By Melissa Brodsky
Your Bronco is meant to get dirty. And while it will look great with some mud and dust, you’ll want to get that off to keep the vehicle in great condition. Ford recommends these best practices and products to protect your Bronco.
Importantly, if you have a soft top or a Bronco with the Sasquatch package, wash your vehicle by hand or at a touchless commercial wash with no mechanical tracks on the floor. See pages 360-364 of the owner’s manual for full tips.
Products to Use
While the procedure of how to wash a vehicle and with what products is familiar to many of us, in light of owners beginning to take delivery and some unique textures on the Bronco –– such as the MIC top –– it’s good to look over and follow the details Ford includes in the owner’s manual, especially if you’re washing it at home by hand.
Gather these items before starting.
For the inside:
- Vacuum and attachments
- Microfiber and cloth towels
- Cloth or leather cleaner, depending on your upholstery
- Spot and stain remover
- Plastic and vinyl cleaner
- Ammonia-free glass cleaner
For the outside:
- Hose. You can use a pressure washer if you keep the psi to 2,000 or less, use a 40-degree wide spray pattern, and keep the nozzle 12 inches from the vehicle and at a 90-degree angle. Avoid using a pressure washer on the soft top.
- Towels or a mitt for washing the surface
- Wheel cleaner
- Large brush (soft bristles)
- Car wash/car shampoo
For best results, use products from the Motorcraft brand.
|Motorcraft Bug and Tar Remover, ZC-42|
|Motorcraft Custom Bright Metal Cleaner, ZC-15||ESR-M5B194-B|
|Motorcraft® Detail Wash, ZC-3-A||ESR-M14P4-A|
|Motorcraft Engine Shampoo and Degreaser, ZC-20||ESR-M14P3-A|
|Motorcraft Engine Shampoo, CXC-66-A|
|Motorcraft Premium Leather and Vinyl Cleaner, ZC-56|
|Motorcraft Multi-Purpose Cleaner, CXC-101|
|Motorcraft Premium Windshield Wash Concentrate with Bitterant, ZC-32-B2||WSS-M14P19-A|
|Motorcraft Premium Quality Windshield Washer Fluid, CXC-37-F/M||WSS-M14P19-A|
|Motorcraft Professional Strength Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner, ZC-54|
|Motorcraft Premium Glass Cleaner, CXC-100||ESR-M14P5-A|
|Motorcraft Spot and Stain Remover, ZC-14|
|Motorcraft Ultra-Clear Spray Glass Cleaner, ZC-23||ESR-M14P5-A|
|Motorcraft Wheel and Tire Cleaner, ZC-37-A|
Washing the Exterior
Immediately remove fuel spills, bird droppings, insect deposits, sap, and tar to protect your paint, and regularly wash the underbody after off roading and to remove winter salt. Removing the dirt and debris from it slows down corrosion and, just as necessary, lets you see if anything was damaged on the trails.
Headlights and taillights: Use cold to lukewarm water with car shampoo. As with any part of the vehicle, take care not to scrape at them. Don’t wipe dirt off of them dry, in order to prevent scratching.
Camera lenses and sensors: Don’t pressure wash over these. Use cold to lukewarm water only to clean them.
Windshield, hardtop windows, and wipers: Use glass cleaner. If you apply decals to the inside of your hardtop heated rear window, don’t use a razor to remove them. You can cause damage not covered by warranty.
Soft top: Clean with a soft bristle brush. Use only a high-quality convertible top cleaner and protectant. Avoid using a pressure washer.
Stripes and graphics: If you have the graphics set on your First Edition or Wildtrak, or add your own decals to the vehicle, Ford recommends hand-washing over these. If you use a pressure washer on the exterior, make sure you follow the practices listed above: 2,000 psi or less, a nozzle with a wide spray, and keep the spray at 90 degrees to the vehicle. Any other angle may cause damage and peeling to the graphics.
Wheels and tires: Let your wheels cool before applying any chemicals to rims and tires. If you’re planning to let the vehicle sit for an extended time, drive the Bronco for a few minutes after washing to prevent any corrosion to the brake discs and pads.
Waxing: Ford recommends waxing the high-gloss painted surfaces one to two times a year. Don’t use an abrasive wax, and do not wax over unpainted surfaces or low-gloss black colored parts. They will discolor over time.
Engine compartment: First, don’t wash it if you’re not familiar with the parts. Avoid the spark plugs and ignition coil, and cover the battery, air filter assembly, and power distribution box. Wait until it’s cold and don’t wash it often. Use only an approved engine shampoo and degreaser.
Cleaning the Interior
Even if you have the washout flooring, take care when cleaning the interior of your Bronco, especially when it comes to the instrument panel and screens.
Displays and screens: Don’t use glass cleaner. Ford recommends buffing in circular motions with a microfiber cloth. If you have to, spray a little alcohol on the cloth –– not the screen –– to remove residue.
Instrument panel: Don’t use glass cleaner. Use a damp soft cloth, then dry. Don’t polish the top of the instrument panel. The dull finish is purposely there to avoid reflective glare.
Steering wheel: Chemicals/strong detergents can damage the airbag system, so it’s best to avoid them.
Plastics: Use only mild soap and water, then dry.
Leather and vinyl: First remove dust and loose dirt with a vacuum. Wipe with mild soap and water –– keep it to a damp cloth. Dry. Use a leather conditioner after.
Fabric seats, carpeted floors and mats, and headliners: Vacuum. For stains, spot clean. If a ring forms, clean the entire area immediately.
Rubber floors: Check out our article on using the active drain plugs. Don’t spray water on the seats, console, door interiors, or any electrical connections or electronics.