Muddy Raptor? It'll Never Be Clean Again


Few things are more fun than bombing around off-road in Ford's new super truck, the 2017 F-150 Raptor. It has multiple drive modes for just about any terrain, and combined with its massive 35-inch BFGoodrich K02 all-terrain tires, Fox shocks, crazy suspension travel, skid plates and other equipment, there are few places you can't take the truck (but those few places have been identified ).

Once the fun is over at the end of the day, however, you're going to want to try and restore your new truck to its shiny condition. And you're going to have a challenge on your hands.

On a recent jaunt through Bundy Hill Off-Road Park about two hours west of Detroit, I got my test truck a little dirty. OK … a lot dirty. But hey, you try and avoid the mud puddles when your ultimate off-road truck has a setting specifically for mud. That's just not possible.

So, after a day of blasting through the muck and enjoying myself tremendously, I headed home to wash the grime away. And after spending nearly an hour and $50 at a coin-op car wash with a pressure washer, I finally gave up.

See, all the tacked-on bits that make the Raptor look seriously cool on the street serve to trap dirt and mud with extraordinary efficiency. Those fender flares? Sprayed them endlessly, then stuck the washer up under the wheel wells and mud continued to flow out. The neat honeycomb grille traps mud on the backside of it, where it's impossible to spray. Those cheese-grater running boards are smooth on top but not on the bottom, so they trap all the mud underneath. The plastic window trim, hood and fender vents are porous plastic, so no matter how much I scrubbed, the stains from the mud remained.

I was forced to return the truck still dripping mud, even after leaving a lawn sprinkler on all night under the truck to try and get all the mud out from the underside. Sorry about that, Ford — I did my best. Think I'll stick to desert running and sand dunes from now on. photos by Aaron Bragman

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Detroit Bureau Chief Aaron Bragman has had over 25 years of experience in the auto industry as a journalist, analyst, purchasing agent and program manager. Bragman grew up around his father’s classic Triumph sports cars (which were all sold and gone when he turned 16, much to his frustration) and comes from a Detroit family where cars put food on tables as much as smiles on faces. Today, he’s a member of the Automotive Press Association and the Midwest Automotive Media Association. His pronouns are he/him, but his adjectives are fat/sassy. Email Aaron Bragman

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