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Sunday, June 16, 2024

How Mud Destroys Your Vehicle

 photo by welcomia via iStock

There is no doubt that driving through mud is one of the most fun activities one can do in a 4WD. In fact, it is so fun that many of us choose to go straight through the mud instead of the perfectly dry route around it.

Sadly though, driving through mud is one of the worst things you can do to your 4WD; so, you might want to think twice before doing it. 

In this article we go over all the ways mud can destroy your vehicle and how to protect your 4WD from it in case you have no other option. 

Facts About Mud

Muddy Tire in a mud bog

 photo by Vladimir Chebanov via iStock

All the following facts will help you make sense of how mud can damage a vehicle. Mud is full of silt and small rocks; therefore, it acts like sandpaper. The small rocks also have the potential to stone chip your vehicle or the one behind you and that’s especially true for 4WDs with wider tires. 

The most unknown fact about mud is that it can be saltier than the ocean floor and most mud has a form of salt in it. As if that wasn’t enough, some kinds of mud contain acid sulfate; therefore, mud can be seen as a vehicle rust bath. 

How Mud Destroys Your Vehicle: Bog Holes

How Mud Destroys Your Vehicle Bog Holes

 photo by Lorado via iStock

Bog holes are some of the best obstacles when off-roading, that’s if they are unavoidable. If you go through a bog hole just to go through it and you lose your truck it will be a bad day. So, only go through the ones you need to in order to reach that great camping spot or viewpoint!

As mentioned above, bog holes can easily claim a vehicle, you can hydro lock your engine (water ingress into the combustion chamber) and if you get stuck in one and the truck gets filled with water you may be fighting electrical issues forever. 

Always walk a section of water or use a stick to check the depth. If it is deep and you absolutely have to go through it, hook up a snatch strap or spool out your winch and wrap it around your bull bar or spare rear tire to have it ready for a recovery. You don’t want to be spending too much time in deep water!

Learn More:

Copper Death

corroded copper wire

 photo by thanasus via iStock

We talked about how corrosive mud can be. All those salts can get into electrical connections which will lead to corrosion of the copper inside them.  

If you’ve been playing in mud, give the engine bay a good clean and spray all the susceptible electrical connections with some contact cleaner to prevent them from corroding! 

How Mud Destroys Your Vehicle: Alternator Damage

How Mud Destroys Your Vehicle Alternator Damage

 photo by Birdlkportfolio via iStock

Alternators hate water, but mud is their worst enemy! If you drive through water or mud regularly expect some alternator issues as the brushes inside them will not enjoy the fun you are having. 

The alternator isn’t the only part that hates mud though. Everything that has bearings from pulleys to your wheels can get contaminated with all that silt which will lead to premature wear. 


person working on SUV brakes

 photo by gilaxia via iStock

Brakes are an item you replace frequently; however, if you play in mud, you will be changing them out far quicker. The mud will grind against your pads and disks which eventually wears them out. 

There is no way to prevent this while going through mud but you can decrease the outcomes by washing your vehicle as soon as you are out of the mud. 

How Mud Destroys Your Vehicle: Wheel Balance

Two SUVs in the mud

 photo by welcomia via iStock

If you just got out of the mud and your steering wheel is shaking like crazy don’t panic, it’s the mud that’s stuck on your wheels. 

Wash your wheels thoroughly both on the inside and outside and the problem will be solved. 

As you can see, mud can cause plenty of issues. When you absolutely have to go through it the cons are outweighed by the fun of concurring the challenge upfront. If you can drive around it though, it may be better to do so as it will prolong the life of your vehicle.

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