We all know there’s nothing better than hitting the road in your 4×4, especially when you get the chance to explore the amazing and rugged Australian outback. From fishing spots to secluded waterfalls, we want to make sure you get to where you want to be as safely as possible. So, we thought we would share some of our best tips for getting yourself (and your trusty ride) across any streams or rivers you might encounter, with ease.


First of all, let’s cool your engine!

As exciting as it might be to nose dive straight into a stream, in your jacked-up Ford Ranger; there’s a few things you should consider first. To start with, plunging your hot vehicle straight into cold water is a disaster waiting to happen. Not only can it distort and severely damage your brakes, it can render hub seals ineffective and bend and/or break your cooling fan, leading to radiator issues. Sound fun? Not at all. Sound expensive? Yep!

Take 5 minutes, have a few snacks and let your engine cool down before attempting your water crossing; both you and your car will be better off for it.


Take a walk and test the waters

One of the best ways to make sure you and your 4×4 can cross a stream or river is to test it on foot, first.  You never know what obstacles are under the water, be it logs, rocks, rocks, boulders or just low dips; by foot your able map out the best route across (being the one with the most traction for your tyres). It pays to remember that it’s not always safe to be walking through water. If it’s rushing quickly, or if your up North in croc-prone areas… just forget it.


Pick your best line and stick to it

After a successful crossing on foot and knowing what obstacles (if any) you need to void, map out your best line across the water and STICK TO IT. This includes entry and exit points on the banks. If there are any turns in your line across the water, make sure you have enough room to make them, especially if you’re towing anything behind you.


Pick your Gear and Watch your Speed

No matter how many times you have done it before or your experience 4x4ing, you will want to make sure you tackle any water crossing in 4WD and a low-range gear. This will give you more torque to push through the water, as well as more control over speed and revs while crossing. The last thing you want is to stall mid-crossing, so choosing the right gear to get you across before entering is key as you want to avoid changing gears. Basically, you need enough torque to push yourself across whilst keeping a nice gentle bow wave in front of the vehicle; this will keep the water level underneath the car lower.


Hope for the best, plan for the worst

It pays not to be too confident when attempting a river crossing. It only takes one strong wave or dicey rock to make your river crossing turn into a nightmare. Have all your safety and recovery gear (including a snatch strap) within reach BEFORE you even get close to the water, so if things go sideways, literally, you can act fast before the water gets in and causes irreversible damage to your vehicle and belongings.  While you’re preparing, make sure you keep all valuables and possessions you won’t want to get wet up high in the vehicle and avoid any chance of circuit damage by turning off all equipment, such as camp fridges, inverters etc.

Make sure you stay alert and in control when attempting any kind of outback 4x4ing and/or water crosses, and you’ll be sure to have an exciting, adventurous, and most of all, safe trip. All set to explore but missing the 4×4? Get in touch with our team at NFS or apply online for competitive finance rates and we’ll have you behind the wheel in no time.


Image: Without a Hitch