What does a snorkel do?

Posted by Motorama in Buyer Advice

If you are going off road, you’ve no doubt had dreams of decking out your 4WD with the best accessories for the tracks and trails.

Snorkels are a great accessory to fit, but how do they work; and do you need one?


To start with the basics: to keep the car moving, the engine needs two main things – fuel and air. Hopefully you’ve remembered to fill up the tank, but when you’re off-road you might be faced with deeper water crossings that could let water in underneath the bonnet.

Normally, a car takes its air in through valves in the engine block, so if the water gets into those, the engine might seize and leave you stranded in the middle of a river, creek or waterhole. A vehicle snorkel acts much like it does with humans – it takes in clean air from above the water, in order to let the car ‘breathe’.

It also saves your air filters from working overtime by taking in cleaner air from higher up (think of when your car is trailing another vehicle with a smoky exhaust, or on those dusty, unsealed outback roads), and feeding it into the engine. And, as you're driving along, because of the way the snorkel is positioned; the way a snorkel 'force-feeds' air into the engine which could improve performance on the road.


By fitting a snorkel, you can ensure that you’ve got the best chance in serious off-road conditions – be it across deeper water crossings or dusty roads, that other 4WDs may not be able to negotiate.

If you’re planning for remote outback trips, you can also fit a set of stronger, aftermarket diff breathers, to prevent water and contaminants getting into your differentials.

For more information on accessories for your car, speak to the expert accessories and parts teams at your nearest Motorama dealership.

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