Going outdoors and into the wilderness is an adventure all on its own. When you can take a vehicle off road and play a little in the elements, it is even more fun. One of the best things to do is get over a water crossing, otherwise known as water wading. In this article we are going to take a look at wading challenges and how to successfully cross a water crossing. Plus we will also talk about a few awesome off road accessories for wading.
How to successfully complete a water crossing
As mentioned, water wading is when you go off roading and need to make a water crossing. And as you might imagine, electrical components and engines do not enjoy having water mixed into places they will cause damage. This means that wading can be a bit challenging.
01 Know your vehicle’s wading depth
Before you go out on your adventure, make sure you know the limitations of your vehicle. Things like approach angle and wading depth will be needed to make a successful trip. If you do not know or cannot find out the wading depth, then a good rule of thumb is to not go over your tires. If it covers your tires it is likely too deep.
02 Inspect the water before crossing
When you arrive at a water crossing you will want to first inspect the body of water before trying to make it across. If the water is flowing quickly and seems to be slightly on the deeper side you probably want to avoid crossing at all. Fast flowing water can be extremely difficult to traverse and dangerous.
If you find that the water is still you can move on to figuring out the depth of the water and check for any obstacles that cannot be seen. To do this you will need to walk the path you would like to take through the water crossing. As you go through the crossing be sure to mark where there are obstacles and make note of where the water gets deeper. While you do this your car will have some time to cool down a bit before interacting with water that could potentially cool it down too quickly.
03 Pick your line carefully
When walking the path, try multiple options to find the best way to safely enter and exit the water crossing. Ensuring that you do not land up wading too deeply and getting stuck. Once you are ready to drive over you must be confident that you have picked your line carefully.
04 Driving technique
Now that you have set your line and can envision or hopefully see your path through the crossing you can begin to prepare to go through the water. When you are in your vehicle remember to leave the seat belt, do not put it one, and open the window all the way. This is a good precaution whenever going into water.
For most vehicles the best is to drive in low range second gear at 1500-2000 rpm. This typically allows for the best speed to go across. Too fast will cause water to splatter everywhere and potentially cause the vehicle to drive uncontrollably. While too slow will cause the engine to flood. Maintaining an appropriate speed is the best way to get across without any hiccups.
If you do arrive at some or other issue then refrain from using the clutch. Using the clutch will allow water in between the friction plate and the flywheel. Should you find the wheel to be slipping you will need to release the accelerator slightly and avoid over revving the vehicle. This could flood the engine.
05 Prepare for recovery
Regardless which type of off road obstacle or trail you are going to attempt, it is always wise to be ready for recovery. You will want to keep your recovery gear on top of everything when packing your bags and equipment. This way you know that the gear is easily accessible for an emergency situation or simply when you need it out on a course.
Off Road Accessories You Might Need for Water Wading
Some 4×4 gear can make water wading so easier to manage. But do keep in mind that cars are not waterproof and can be flooded and in some serious cases, totally submerged under water. So do be careful out there.
Here are our top picks for water wading gear:
A snorkel is used to lift the air intake of your vehicle to the height of your roof. This helps greatly to get through deeper parts of water crossings. Typically the air intake is down by the engine which is normally perfectly fine. However, when you cross water or even desert like areas often it can be useful to have the air intake a bit higher. Overall limiting the potential for water to get into the engine.
Water in the engine can cause a lot of damage to the crankshaft and bends rods/valves. These can be very expensive to repair.
Diff breathers are there to let air in or out of the diff depending on temperature variations. Vehicles with all-wheel-drive come out with these as the factory standard. But if you want to take some extra precautions and have a little extra fun at the same time, you may want to consider upgrading your diff breathers.
If you are going over a water crossing there is a good chance that you will encounter some rocks that will have sharp edges. Those kinds of things can cause a lot of damage to the bottom of a vehicle. Consider adding underbody protection such as skid plates to your vehicle. This can help to limit damage done to important components that keep the car running smoothly.
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