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Reader help: How do I get rid of bush pinstripes?

Bodywork scratches go hand-in-hand with offroading in wooded areas, but there are ways to reduce bush pinstripes…

QUESTION: Guys, love the site, your expertise and real reviews are a breath of fresh air.

After just coming of the Henty Dunes in south west Tasmania (yesterday) in our new Hilux, we’ve encountered some bush pin striping from the banksia trees on the entry track.

While I pull my hair out in despair (my new truck!), could you run a story on how best to get rid or fix them?

By the way, the Hilux (2016 SR AUTO)  performed perfectly. I almost like it more than my old VZ adventra!

Thanks for the great read as always.

ANSWER: Ah, bush pin striping! It really can’t be avoided if you’re going to tackle some real 4X4 tracks in forested areas. However, it can be mitigated. Here are a few tips:


  • Keep the vehicle clean and shiny with a good layer of wax. That way branches and the like slide and don’t scrape so much. It’s not perfect, but it does help. A dusty car will scratch more than a clean one.
  • Use a vinyl wrap – either a replacement colour like my car, or a clear wrap. This won’t help against dents or deep scratches, but it will definitely help with reducing the impact of minor ones.
  • Use a temporary wrap – like the title photo on the LC200. Ugly, but effective and needs replacement frequently. Buy a car with a light colour like silver or white. These show scratches less than dark colours.
Everest offroad
This Everest is protected by clear vinyl wrap. The owner had it put on when brand new before the first offroad trip.


  • Polish it out yourself – go to Autobarn or similar and get some polish that says it can remove minor scratches. Follow the directions carefully. Done right, these will get rid of minor stripes and help a little on larger ones.
  • Polish it out professionally – a professional can do an amazing job with repair. When I sold my Discovery I was frankly amazed at how good the paint looked, and that car drove many, many very overgrown tracks.
  • Respray – if you’re going to do this, get a professional to do the job unless you really, really want to take the time to do it yourself. It’s not easy, and many jobs turn into hacks that look worse than the orginal damage. There are many options from panels-off to closed-door. If you get only part of the car done then be concerned about paint matching.

What doesn’t work:

  • Oh, I won’t drive down those tracks – yes you will. And even if you don’t, you may make a mistake. If you drive offroad in forested areas, your bodywork will touch vegetation.
  • I’ll get out and move the branches – I’ve seen many people say they’ll do this and the longest anyone lasted was half a hour.
  • Magic products that promise to remove all traces of scratches – this can be done, but it takes skill and good products. There is no magic, easy, wipe-on-off fix.

Best advice:

Two choices:

  1. Keep the car clean as you can and don’t worry about scratches until resale, then get a pro to sort it out. Remember, every time scratches are polished out you eat a little into the clearcoat, as all ‘polishing out’ does is blend the existing paint/clearcoat into the scratch; or
  2. Get the car repaired now and add clear vinyl wrap over the vulnerable areas such as the doors and front panels, maybe the bonnet as that’s easy. I wouldn’t bother with the roof.

  • Hounds

    Bush pin strips are a sign of a good time. Keep them. Lol
    I have gone down the get it professionally polished before sale path on my previous rigs.
    Good looking Everest BTW.

  • Fred

    Sound that there is remedies to prevent or remove, but you must be sure you are up for it or get a professional. I have to ask another question, how do you clean the roof panel inside as it is made from some shaped pressed board covered by from what looks like Felt in my Ranger Wildtrak. Tried carpet foam ,washing powder and expensive 3M fabric abolstry cleaner, a fine brush ,witch only makes unsightly fluff. I am sure I am not alone with this problem. Some carwash suggested taking it out , I tried but there is no way of getting it out unless the windscreen is removed. Any suggestions will be much appreciated. The later models came with black color instead of a slightly grayish color like mine.

    • Leon

      Hire a carpet cleaning machine and ask for the upholstery attachment to go with it.
      I had mud sprayed all over the head lining in my 4wd and the attachment, with diligent care worked a treat. No rubbing or scrubbing permanent damage/marks into the headlining. ( Did the seats and carpet at the same time)

Robert Pepper

Robert Pepper

Robert Pepper is the editor of PM4x4, an offroad driver trainer and photographer interested in anything with wings, sails or wheels. He is the author of four books on offroading, and owns a modified Ford Ranger PX which he uses for offroad touring. His other car is a Toyota 86 which exists purely to drive in circles on racetracks. Visit his website: