Tips for Crossing Water in Your Jeep Wrangler

Are you a true off-roading enthusiast looking to enhance your overlanding abilities? Check out these three helpful tips for crossing water in your Jeep Wrangler effectively and safely. Additionally, learn how to respond to emergency situations properly.

Test the Water

Water crossings are deceptive and are sometimes deeper than they appear. As such, it’s essential that you and your adult passengers first walk across the water before attempting a crossing in your Wrangler. If you can safely walk the body of water, chances are your vehicle won’t make the trip, either. Another reason you should test the water is to feel the surface’s condition below and identify any potential obstructions or potholes. Use this information to guide your 4×4 when you eventually attempt the crossing.

Prep Your Wrangler

Now that you know the depth of the water and the surface conditions below, it’s time to start driving—right? Wrong! First, you must prepare your Jeep Wrangler for the crossing by allowing various systems and elements to cool down. Specifically, it’s essential that you cool down your axle breather tubes before entering the water to prevent air pressure loss in the differential housing. Additionally, it’s vital that you take note of your air intake and ensure it rests at a height above the water’s surface. Installing an automotive snorkel is an excellent way to increase your air intake’s size and submissive functionality. Finally, use a water bra to effectively cover your engine bay and block water entry from through your grill. Once you prepare your axles, air intake, and engine, you can confidently attempt the water crossing!

Drive Cautiously

It is now time to attempt your water crossing! First, ensure all passengers unbuckle their seatbelts and open their windows, providing easy egress in emergencies. Next, place your Wrangler in second gear and slowly enter the water. As your vehicle gradually submerges, a “bow wave” will appear in the front of your hood—assert a consistent wave throughout your entire crossing to maintain slow and safe speeds. Remember any obstacles and potholes that you discovered during your test walk, and take care to avoid these hazards. Finally, always drive straight or downstream, as upstream currents are more likely to hydro-lock your engine. If your Wrangler dies in the water, leave the vehicle immediately and attempt a recovery if possible—never try restarting an engine while submerged!

Follow these three tips for crossing water in your Jeep Wrangler and ensure a safe and successful off-roading experience. Overlanding is an excellent activity to plan for while preparing for a Jeep road trip.

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Johnny Hough
Johnny Hough
June 22, 2023 7:32 am

Great article very useful