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Maintaining a Trolling Motor

By August 20, 2018Tips and Tricks
A guy fishing from a tan round boat with a motor boat out in front of him

Routine maintenance is essential to keep a trolling motor running smoothly. An un-maintenanced motor may render your fishing boat a dingy and leave you stranded deep in the backwaters.

How to maintain an Electric Trolling Motor

  1. Keep Your Deep Cycle Battery Conditioned for Regular Use
  2. Inspect the Propeller for Damage
  3. Inspect the Propeller for Weeds and Fishing Line After Every 20 Hours of Use
  4. Inspect the Prop Shaft for Weeds and Fishing Line
  5. Electrical Inspection: Check the Battery Terminals for Corrosion and all Wiring for Frays and Damage
  6. Repair or Replace any Failing Points Based on Your Inspection

Trolling Motor Maintenance Details

A deep-cycle trolling motor’s battery must remain fully charged. Allowing the battery to discharge will reduce performance and lifespan. It’s suggested to disconnect the battery from the motor when not in use, this prolongs lifespan. Inspect the terminals and clean them with a battery wire brush. These brushes are available at boating, automotive, and hardware stores.

A boat’s propeller, like any other machine that encounters friction, requires some simple maintenance. Damaged propellers greatly affect a boats’ performance. Although propellers are typically forged from durable materials such as high-density plastics, aluminum, and stainless steel, they aren’t indestructible and require a regular examination for dings and chips. Some minor damage is easily repaired with fine grit sandpaper and a file. Sand the damaged edges smooth to minimize friction during the prop’s operation.


Moreover, it’s important to inspect the propeller for weeds, ropes, and fishing line; these obstructions can greatly reduce performance. “We recommend inspecting the prop and drive shaft for weeds and fishing line after 20 hours of normal use,” states Joe Brown Brand Manager for Minn Kota Motors. Leaving the propeller entangled in weeds and fishing line will eventually damage the motor’s internal mechanisms.

After inspecting the propeller, the prop shaft must also undergo an inspection. Weeds and other debris buildup around the drive shaft. “Unattended to, these hazards will wear at, and ultimately break, the seals of your motor causing significant damage to the internal parts.” Follow your motor’s schematic and carefully remove the propeller, it’s important to store all loose part: washers, prop nuts and the drive pin are easily lost. Remove all debris from the drive shaft; weeds and fishing line may have become entangled around the shaft. Typically, the debris is easily removed with a screwdriver or pick.


An electronic trolling motor is a welcomed addition to any fishing boat, fewer moving parts make for less maintenance. Moreover, keeping the prop shaft and propeller clean may prevent a great deal of damage. Finally, replacing any frayed or damaged wires will keep things running smoothly.


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