Chevy Doesn’t Want Your Bison To Have A Snorkel

It looks like Chevy is having second thoughts about offering this accessory for Chevy Colorado pickups. The ZR2 Bison special edition Colorado has an optional snorkel for air intake under high-water conditions. Or at least it is listed. It’s a dealer-installed option. Why you might ask?

It’s not available as a factory-installed option because there may be liability issues should one plow through a water hole or ravine. That’s the implied purpose for a snorkel; to be able to wade through a river or flooded passage. But that’s not what Chevy says it’s for.

Chevy offers the snorkel with a caveat

The part description on Chevy’s US website says it’s “designed to help improve engine performance by drawing in the coolest, cleanest air possible.” Nothing about trudging through the muck and mire. But again, that’s what the expectation is when purchasing such an item. 

It comes down to warranty issues. If a normal part fails either Chevy or the part’s manufacturer will replace it under warranty. But, if the cab of your Colorado fills up with enough water to affect the ECU or sensors, who pays for hunting down the problem and replacing what’s damaged? 

If you buy this don’t do this

Bison Colorado Snorkel
Bison Colorado Snorkel

If you bought the snorkel with the intention of fording streams then you’d be liable if you tank some monitoring sensors for doing that. There would be no warranty coverage and you would not be happy. It could get ugly but that’s why the description says what it does. It indemnifies Chevy from liability in the US. But not in Canada. 

Canada is having issues with the snorkel. Right now if you order a ZR2 Bison you can’t get it with a  snorkel. Though it’s arguably the most identifying feature of the Bison, you don’t have much choice at the moment.

Right now Chevy of Canada is on record as saying it will not cover anything related to the snorkel under warranty. It told GM Authority, “We are continuing to work on this issue. There are concerns from an emission/fuel economy validation perspective. We are also working with our legal department to address concerns over potential implied liability by offering this as a GM Accessory.”

The real issue is in Canada

2020 Chevy Colorado | Chevrolet
2020 Chevy Colorado | Chevrolet

That is the response by Chevrolet Trucks Canada National Marketing Manager Doug Kenzie. So, that’s the dilemma facing Chevy. It’s a cool part that adds a distinctive feature to the special package, but will it get into warranty issues? 

In the US this accessory is available on Chevy’s website. It’s not backed by Chevy, but instead by a three-year/36,000-mile warranty from its manufacturer AEV. In Canada, the part is not listed on the Chevy Canada website.

Chevy is somewhat forced to offer the snorkel

Chevy’s hand is forced somewhat because it’s a cool accessory and also because Toyota offers a similar part on its midsize Tacoma. Toyota also makes clear that the snorkel is designed for sand use and does not recommend fording water under any circumstances.

As of now, if you own a Bison ZR2 and are living in Canada, you might want to consider not running through water higher than your lower sill. Water is the enemy of electronics, along with heat. You’ll surely have issues for the lifetime of the Colorado if you sink those electronics into water.