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Boat Engine Trouble

10 Reasons Your Boat Won’t Start

10 Simple Reasons Your Boat Won’t Start

If your idea of the perfect day is time spent on the water, then trouble with your boat is the last thing you want!  But like any other motorized recreational vehicle, a boat can have problems.  Some of these issues are simple repairs, while others can get pricey.  (Perhaps one of the reasons for the humorous acronym for BOAT- ‘bout a ‘nother thousand).  One way to avoid many marine engine problems is to use AMSOIL boat oil for oil changes and preventive maintenance.

While there are undoubtedly many things that can cause your boat not to start when you want it to, this doesn’t necessarily mean an expensive trip to the mechanic.  Quite often, it can be something simple that you can do yourself- or with the aid of an instructional video.  So, before you head off to the mechanic, here are some common boat problems.

Reasons Why Your Boat Isn’t Starting

Simple Fixes:

  • AMSOIL Boat Engine OilSafety Feature Engaged – This is an easy fix; just check to see if the ignition switch is in the “on” position.
  • Starting Sequence Errors – Be sure you are doing the correct starting sequence.
  • What Gear Is It In? – For your boat to start, it needs to be in neutral, typically between forward and reverse.
  • Battery – If you inadvertently left your radio, lights, or other feature on after your last trip, or if this is the first time out for the season, it could be that the battery is dead.  Or perhaps you disconnected it after your last trip and just missed reconnecting it this time.
  • Empty Gas Tank – Sometimes it’s the little things!  Though you may genuinely believe you filled the tank after the last boating trip, it’s possible you didn’t.  Double-check and refill if needed.
  • Engine Not Primed – Be sure your engine is primed with fuel and choked correctly; failing to do so can keep your boat from cranking up.

Other Reasons Your Boat May Not Start:

  • Spark Plugs – Inspect the spark plugs for any corrosion, dirt buildup, or if they are broken.  If these are not issues, be sure that they are gapped correctly.  Improper gapping can cause several problems and may need to be looked at by a boat mechanic.
  • Exhaust and Compression – If debris clogs the air filter, carburetor, flame arrestor, or another part of the engine.
  • Dented or Choked Linkage – If the carburetor linkage has dents, cracks, or a choked section, the engine cannot reach the temperature needed to vaporize and combust the fuel. This can often be repaired using a wrench or some pliers.
  • Check the Starter – A whine or clicking sound indicates starter issues.  While you may be able to do a temporary repair by tapping the starter lightly with a hammer, this is not a solution (and we don’t recommend it).  You will need to have a boat mechanic repair/replace the starter.

When quality boating matters, use products specially designed to boost your watercraft’s performance.  The House of Syn, your Minnesota AMSOIL dealer, carries a wide range of synthetic oils, marine gear oils, fuel additives, gasoline stabilizers, and other products to get the most out of your boat’s engine and other components.  Be sure to check them out to keep your boat ready for adventure.

Owning a boat is both a privilege and a responsibility.  But it doesn’t have to be stressful.  Keep up with the maintenance, use quality products, and know how to do the basic repairs.  It won’t mean all problems will disappear, but it will mean more time on the water than out.

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