Hypothetically - if the extreme rains and weather continues, would fitting a snorkel be sufficient to allow my ICE car to ford deeper water (assuming that the road is intact of course). I am considering normal road cars - not 4x4s. My consideration is based on some of the videos of people drowning their cars at river fordings in the UK, where the river has gone beyond its banks. I am aware that part of the issue is entering the water too fast, and causing a wave that will reach the air intake, flooding the engine.

My worry is that the water will ingress through the exhaust, essentially rendering the snorkel ineffective.


The idea here is flooded roads. Not rivers, not streams, but roadways that have (lets say) 45-60cm of standing water. If I could not take a detour, I would go slow, through the water, and ensure that I have some sort of mark to indicate to me if the level should approach the level of the air intake.

The reason for posting the question regarding the snorkel, was that it is a relatively easy modification to make to the car. I probably wouldn't do it to my daily driver, since that would ruin its aerodynamics.

My thought was that the clearance was not an issue (as long as there is no debris that has been swept onto the asphalt).

I guess that part of my answer is that you can get kits to fit a snorkel on some of the lower Subarus, and they are in the same size and situation as a regular car.

I guess @JonCuster's comment about the exhaust displacing the water is a good point. I will have to go do some 4x4ing to learn more.

  • What make, model and year of car? Some are more resilient than others.
    – GdD
    Nov 27, 2023 at 12:31
  • Two possible problems are breaking the catalytic converter from the thermal shock; and water getting into the cabin, and if it doesn't find its way in the vehicle may become more buoyant, making it easier to be carried away by fast moving water. You need a vehicle that is designed to negotiate deep water, not risk your life with a dangerous hack. Nov 27, 2023 at 18:27
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    The general idea of flooded water crossing versus fording is that you stay out of flooded water. You do not know how deep it actually is. In a fording situation, the depth and current are known. It is something you can prepare for. As @WeatherVane stated, getting carried away by fast moving water is a reality and this is why people die in the situation you're talking about. They think getting home is more important than drowning. Nov 27, 2023 at 18:58
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    Remember that, well, exhaust is coming out of the exhaust pipe as long as the engine is running. On 4x4 shows you will regularly see vehicles in water with the tail pipe happily bubbling away.
    – Jon Custer
    Nov 28, 2023 at 13:36
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    @JoSSte - That's the problem. Even water that appears stagnant can be flowing underneath. You need to look at areas like Arizona and Nevada here in the States. They have people die all the time because they think, "Well, it can't be that deep, can it?" They are used to a very dry climate and when it does rain, they almost always have water left behind. Seriously, your first thought for standing water is, don't go in there, it's dangerous. Nov 28, 2023 at 20:34


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