Does Your ATV Need A Snorkel? | Hunt or Shred

If you like taking your ATV out on the roughest and wettest terrains possible, then you are going to want to make sure that you are equipped with a snorkel.

The way an ATV snorkel works is that you create a system that enables your engine to get proper airflow when passing through water, mud, and other rough terrains. The snorkel system is attached to all of your ATV’s intake points to prevent fluids and materials from reaching your engine.

If you are like most ATV riders, the idea of pushing your quad to its limits by driving it through puddles, streams, and even river crossings, is all too tempting. At the end of the day, that’s what these machines were essentially designed for, which is why having a snorkel system attached to your All-terrain vehicle is going to be a must. Unfortunately, not all ATVs come with snorkels out of the box, so you should highly consider getting one installed on your quad so that you can go riding with the least possible risk of damaging your vehicle. Keep reading to learn more about ATV snorkels.

After years of working as an ATV mechanic, I have had an extensive amount of experience installing snorkels onto people’s quads. Through my experience, I have seen firsthand the benefits of having a snorkel installed on All-terrain vehicles, as this system enables riders to access adverse types of terrain while at the same time keeping their vehicle’s engine safe.

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ATV Snorkels

If you have ever taken your ATV out on wet terrains without a snorkel, you are taking some serious risks of causing damage to your quad. While these All-terrain vehicles were designed for rough and rugged terrains, many of them do not come with a snorkel system that is equipped to handle conditions that exceed water levels that are more than 14 to 18 inches deep.

This is quite alarming for a lot of riders, as they assumed that their tough quad was ready for anything, which is why so many people are disappointed to find that their vehicles often stall out or even break down when driving through deep water. You are going to want to avoid this expensive and tedious situation when you go out riding, which is why we are going to break down exactly how ATV snorkels work

How They Work

If you take a look at your ATV, you are going to find multiple sections of your quad that allow for air intake to go inside so that it can combust and generate power to your machine. These air intake points are essential for your quad but they can become an issue if just about anything other than air gets inside.

Unlike the fuel system of your All-terrain vehicle, which is very hard to sabotage, the air intake points of your quad are extremely easy to breach and if the damaging fluids are able to make their way in, you could have a whole mess of problems to deal with.

To prevent this from happening, riders and manufacturers install snorkels onto their machines so that they can prevent unwanted fluids and materials from entering the engine or the belt drive. As tough as quads are, these parts of your ATV are extremely fragile when it comes to moisture and debris.

The snorkel that you will commonly see on many quads is a system of different pipes that are attached to the various air intake points of the vehicle. These pipes can be seen coming out at a height that is a safe distance from the ground surface.

A lot of ATV manufacturers design their quads factory-made with air intake points that are inconveniently lower to the ground than is ideal for most riders. This often results in water flowing directly into the air intake points when the All-terrain vehicle is submerged deep in water - or this can happen accidentally when you are riding and fluids simply splash inside the air intake.

Once water enters past your engine’s filtration system, it can cause irreversible damage to your motor. Riders that find themselves in this situation are flabbergasted that a bit of water or mud could cause so much damage to their quad. At this point, the engine is probably going to be beyond repair and you can expect to need to replace it or scrap the quad altogether, as the engine for some ATVs can cost about as much as the vehicle itself.

A snorkel is the ultimate solution for avoiding this dilemma, as they have been designed specifically for these situations. The snorkel essentially guarantees that your ATV will have plenty of room to breathe when it goes through water and mud.

The system behind this is not overly complex but it does need to be installed correctly in order to avoid complications with your intake points when you are out riding. Faulty installations and damaged snorkels can result in the same issues that you are trying to avoid by having your system in place.

To avoid any issues with your snorkel system, you should always have an inspection of the pipes that lead out of your air intake points before you got out for each ride. As you look at your quad’s snorkel system, keep an eye out for any cracks, dents, or holes. If you see any sort of damage in the snorkel system, you should avoid riding your ATV at all costs until you get the pipes patched up or replaced.

In case you do go out riding with your snorkel in this condition, be sure to go out only in ideal conditions and avoid puddles, mud, and adverse terrains at all costs - otherwise, you run the risk of unwanted materials making their way into your air intake.


ATVs are becoming much more popular among people that simply like to go out riding on rough terrains, which is why a lot of manufacturers are designing their quads to come equipped with snorkels. This is becoming a trend especially with high-end models that are designed to be used universally for all intents and purposes.

However, if you are not riding a top-of-the-line model or simply have an older quad, you can always get a custom snorkel installation onto your machine. While the installation process of a snorkel system is not overly complex, you want to make sure that it is done properly. A failure to do so can have some very damaging effects on your ATV.

With that being said, if you are not a professional mechanic and have not had a lot of experience making modifications to your quad, you may want to seek professional help for your snorkel installation. By opting for professional help you can rest assured that your snorkel will be installed correctly and that you can ride your ATV through just about anything. However, some people still prefer to take care of their snorkel installation on their own.

DIY ATV Snorkel Installation

These days, installing a snorkel at home has never been easier. A lot of ATV manufacturers have capitalized on snorkel systems and now have pre-made kits that you can purchase directly from them. If you are riding a quad from a reputable manufacturer, you should not have an issue finding a snorkel kit online or from a quad shop.

The most important thing that you want to do is order a snorkel kit that directly matches your quad’s make and model. There are a lot of different kits out there and they are not always compatible with one another, as each ATV has air intake points in different places on the vehicle and with different sizes.

Once you have your quad’s snorkel kit in front of you, you will find that the manufacturer has given you very comprehensive instructions that are easy to follow. The tools that are required for the installation are basic and can be found in most common households.

Alternatively, you can always make your own custom snorkel at home by taking the DIY approach to the next level. Many experienced quad riders take this approach, as the snorkel system is by no means complex and is essentially just a series of pipes that stem out of your different air intake points, which you can makeshift with basic materials.

To make your own custom ATV snorkel, you are going to want to first locate your three primary air intake points. These are going to be your housing exhaust, airbox, and housing intake. Each quad has these intake points in different parts but they can all easily be found in the manual for your specific quad’s make and model.

Once you have located your ATV’s three intake points, you are going to want to take accurate measurements of the circumference of each point so that you can get piping for your snorkel that will be compatible in size. You can then easily find the right type of PVC piping at just about any hardware store. If you want to use a material other than PVC, many riders have opted for spa hosing or vacuum hosing, which can be easily ordered online.




45 years old. I'm in business marketing. I write for Hunt or Shred on the side. I love hiking, camping, and everything outdoors with my family. I have 6 years of experience working at an ATV shop selling, fixing, and test driving all brands and models.

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