Crossing water in a 4×4
Avoid water and mud. If you can’t, the following tips should help you. Before entering the water, wading sheets should be fitted across the grille. A silicone spray can be applied to critical electric components to water-proof them, use a water repelling spray.
- Avoid water if possible.
- Check the depth and strength of the flow of the river by wading it.
- If you cannot safely walk in the river – do not attempt to drive across!
- If there are animals such as hippo or crocodiles in the vicinity and you have to cross the water, get your co-driver to sit on the bonnet or load box (reverse through) of your vehicle. The co-driver must probe the water’s under-surface, looking for ruts, hidden obstacles and available traction using a long stick.
- If you have to cross water, fit a ‘wading sheet’ in front of the grille to prevent water entering the engine compartment.
- Apply a lubricating spray to key electrical components and connectors before entering the water.
- Do not wear seat-belts when crossing water as you may need to get out of the vehicle in a hurry if things go wrong.
- Open all windows when the crossing is short and deep.
- Close the windows and turn the air conditioning on when crossing long stretches of shallow water. This builds up a cabin ‘pressure’ which prevents water entering the cabin.
- Enter the water slowly in low-range.
- Do not allow water to splash over your bonnet as it could go into the engine compartment.
- Determine your exit point before entering the water and aim for it.
- Keep the engine speed low.
- Do not wheel-spin.
- Maintain a constant forward momentum as this will ensure a bow-wave is formed in front of your vehicle. This also lowers the water level immediately around the vehicle.