defender was designed to suit your needs and desires. It’s only natural that you love going on adventures and exploring with your one-of-a-kind vehicle. All of this driving and adventure could mean that your Defender might not always be in the best shape, especially after drives off-road or over rocky terrain.
Cleaning your custom Defender post-adventure is essential to keeping it running at its best. There is a proper way to go about cleaning your vehicle, which helps to reduce the possible damaging effects that mud, dirt and other elements might have on your car. Regular washes also mean your Defender can have a longer lifespan and therefore more adventures.
Here are five post-adventure cleaning tips for you custom Defender:
1. The right conditions
It’s very important to know when to clean your Defender. If the day is too sunny the heat will dry out cleaning detergents too quickly, which can make it harder to wash them off. That’s why you should always wash your Defender—or any car—on an overcast day.
If the weather forecast is predicting clear skies for days, you can always wash your car in your garage or under some shade. UV rays can actually be quite damaging to your car’s paint, so remember to protect it with some car wax.
2. Using the right cleaning products
You can’t just use any old detergent or cloth you’d use to clean the bathroom. You need to use products specifically made for washing cars. Anything else might not only fail to clean your Defender properly but could be potentially damaging.
There are great combined “wash and wax” cleaners that work best to cut through muck and mud and restore shine to your car. Always use two buckets of water, one containing your detergent mix and the other should be clean. Rinse out your sponge or cloth with water every now and then to remove the mud that could potentially scratch the paint surface.
Spend some extra time waxing if your custom Defender has a metallic finish, to restore shine and gloss to your car’s paint and to prevent dirt from sticking to your Defender’s surface.
3. Soak! Soak! Soak!
Defenders have a lot of small crevices that mud and gunk can creep into and remain trapped if not properly cleaned. As mud has a mixture of moisture and salt it can create corrosion in places such as the chassis and bulkhead. (1)
To prevent this kind of build-up you can power-wash the under-body of your car after every off-road adventure. Soaking your Defender will soften the mud and help it to loosen on areas that are usually tricker to clean. Think of it like soaking clothing with a stubborn stain. After a good soak let the car sit for at least an hour.
You’ll use less detergent this way as you won’t need to scrub as hard and with the mud and gunk softened, you’re lessening the chances of any hard mud scratching your car’s paint when scrubbing.
4. Clean the interior
Off-road adventures and long road trips not only mean mud on the exterior of your Defender, but tracking in mud and dirt on the inside. Even if you’re super careful with closing windows and wiping off your feet, dirt will still find its way in.
Remove all rubber carpets or mats when vacuuming and power washing your interior. Shake them off and air them out before placing them back inside. Take care when washing your leather seats by using a specialized leather cleaner, or even just a plain damp cloth. Always do a spot test first and never spray directly onto leather, dampen your cloth with the cleaning solution instead. Wipe down the windows with window cleaner to get rid of sun-catching blemishes. (2)
5. Clean the engine
Many car owners will only wash their car’s engine when they want to sell it, but washing the engine regularly can help to keep it dirt and oil free. Because the engine is such an intricate component of the car, you’ll want to be extra careful when cleaning it. Cover all the wires and fuses with plastic prior to washing. It’s not really recommended to power wash an engine, so use a low water pressure setting on your hose and only do a little bit at a time.
You should avoid using detergents and degreasers. If you need to, spray only small sections at a time to avoid causing any damage.
Ready to go
You can easily take care of your custom Defender after your off-road adventures, by using the right products, waiting for overcast weather and just generally practicing good cleaning methods. The better you become at cleaning, the more you’re protecting your custom Defender from possible damage.
- “Corrosion Control of Carbon Steel in Water-Based Mud by Nanosized Metallo-Cationic Surfactant Complexes During Drilling Operations,” Source: https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acsomega.0c03653
- “Do’s and Don’ts of Leather Car Seat Cleaning,” Source: https://www.truecar.com/blog/dos-donts-leather-car-seat-cleaning/