Water Crossing for Your 4×4

Crossing water is one of the most exhilarating parts of off-roading, but if it goes wrong it can also be one of the most expensive off-road trips you make. To begin with, your 4wd need to be kitted out and prepped for a potential water crossing including the correct 4X4 Wheels and Tyres amongst other added accessories such as a snorkel and water bra. Water crossings aren’t for the faint-hearted but it’s not a bravery award. Having the experience and knowledge to know how to handle a crossing is fundamental to not only safety but also not destroying your 4wd. It’s definitely worth undergoing some training before you set out. Here are some of the main sticking points to consider for any water crossing.


Know your 4wd and the depth that the manufacturer says it can safely clear. This can vary a lot from 500mm to 800mm. These depths are generally alright for small crossings. However, if you are planning something bigger or know that recent weather may have caused some deep mud ponds, you’re going to need to look at more measure to protect your 4wd.

To really get a fee for the depth and terrain under the water surface, you need to walk the path you plan to drive. This enables you not only to measure the depth but also avoid and rock or deep patches. Assess whether it is essential for you to cross. Weigh up your exit point and feel the flow and current of the water. Doing this also allows your car to cool, sudden temperature changes aren’t great for your engine components so turn the engine off whilst you work on your plan.

Moreton5D 165 R

Snorkel blind or tarpaulin

Engines aren’t designed for water. If you’re crossing water, you need to take steps to stop water flooding the engine. The two most straightforward ways to do this is with a snorkel and blind. The snorkel draws in air from high up helping the engine to breath. Even if you have a well-fitted snorkel, it is also worth using either a specifically designed blind or even a piece of tarpaulin. This will protect the front of the 4×4 and prevent water entering under the bonnet and affecting the electrical elements. They need to be well fixed and not interfere with the steering. They should also be removed soon after you leave the water to allow the engine to cool properly.


Bow wave

Understanding a bow wave and how it can assist your crossing will make life a little easier for you. A bow wave is created when water is pushed. If you imagine using your flat hand through water, you’ll see that the water is higher at the front that it is behind. This is the bow wave. Done right you can use the bow wave so that you reduce the depth of the engine. It’s all about the right speed. Too fast and the water will come over your bonnet and, too slow and the area behind the bow wave fills.

Recovery equipment

Even the most experienced drivers mess up. Have your recovery equipment set up before you enter the water. The last thing you’ll want is to try and get all your recovery gear fixed when you’re chest deep in water.

Exciting yes, but expensive if you don’t prepare and plan for a water crossing. We’re happy to take you through what you need for your 4×4 for a safe and in-expensive water crossing.

Check out the video below to see a crazy recovery the All 4 Adventure guys did when one of their 4wds got bogged in the water.

TJM Perth

We are a family owned private business that takes pride in providing quality service along with the best quality 4×4 accessories in Perth. We stock all TJM 4×4 accessories along with other top Australian 4wd accessories brands.

If you would like some help in getting the right gear for your 4wd, please feel free to contact us or visit us at 9 Pritchard St, O’Connor WA 6163 Australia.

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