The obvious benefit of snorkels is how they enable you to drive through deeper bodies of water. Without any modifications, most 4WDs can only be driven through water up to half a metre deep, before you risk getting water in the engine. Repairing an engine that’s been waterlogged is very expensive.
A snorkel lets your car drive through deeper water by pulling air from above the water line, so there’s no risk of water entering your engine through the air intake. Just make sure that your snorkel is water tight. You can check this by putting a plastic bag over the open end with the engine running. If this kills the engine, the snorkel is water tight.
Snorkels also reduce wear and tear on your engine’s air filter, particularly if you’re driving in dusty or sandy conditions. Instead of pulling dust-filled air from near the ground, it’s pulling relatively clean air from higher up.
The cost of a snorkel will vary depending on the make of your car and the quality of the snorkel. Good quality snorkels can be had for $200-300, not including installation.
You can always install it yourself to save some money, but unless you’re confident you know what you’re doing around cars, it’s best to leave it up to a professional. You don’t want to improperly install your snorkel and then get stuck with a dead engine in the middle of a river, because it’s not water tight.
When you’ve got your 4WD fitted out, read up on these tips for a safe river crossing.