How to Clean ATV plastic: Top Tips
Why do we all buy four-wheelers? For off-roading, of course – pushing through mud/dirt/dust/, snow, and slush! Now, while the trips into the wilderness can be lots of fun, if you don’t take proper care of the ATV, it will get dirty in the blink of an eye. The question is – how do you clean your four-wheeled friend? The metallic parts aren’t that hard to keep in shape, especially if it’s stainless steel.
The plastic parts are where things get a bit complicated. I’m talking about the fenders, front bumpers, and all the other exterior parts that get mud, dirt, grime, and sand all over them. A simple visit to the nearest car wash might not do the trick (besides, it will be expensive). So, join me, and let’s talk about the most effective cleaning techniques!
Start with some Water Treatments
I know off-roading can be pretty exhausting, and the first thing you want to do is take a shower and relax. But do keep in mind that your ATV needs some proper cleaning as well to stay in shape. And it’s very important to do this as soon as possible before the mud and dirt dry up and cause you a headache. A hose should do just fine: make sure to turn the engine off so that the water doesn’t cause a short circuit.
The stronger the water pressure, the better. And if the mud is too strong and some “presoaking” doesn’t get rid of it, consider buying a pressure washing machine. These are available for 200-250 US dollars and do an excellent job of removing the most stubborn stains. Water-cleaning is the first order of business, and if you do this regularly, the four-wheeler will always look like it’s brand-new.
The Power of a High-Grade Degreaser
Now, if you haven’t been taking care of your vehicle, you’re probably wondering: how to clean old plastic on an ATV? The answer is a degreaser. As the name suggests, this solution is specifically formulated to get rid of grease – exactly what an old, dirty four-wheeler needs. Mix it 50/50 with water to achieve the best results. Let it sit for a minute or so; most modern-day solutions get the job done in 30-40 seconds.
The next step would be to use a hose or pressure washing. That’s right: if the plastic is way too dirty for water to handle, start the procedure with a degreaser, and only then grab your hose or washer. And remember to treat the bottom of the plastic parts as well, not only the top.
Soaping: a very Effective Technique
Even if you’ve got the most effective degreaser on the market, it might not be enough to make the ATV nice and shiny. So, what can you do to fix that? The good-old soap can be of aid in this situation. All you’ll need is a sponge and a regular soap from your local store. However, I highly recommend investing in an automotive detergent, as it will be a lot more effective. The Magic Eraser by Mr. Clean is a great place to start.
There’s nothing hard about this part: apply some of that detergent on the four-wheeler and use the sponge to remove all the grease. In some cases, a sponge won’t cut it for this job, and a brush with big, thick, and durable bristles will be exactly what the doc ordered. Brushes are an amazing remedy for deeply-embedded dirt and oil.
Be very thorough, but, at the same time, make sure not to damage the plastic, as it can be pretty fragile, depending on how old it is. That’s pretty much it for my guide on how to get white plastic clean on ATV. Start with a degreaser, move on to a hose, and finish it all up with a decent-quality cleaner.
Drying: is it Really Important?
Some drivers argue that you can just leave the plastic under the sun for a couple of hours, and it will get dry. Now, while there’s a lot of truth to that, I would still recommend using at least a towel for this. The reason: if the water has set, the sun might not be very efficient. A towel, in turn, can get all the tiny spots out of the way. And if you’re ready to spend some extra bucks, an air compressor will be the right investment.
It won’t leave a single drop of water on the ATV. I’m talking about not only the plastic, but also the metallic parts, the seats, and everything else in between. Speaking of the metallic parts, unless they’re crafted from stainless steel or aluminum, rust will take over sooner than you think. So, the air compressor will protect them from corrosion, which is also very important.
Coating comes next
So, by now, we’ve removed all the dirt from the plastic. But I bet it still doesn’t look like much. Is there a way to fix that? Of course, there is: the answer is coating. Most solutions are sprayable, which makes it very easy to apply the formula. Don’t be greedy: spray a decent layer and hold the bottle/can 10-12 inches away from the plastic surfaces. You can even apply it on the metallic parts, but be careful not to get any of it on the seat.
Again, let it sit for 30-60 seconds before you wipe it off. Wait, shouldn’t you let it “sink in” to better protect the ATV? No, you really shouldn’t. I recommend a microfiber cloth: wipe it lightly, don’t push too hard on the plastic. That way, we can bring the original shine back and make the four-wheeler look as good as new! In fact, it will look even brighter than it was when you bought it.
The best thing about this procedure: it will be much easier to clean your vehicle in the future. As I said in the beginning, a simple water hose with a pressure washing machine will be more than enough to keep it nice and clean. That is, of course, if you don’t forget to do this after each off-roading adventure.
Alright, that’s pretty much it! As we’ve learned today, it doesn’t take a lot of effort to clean ATV plastic. Even if it’s a really old and dirty four-wheeler, with the approach, it can be easily cleaned. Follow my guide closely, don’t go cheap with the solutions and equipment, and you’ll be amazed by the results!
A quick note: if you were more interested in how to clean black plastic on ATV, just know that the procedure is pretty much the same as with white plastic. I would, however, suggest looking for a detergent that was specifically mixed for black surfaces. There won’t be much difference in the final result, but still, it might be a bit more efficient. Alright, take care of your four-wheeler, and be safe on your off-roading trips!