Off Road Water Crossing – Does Your Off-Roader Need A Snorkel?


Safely crossing water in your Jeep or truck requires good planning, good decision-making, and a good technique.

As you get the hang of crossing shallower water safely, you may start wanting to take on the challenge of deeper water.

That’s when another challenge, keeping water out of the engine, becomes a priority.

So how do you cross water that’s deeper than your vehicle’s recommended depth limit without sucking water into the air intake and causing your engine to stop dead in its tracks?

With a snorkel, of course!

What Is A Snorkel?

If you’ve ever been shallow water diving in the ocean to look at fish, you’ve probably used a snorkel, that long tube that stuck out of the water above your head with the mouthpiece that let you breathe.

Well, a snorkel for your truck or Jeep is basically the same thing, just designed to work on a truck!

A snorkel lets you cross deeper water than you’d be able to otherwise, as the tube runs from the engine compartment and up to the top of your truck, allowing it to breathe without sucking up water into the engine.

How Does A Snorkel Work?

The reason that any off-roading truck or Jeep stalls in water that’s too deep for it to cross is that water gets sucked into the air intake  the engine running.

This is called hydrolocking and it equates to one very expensive repair bill to get the engine running again.

Snorkels are installed onto the air intake, creating a seal to keep water out of the engine while allowing the air intake to keep taking in air.

The snorkel pipe that runs out of the air intake then travels through the hood and up the passenger side windshield post where it is securely mounted.

With the opening to the air intake now extended up so it’s above the roof of the vehicle, the chance of sucking in water is low.

The air intake is protected and the vehicle can cross water that’s deeper than it would be able to without the snorkel.

If any water should somehow make it down the snorkel tube, that gets funneled off to exit the tube before it can make it to the air intake.

Does Your Off-Roader Need A Snorkel To Cross Deep Water?

That’s a question that only you can answer based on what you want to do with your off-road truck or Jeep and it’s maximum fording depth.

At no point should you ever go through water that’s higher than the electrical elements in the top of the engine compartment.

Still, a snorkel could give you the ability to cross water that’s deeper than if you tried to do that without one.

Snorkels are also great if you like driving through mud and need a way to keep muddy water from making it into the air intake.

There is also the added benefit that the snorkel allows the air intake to suck in cooler air at the top of the vehicle, which can boost horsepower a little bit.

Have Fun In The Water With A Snorkel

Snorkels are a simple solution to a really big problem that could happen if try to test your skills at forging deeper waters with your specially-equipped truck or Jeep with its new bumpers.

Your off-roader still won’t be a submarine; however, you’ll be less likely to seriously damage the engine if you install a snorkel as part of your water-fording modifications and preparations.

And besides all that, snorkels look cool!

Fab Fours

Leading The Steel Bumper Revolution!