HOWTO : River crossings, and tough off road terrain in non 4x4 vehicles


Also make sure,you know where the Air intake of your vehicle is.
See this video.
Poor GV gets stranded in water,just because of low air intake,while gypsies run circles around it.
Maintain the momentum and just dont push your vehicle too much,and you will get through,without any drama.
And if you are unsure about the crossing ahead,thumbrule is to let someone else try it first,while you watch and observe,and settle for the easiest spot to get through.

[ame=]YouTube - Moghul Rally FINAL 2010.wmv[/ame]

Prince Cruise

Active Member
Well, I do not own a 4x4,4x2,2x4 or 2x2 whatever it is :grin: ; but This article is what I will need whenever I'll own one !
Thanks Tanveer ji for a useful write up!


Your info is gr8 Tanveer...Thanks a ton!

I had driven my Indica Xeta 1.4 GLX in some 0.5ft deep muddy patches in one of my treks in Sahyadri. Its a scary feeling when the tyre doesn't have any grip in the mud or it has too much of it, it gets stuck!

Even I had got my petrol tank bumbed hard when I drove the Indica in a dried river with 7 passengers inside at 2 a.m. in night in a Jungle near Igatpuri on the way to Tringalgad Fort. I learned some useful things for driving on such patches in hard way.

However, I am still confused when people say here - don't drive half clutch in traffic, and all that which advises on less clutch usage. But how to manage it in bumper to bumper traffics?


Active Member
Thanks to Yogesh's Facebook post this thread is alive again.

Some things which I can share are,

1.Happened while crossing the icy cold water crossings of Zoji La.

When crossing a large water crossing, and continuous icy cold water hitting the hot engine, steam will form which will come out from the car's hood.

At first sight, I got confused and mistook it for smoke. On closer look and smell it was steam.

2. I recommend turning off the stereo while navigating water crossings or difficult terrain. For me it helps in improving concentration and also listen to any sounds coming from the car. I also turn off the blower in case its on.

3. Enter water crossings with some momentum and do not let go of the accelerator pedal. The air from the exhaust should always be powerful to ward of water otherwise water may enter the exhaust.

Always gradually push down the accelerator its better than fully pressing it down.

4. Be careful of the ruts that trucks make. I always find them deceptive and a sure way to rip your underbelly. Always approach them with one tyre up on the higher portion and the other on the lower, basically at an angle.

Also remember the trick that worked for the Alto in front of you may not work for you.

5. If you can reduce the weight of your vehicle by transferring some luggage/passengers easily to the truck/vehicle going in front of you, DO IT ! Believe me a lighter vehicle will work miracles for you in case of tough terrain.

6. Know the limitations of your vehicle. Do not copy/try to copy the vehicle in front of you.

7.Always carry a long tow rope so that you can be pulled out if stuck.

8. While ascending a snowed out Khardung La from North Pullu side, we came to a patch which we were very certain could not be navigated. We turned back.

Believe on your intuition and gut feeling. If you feel the conditions are too risky and you won't be able to do it, don't do it.

9. When approaching any tricky terrain make sure you are not trailing a vehicle so that you lose momentum if it breaks.
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Thanks Tanveer,

Indeed very helpfull.
Just adding from my 2WD trips to Arunachal what I did at the moment of crossing various streams. Carry about 2 feet long sticks with probably some flag. On the moment we were Crossing the Brahmaputra at dhola ghat, its a vast stretch of river bed, sand, rocks and what not. We walked across on foot and placed branches of trees (with leaves on the top) wherever there was a deep hole or a sharp turn was required or a danger lurking and we need to remember that. When we ran out of the twigs we placed a few of our friends at places they can guide us :)

When there is a land slide. remember after the clearing up, be at least the 2nd or 3rd to cross :) make sure you are early. Let someone go first and then be just behind him if possible. The reason being more trucks and cars who slug it out on the slush, the slush is spread all over and its hard to choose a path where you would get better traction.

Keep wooden planks, rubber mats and good showel for emergency. Put the wooden plank when you are stuck in a rocks, stones or sand. Rubber mats on top of the wooden plank in slush.

Before any bad stretch ask all the folks to come down and scatter them strategically along the path you are going to tread. keep a strong rope handy in case you need to be pulled by another willing person.

When crossing streams which come over your exhaust, make sure you keep the rev up, even if you are clutching. The engine might sound harsh, but keep the rev. I guess Tanveer has already stressed this.

Also, I have seen over slush folks try the snake method, left and right, remember, the left and right gathers more traction but also requires more engine power. Unnecessarily that should be avoided. If you have a lower torque engine, more so.

always try to help others who are stuck, in whatever ways you can. Please avoid risk and advise others taking any risks.

my 2 cents.
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