Table of Contents
- When Is Boat Propeller Repair Necessary?
- When to Replace Your Propellers
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Your boat’s propeller is probably one of the most crucial parts of your vessel — without it, you’re not going anywhere! This may seem like an obvious point, but propellers are also one of the most neglected parts of a boat.
In a classic case of ”out of sight, out of mind”, boat propeller maintenance is often put on the back-burner until it’s too late, and full propeller replacement is needed.
When it comes to simple boat propeller repair, there are a few tell-tale signs to keep in mind when doing your regular boat maintenance. Check out the rest of this blog for more.
By keeping an eye on the quality of your boat propellers, you don’t have to get to a point where repair is necessary. But such is the nature of boating — the older your boat, and the older your propellers, the more prone everything is to wear and tear.
Even if you keep your boat in tip-top condition, accidents happen and this can damage your propellers in some way. Here are the obvious signs that propeller repair is much-needed:
Damaged boat propellers are pretty easy to spot. You should be able to notice when your propellers are bent or warped in some way. If they are sitting at an odd angle, this is a sign of much-needed repair too.
In order for any of these issues to occur, you usually have to bottom out, hit a sand bar, or have a close encounter with some rocks. If this happens, you’ll need to inspect your propellers right away. If there are chunks missing, you’ll need to replace your propellers as this is a difficult fix. Check out this boat prop selector to find your perfect fit.
Low propeller pitch levels can cause your boat to overextend itself. Remember that the lower your propeller pitch is, the higher the rotations per minute. This means your boat propellers are trying extra hard to make up for their low pitch.
A dead giveaway of low pitch propellers is over-revving. Make sure to take your propellers in for pitch adjustment so that you can avoid wearing them down unnecessarily.
If you notice a small, thin crack in your propeller, no bigger than a human strand of hair, this a warning that repair is much-needed. While this kind of damage might not look intimidating, it can quickly turn into a much larger problem.
These hairline cracks tend to happen over years of general wear and tear. They are also caused by nicking objects a little too closely. Eventually, these cracks become weak and can cause your propeller to split. This can put your boat completely out of commission and propeller replacement will be necessary.
Once you notice a hairline crack, you want to take it in for repair. Generally, your propeller(s) will be filed down to create a smooth, new surface, which can protect the blades for a while longer.
All boat propellers go through a process of wear and tear — this is the nature of boating and the purpose of your propellers. But there are a few obvious signs of excessive wear and tear to keep in mind.
This includes missing paint and blades that are sharpened or pointed. You may also have blunt-edge blades on the leading sides of your propellers.
A good way to check the wear and tear of your blades is to measure them against the original diameter of your blades when you bought them, or your boat. A worn-down propeller should be taken into a repair shop. From there, they can build your blades back up to their original measurements.
Any boating or fishing enthusiast should know that certain types of water are a friend or foe for your propellers. When it comes to saltwater, this is a fast-track way to corroding your propellers if you don’t clean them properly.
Saltwater is very corrosive and can cause propeller blade metal to form holes, also known as pitting. Basically, saltwater draws out the alloy in the metal in small amounts, and over time, this can render your propellers useless. Bear in mind that aluminum and bronze propellers are more susceptible to corrosion than stainless steel.
Nevertheless, you should always clean your propellers and the rest of your boat thoroughly after a saltwater excursion.
There are certain situations where your boat propellers may be too far gone and will need to be replaced. It can be tricky to tell the difference between a repair and replacement job though. The best way to tell that boat propeller replacement is 100 percent necessary is to look at other factors:
Sometimes you’ll need to look beyond your boat propellers to realize that they actually need to be replaced. One of the obvious tell-tale signs is the fuel efficiency of your boat.
Worn down and damaged propellers can lead to excessive fuel waste by causing your boat to drag. So, if you notice that your boat just isn’t performing like it used to, or you have to shorten your time out on the water, take a look at your fuel efficiency and your propellers.
Nicking or bumping certain objects in the water is par-for-the-course when owning a boat. Your propellers can withstand a certain amount of impact, for a certain period of time.
But if your propellers come into contact with something very large, or take on a big impact, they will most likely need to be replaced. If they are misshapen, warped, or badly chipped this can put extra strain on your boat and your engine. It can also throw off the balance of your transmission and other internal elements.
If you find that your boat has become sluggish or just doesn’t have the same power that it used to, it may be time for propeller replacement. Many boats are sold with cheaper, aluminum style propellers. This is a soft alloy metal that tends to flex as you push your boat into a higher speed. This means it’s not as effective as pushing back against the water.
Stainless blades, on the other hand, are stronger and thinner and cut through the water far more effectively. You may want to swap out older blade models for a stainless steel alternative.
It goes without saying that owning a boat comes with a fair bit of responsibility, so if you want to avoid costly boat propeller repair, maintenance is key.
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