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When you get back from a great trip into the outback or along a forest trail the dirt on your 4x4 is a badge of honour. It shows people that you've been out there enjoying yourself and that your vehicle is doing what it was built to. Nobody can accuse you of posing when there's mud half way up the doors and a family of koalas has set up home in the branches caught on your light bar.

Even if all the muck on your pride and joy gives you a feeling of achievement, though, it's not a good idea to leave it there too long. You can end up with marks on the paintwork, but the real problem is rust. Your chassis rustproofing might be up to the job (but if you've been bouncing around on rough ground it probably isn't any more) but why run the risk? Dirt and mud caked on your vehicle hold moisture against the metal, and that's a great way to get rust started. Once it gets a foothold it can eat quite a big chunk of your vehicle, so that's probably something you want to avoid. It's even worse if your local roads get salted in winter because that salt will kick-start corrosion. Getting all the muck out isn't easy, though, so you need some decent equipment.

Karcher is a leading maker of pressure washers, and we reckon they're the best around. We stock a range of Karcher systems, going from compact units that fit in a cupboard right up to heavy-duty models that will blast a tank clean in minutes. All you need is power and a water supply, and you can put out a high-pressure water jet that takes the heaviest dirt right off. Bodywork comes up sparkling and flexible nozzle attachments let you get into the tightest corners underneath. Caked dust, old grease and clods of mud all get swept away, leaving no place for rust to start. If you plan on cleaning your truck away from an electrical supply we even have petrol powered models.

One of the best things about these Karcher cleaners is their flexibility. The standard lance will do you for most vehicle cleaning tasks, but if you want to make things even easier you can add a chassis cleaner attachment that lets you clean off the running gear without having to crawl in there yourself. Brush kits and multi-jet attachments are available too, along with extension hoses and water filters. You can get even more use out of it with a racer, which lets you clean patios and walls at high speed.

Using a car wash can get expensive and doesn't always do a great job, especially underneath your vehicle. The traditional garden hose doesn't give you the pressure you need to shift caked-on dirt. A Karcher pressure washer is the best way to get the job done.

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