Why Do I Need a Snorkel For My 4WD?

Aside from giving your rig an added aesthetic, the benefits of a snorkel on a 4WD can include improved fuel efficiency, increased performance, and reduced wear and tear.

Questions that are often asked is what does a snorkel do on a 4×4? what is the purpose of a snorkel on a 4×4? How does a snorkel work?

The elevated position of the snorkel allows your vehicle to take in cleaner and cooler air that’s contaminant free. Moving the engines air intake from beneath your bonnet to roof height protects your vehicle from water entering the engine when crossing rivers or high tides and avoids dust that is kicked up from your vehicle and the ones in front.

What are the benefits of a snorkel on a 4WD?

1. Increased engine performance and efficiency.

Whether on road or off road, a snorkel can improve engine efficiency by drawing in cooler, cleaner and uncontaminated air due to its elevated position. Air that is usually taken in around the engine bay is hot and will contain particles of dirt, grease and dust as your vehicle drives. This means more power and performance when you really need it.

2. Prevents dust from clogging the engine.

As humans, we use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to protect ourselves from inhaling dust and dirt particles. So for a combustion engine that requires a mixture of oxygen and fuel, you can imagine what dust would do to the internals of your beloved fourby. A snorkel is essentially PPE for your vehicle.

3. Increased fuel efficiency.

A snorkel helps prevent dust, water and other microparticles from entering your engine. There are various makes and models that are suited for all occasions. Installed at roof height, the snorkel can take in cleaner and cooler air which increases fuel efficiency whilst keeping your air filters clean.

4. Reduced maintenance.

Taking in cleaner air means cleaner air filters, which means less wear and tear, and less maintenance.

When should I use a snorkel?

JJM airtec snorkel 4x4 in perth
credit: TJM

Whether you’re on the road or off road a snorkel is the best way to get the cleanest and purest air into your engine. Even if you’re not crossing rivers or battling high tides, a snorkel can still help improve on performance and fuel efficiency in heavy rain or dusty terrain.

Does a snorkel improve fuel economy?

The snorkel ensures the air coming into the engine is clean and cool – keeping out any particles that would get in the way of the engine doing its job – as well as taking the strain away from your air filters.

Engines usually take air from the engine bay, so snorkels are in fact giving the engine more of what it needs. Any way you look at it, the snorkel helps your engine breathe better, and work more efficiently.

Do snorkels reduce airflow?

Quite the opposite. Snorkels are designed to increase airflow to the engine with the ‘ram effect’ – using forward motion to push clean air into your engine.

Not only that, but that forced air intake as opposed to the engine sucking air in means your engine is getting more of what it needs.

Why do some snorkels face backwards?

While the snorkel has the ram effect, some drivers have opted to face the snorkel’s grid the opposite direction.

This seems to be in more extreme conditions of severe dusty roads, heavy tropical rains or heavy snow – enough snow could block the intake grid and starve the engine of air – but generally the snorkel is best placed forward.

Can you drive in the rain with a snorkel?

Yes you can. Snorkels are designed to keep any rain or moisture out with its shape and grid at the opening.

Any water that enters travels along the air ram walls to purposely placed drain slots below, letting the water pour out before it even gets close to the engine.

We supply some of the best 4wd snorkels brands in Perth

For all your recreational and commercial needs, Total 4×4 has you covered with a wide range of air intake snorkels including the popular Safari snorkels, Airflow snorkels, and Airtec snorkels.
If you want to know more before buying, we also have some resources about the types of snorkels heads and materials you can choose from.


Already have a snorkel and need a new bullbar? Total 4×4 is a one-stop shop that has all your 4WDing accessories including bullbars, awnings, fridges, recovery gear, winches, and more.

Check out our website for more information on how to get your 4×4 beach ready, what are some of WA’s best off-road and beach tracks, and simple guides on choosing awnings and accessories that’s best for you.


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