Driving Off-road Through Water

Depending on where you live and off-road there is a very good chance that you will, at some point in your career have to forge deep water. Its one thing driving through a shallow puddle and making a splash and it’s quite another having to cross a deep river or lake. These are very important skills which can really help to keep you from getting into a tricky, expensive and even dangerous situation. Driving incorrectly (basically too fast) can lead to problems with the engine hydro-locking and temporary shorting of the electrical systems.


The basic rule of thumb is – the deeper the water – the slower you drive.

If you need to forge water which is deeper than a foot you need to slow down considerably. If the water is more than 2 feet deep you need to slow right down to 5 miles per hour or even less, keep in low gear and do your best not to make any type of wake. Be careful to avoid driving through water which is deeper than the air box without having a snorkel fitted, if you are likely to forge through deep water on a regular basis then it is certainly advisable to invest in a snorkel.


The way to think about it is this – if you drive quickly and splash through a puddle you will see a whole water wall splayed out from the outer edge of the tires, the same amount of water will be splashing up on the inside and seeping into the engine compartment followed by the air box. Once the water gets into the air box there’s a real risk of some of it reaching the engine even though they are designed so that a reasonable amount of water can be in there without ever making it to the delicate innards of the engine.

Jeeps are Jeeps, they are terrific for traversing across the wildest country including water but they are not boats (take a look at www.ocauto.com and you’ll see the difference – these are cars, they are super cool motors but they are primarily built for driving across the land, they are not boats). If you go charging down an off-road trail at 20 miles per hour (this is a very fast speed for off-road) and splash into water which looks like a mere puddle from a distance but is actually close to a foot in depth you are asking for trouble. You will cause lots of water to fly up beneath the hood drenching and flooding the air box.

And that’s really all there is to it. A very experienced off-roader I know has described as off-roading as an adrenaline rush at less than 5 miles per hour – and that’s exactly what it is. Jeep drivers don’t have the need for speed, they have the need to explore the wildest rugged terrain in a vehicle which is built for the job, a small amount of water is okay if forged with care but you don’t want anything splashy or flashy if the water is deep.


That’s really all there is to remember . . . the slower the better and try your best not to make waves which can lap up into the engine compartment and air box even in relatively shallow waters.

Check out the motors at http://www.ocauto.com and see the fabulous range of Jeeps and SUV’s they have as well as lots of other terrific vehicles, in fact they’ve probably got something suitable for every driver, every family and every need – and that definitely includes you.

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