The U.S. Coast Guard estimates there are 11.84 million registered vessels in the United States, and the majority of them will most likely require boat repairs from a stagnant winter.
Here are some of the most common boat problems and how to fix them.
One of the most common boat problems is boat motor sputtering, and a variety of issues can cause it. To see why your boat motor is sputtering, check for damage to igniters or corroded wiring—these can cause fires if left undiagnosed. If that’s not the case, you most likely have a fouled plug or filter issue.
You can remove the filter to drain any accumulated water and remove debris that may have slipped in. Older fuel tanks are more apt to debris intake, and you might want to invest in a heavy-duty fuel filter for future use.
Unfortunately, the solution isn’t as simple for a spark plug issue, but it’s beneficial to bring a spare along for worst-case scenarios. If you didn’t bring a spare, you can use a knife or piece of cloth to scrape off any large chunks of gunk.
Just be careful, as you don’t want to damage the spark plug further.
If your boat runs slowly but is in full throttle, it could be one of two problems.
Most likely, a spun prop is your culprit. This happens when the bond between your prop shaft and boat propeller is damaged, resulting in the rubber inserts spinning freely—another common boat problem. Even if your boat is still running, continuing to use it can result in irreparable propeller damage.
If the bond between your prop shaft is still intact, the second cause could be an air leak in your fuel line. This is most often due to rot, decay, or natural wear and tear. It’s also possible that hitting a sharp object punctured your fuel line.
When it comes to your boat running slow in full throttle due to either a spun prop or air leak, the best way to fix it is to let a professional handle it. Once on shore, you’ll want to make your way to a boat repair shop. Regardless of the cause, replacing the damaged line is your best option
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If your boat is dying while in gear, your engine is most likely losing power due to one or more cylinders misfiring. This is a common boat problem, causing your outboard engine’s revolutions per minute (RPM) to slow down enough to shut down. You should be around 700-800 rpm while in gear as a rule of thumb. Without all cylinders firing, it can drop to 500-400 rpm.
Another cause for low engine power could be restricted airflow. Check to make sure your filters are clear, and the hose is unclogged. A poorly ventilated engine room and collapsed dirty air filter can also be responsible.
If your boat produces low power and rpm, troubleshooting it largely depends on correctly identifying the issue. You’ll want to check to see if your engine is emitting black or white smoke. These are indicators of a type of common boat problem you may be experiencing.
Black smoke is a sign your boat is either underpowered or overloaded. An overloaded boat directly affects both engine performance and propeller function.
If you see white smoke, your boat engine is not receiving enough fuel. This is most often caused by clogged fuel lines, fuel pumps, or air suction leaks. You’ll want to check your fuel solenoid and control linkage for issues. We also recommend using a pressure gauge to check for a faulty return line.
So you’ve checked your engine, spark plug wires, fuel stabilizer, and water pumps, but your boat still won’t engage?
Most modern boats have a connected ignition interrupt switch or a safety lanyard. Check to see if it’s disconnected, since this would cause your outboard motor to crank but not fire.
Always double check to make sure you’re following the correct starting sequence. Try choking the motor by pulling out the manual choke knob on the engine. Remember, in colder weather, your boat takes more choke to start.
If your starter is engaging, and you’re still idle, your battery may be low. Check your battery’s voltage, as it should be around 12.6 volts for a full charge.
If your boat has two batteries or a battery switch, make sure it’s set to “On” or “Both.”
Finance Solution knows the challenges of owning a boat. That’s why we offer boat warranties, so you can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that you have adequate coverage no matter the issue. With our history in the industry and love of boating, our expert team can find the perfect warranties for your customers. We have the flexibility to help businesses with whatever warranty service they’d like to provide. Contact us today to learn more about our boat warranties and financing options.