Getting dirty and pushing your machine beyond its limits is one of the best parts of off-roading. And there’s no better way to do that than by taking your machine for a swim in a mud pit or creek. Don’t even think about riding like this until you’ve installed a snorkel kit, though!
A reliable ATV/UTV snorkel is the first (and most important) step if you’re preparing to ride through mud and water. This isn’t just a suggestion—it’s a downright necessity.
So what exactly is an off-road snorkel? How does it work and why would you want one? We cover all this and more in our snorkel kit overview. Let’s dive in. (See what we did there?)
The purpose of a snorkel kit is to provide clean air to your engine and keep it dry. The snorkel tubes raise your vehicle’s air intake and output to keep water out when you get in over your head (literally). By bringing all the important stuff above water level, air is able to reach the most vital part of your ATV or UTV: the engine.
What you get when you buy a snorkel varies from machine to machine, but most kits come with the same basic parts:
Every piece of a snorkel kit is essential, but that last bullet is particularly vital. That’s because in order to function properly, an ATV/UTV snorkel must be 100% water-tight.
Aside from preventing your engine from getting swamped, what do snorkel kits do for your ATV or UTV? It’s not all about keeping your machine’s engine dry, although that is the main goal of a snorkel kit.
Snorkels can also increase airflow to your engine, therefore increasing performance. By elevating the air intake, your ATV or UTV is drawing in cleaner air. Clean air increases engine performance and fuel efficiency, so you’re benefiting from a snorkel even when you’re not in mud or water.
Drawing in cleaner air also keeps your air filter clean for longer periods of time. That means less maintenance for you!
Do you spend a lot of time tearing through mud holes? What about riding through creeks? Is there usually more mud than plastic showing on your machine?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, it might be time to invest in an ATV or UTV snorkel.
With a quality snorkel kit, you can ride as deep as you want without worrying about choking out your engine. We’re talking about getting neck deep in water or up to your ears in mud—you know, the makings of a successful off-road adventure.
A snorkel kit can come in handy even if you’re not taking your machine for a swim. That’s because it only takes a little bit of water or mud to flood your engine. Riding through a foot or two of water could be enough to do some damage if the water splashes up just right.
What if you want to go deep in your ATV or side-by-side but don’t want to bother with installing a snorkel kit?
Spoiler alert: we don’t recommend it. Getting in over your head—or over your engine, in more literal terms—can flood your machine’s most important parts.
Your engine is powered by pistons moving up and down, compressing air as they go. But when water gets into the engine, the pistons can’t complete the cycle. That’s because water doesn’t compress the same way air does. So when water gets into your cylinders, it has nowhere to go and the pistons can’t do their job. Your engine becomes hydrolocked.
So what happens then? You’ll be faced with one of two outcomes.
In the first outcome, your engine will die when the piston can’t travel any further. This is typically the case if your engine was idling or not putting out much power when the water got in.
The second outcome is less desirable. Too much water in the engine can lead to serious mechanical issues like a fractured crankcase, bent or broken piston rods, or damaged bearings and valves. This type of damage is more likely when the hydrolocking happens at higher speeds.
And you don’t have to go diving in five feet of water for this to happen. Sometimes riding fast enough through creeks can splash water up into your air intake, resulting in water getting where it’s not supposed to be. It takes less water than you’d think to hydrolock an engine.
Slight water damage can be repaired, but in a lot of cases, you’ll need to replace the motor and maybe some other components as well. It’s not fun and it’s not cheap.
The good news is you can avoid these issues by getting a reliable snorkel. And when it comes to reliable, it doesn’t get much better than SuperATV’s Depth Finder Snorkel Kits. That’s because we’ve buried our machines a time or two (or fifty), so we understand the importance of bulletproof protection.
Since failure can spell disaster for your ATV or UTV, a snorkel kit needs to be puncture-proof and watertight. We accomplish this with heavy-duty, high-pressure coil hoses. They keep everything sealed off from water and won’t puncture, no matter how crazy your ride gets.
Many of our snorkel kits also come with closed-cell silicone sponge gaskets. These gaskets seal your clutch housing and air box in a way that no other snorkel kit does. No matter how long you’re submerged, they won’t let water through. You won’t find gaskets like these on any other snorkel kit.
Depth Finder Snorkel Kits come with everything you need so you can just install and dive on in.
If you’re worried about the install process, don’t be! We include easy-to-follow instructions to make the process simple. You can also check our YouTube channel for step-by-step instruction videos.
Now you know how snorkels work, why you need one, and why it’s dangerous to go without. All that’s left to do is buy one, install it, and dive in!