Avoid Rust – Shaun Whale

Like just about every red-blooded Aussie, I absolutely love this time of year. What’s not to love? For me this time of year signals beach driving and coastal camping and it’s something I look forward to each year. As much as I love letting the tyres down and getting sand in between my lugs, I can tell my 4WD cringes every time it goes to the beach. Of course salt usually means rust, especially when your 4WD is involved. Believe it or not, some people I’ve met wouldn’t ever dream of putting their pride and joy on the beach just because they fear rust so much. If you ask me, you are sacrificing some of the best 4WDing and camping you can possibly do by ruling out sand driving.

However, take the right precautions before and after you drive on the beach and you can have your off-road cake and eat it too!

…you are sacrificing some of the best 4WDing and camping you can possibly do by ruling out sand driving

Many people preach about spraying the underside of their vehicle with products like WD40, Lanolin or even fish oil. While the theory is right it does cause just about everything to stick to the underside of your vehicle, including the sand and salt. For me I like to simply take the time to wash the vehicle properly and make sure I’ve got all the salt off. Some people swear by electronic rust protection devices, but I’ve never had the chance to test one, so I’d rather not comment or advise either way.

As soon as I get off the beach I get to work on washing it off and getting rid of all the salt. This can be a very time consuming process, but is well worth it in the long run. Many people are happy enough to run their 4WDs over one of the dedicated wash stations at some of the popular spots like Inskip point when you drive off Fraser, and while these wash stations are good my opinion is that a quick run through there will not suffice.

It’s pretty common knowledge that using a garden sprinkler under the 4WD works well to rid the sand and salt, and I couldn’t agree more. But first get a hose into your chassis rails and spend a good five minutes for each rail washing it out. You’ll be shocked at how much sand gets stored in there. I really recommend you then put the 4WD on the front lawn when you get home and get a garden sprinkler working underneath and spend at least 15 minutes concentrated in each part of your vehicle. After 15 minutes move the sprinkler to concentrate on another area, spending around 45 minutes in total washing the under carriage. Then you can go to work on washing the rest of the vehicle.  It seems excessive, but these are the lengths you need to go to if you want to be confident that your pride and joy isn’t going to turn into a rust bucket!