VW Tiguan Manuals

Volkswagen Tiguan Owners Manual: Driving through water

Read and follow the introductory information and safety information firstIntroduction to the subject 

Important factors when deciding whether to drive through water:

  • Water depth.
  • Strength of the current.
  • Firmness of stream bed and bank.
  • Shape of the bank.
  • Objects in the water.

Before driving through water

Stop, get out of the vehicle, and assess the situation ⇒ :

  • Measure water depth from one side to the other. The water must not be any higher than the bottom of the vehicle body (see dimensions⇒ Dimensions ). Check the firmness of the bed and banks; check for drop-offs and obstacles in the water ⇒ .
  • Make sure it is possible to enter and exit the water safely.
  • Check the angle of the embankment and the firmness of the ground on each bank.

Driving through standing and slow-moving water

The vehicle can drive through standing water if the ground under the water is firm enough ⇒ .

  • Drive slowly into a river in the direction of the flow. Never exceed the departure/approach angle and lateral angle (vehicle slope).
  • Always drive at a constant speed to the other side.

This will help prevent engine damage from the water. It also allows an air pocket to form in front of the engine that can supply it with the necessary air.

Entering the water quickly or driving too fast through the water will create a bow wave. A bow wave can force its way into the engine air intake duct and seriously damage the engine.

Driving through fast-moving water

Driving through fast-moving water is very dangerous ⇒ .

The vehicle can be swept away by the current. Even vehicles with high ground clearance can get stuck if the ground is washed out from under the tires. Fast-moving water will build up against the side of your vehicle. This will make the water deeper. Always think about this before entering the water. Water volume, speed, and depth can be very unpredictable and dangerous.

If you are uncertain how fast the water is flowing, look for a shallower place where you can cross in safety. If you cannot find a safe place to cross, turn back.

After driving through water

  • After crossing through deep water, stop the engine and check the oil dipstick. If there are beads of water on the oil dipstick or the oil level has increased, do not start the engine. Change the engine oil immediately. Depending on the amount of water in the oil, running or starting the engine can result in engine failure or serious engine damage.
  • Always dry the brakes by braking a couple of times.
  • After driving through water, have the vehicle drive train and electrical system thoroughly inspected for damage by an authorized Volkswagen dealer or an authorized Volkswagen Service Facility.


Flowing water is very powerful and can sweep your vehicle away. This can lead create an extremely dangerous situation and cause an accident with serious personal injuries.
  • Never take routes or risks that could put you or your passengers in danger. If you cannot go on or have doubts about the safety of your route, turn back and take a new route.
  • Never stop in the water.
  • If water gets into the engine, your vehicle can break down. You will lose control of a broken down vehicle, and it can be swept away.
  • Soft surfaces, mud, underwater obstacles, and holes can cause accidents and can cause the vehicle to break down in the water. This can lead pose extreme danger.
  • Rapidly flowing water can develop strong forces that can pull the vehicle downstream. This can cause accidents and fatal injuries.
  • Drive through water only where the banks and bottom are firm enough and the water is shallower at all points than the maximum permissible fording depth for your vehicle.


  • Vehicle components such as the engine, drive train, suspension or electrical system may be severely damaged by driving through water.
  • Avoid stopping in deep water. This can let water get inside the vehicle.
  • On soft ground, the tires dig into the surface. This reduces fording depth. Make sure that the ground is sufficiently firm.
  • Avoid creating a bow wave in front of the vehicle while driving through water. A bow wave could force its way into the engine air intake duct and seriously damage the engine.
  • If you even briefly exceed the maximum fording depth when driving through water, severe engine damage will result. This engine damage will lead to a vehicle breakdown. This can disable the vehicle in the water.
  • Never drive over salt flats or through salt or salty water. Salt causes vehicle corrosion. Rinse all parts of the vehicle that were exposed to salt or salt water right away with fresh water.
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