Taking your 4WD on Bush Tracks

Long bush scratchIn my case we took our new Toyota Landcruiser Prado away for a long weekend the day after we drove it off the lot. Even the new car smell wasn’t enough to deter us newbie 4WD owners from putting the car through its paces. The bush track down to the beach started out wide and for several hundred metres the kids and driver were enjoying the bumpy ride on a sandy track.

But before long the width of the track decreased considerably and within another 100 metres there was the sound of coastal shrubs running their spiny fingers down the length of the immaculate paintwork. When a clearing appeared we decided to turn around and begin the agonisingly slow trip back up the track to the safety of the gravel road.

After returning home and washing the car, one long continuous scratch running almost the length of the passenger side was revealed and smaller ones on the driver’s side. While it was fine to drive around with scratches and gravel dust on holidays it wasn’t the look I wanted doing the school run and grocery shopping. In reality this car will be used as in the country four times a year and a suburban mum’s taxi for the rest of the year.

I lived with the bush scratches for a week before I had the car repaired to a near perfect finish. While we’ll take the car four wheel driving again, I wanted the new car look to last longer than its 1,000km service date.

What kind of 4WD car owner are you? Were you happy to take it off-road and get a few scratches in its early days because that’s what 4WD are designed for or do you believe in keeping its paintwork looking good and leave the trashing to the interior of the mum’s taxi?

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