Boat Propeller Maintenance Tips

Like most boat or outboard mechanical parts, a propeller won’t last forever, but a little prop maintenance and care can extend its lifespan.

Outboard propeller maintenance tips

Caring for a boat’s propeller mostly comes down to being careful when piloting your boat, and of course a little TLC can save you money from having to frequently replace props. Here are some tips to extend the life of a boat or outboard engine’s propeller. 

Avoid Contact with Bottom Surfaces

One of the most common ways propellers get damaged is by touching bottom or running aground. 

Boat propeller maintenance tips

It’s pretty simple: if your boat’s propellers don’t hit anything, they’re less likely to get damaged. A depth finder is an essential boat accessory to have for avoiding contact with bottom surfaces. Depth finders let you know exactly how shallow the water is below you, and can alert you to underwater obstacles such as sandbars or rocks. A depth finder pays for itself when you consider how much money it could save you in prop repairs and/or replacements.

Clean and Lube the Propeller

Always wash your boat’s propeller(s) with water and mild detergent solution to remove any salt, oil or grease after each ride. Once the prop is clean, wipe the blades with a water repelling lubricant such as CRC 6-56 to protect them against corrosion.

Inspect Propellers for Corrosion and Minor Wear

Your boat or outboard’s prop blades constantly encounter forces in the water that wear them down, and even the smallest scuffs can develop into major cracks. 

Boat propeller maintenance damage

Regularly inspect your boat’s propellers for minor wear such as abrasions and nicks. If you find any nicks or abrasions on the face of a blade, use very fine-grit wet and dry paper to remove them. Nicks on the edges of propeller blades can be smoothed down with a mill file.

Check for Propeller Cracks and Major Wear

Regularly inspect each propeller for cracks or other signs of major wear such as deformed blades. 

Outboard propeller maintenance damage

Stainless steel propellers can be repaired provided the prop isn’t too badly damaged or worn. Aluminum props, on the other hand, can’t be repaired, but the good news is that propellers are pretty affordable these days. Unless you can repair propellers yourself, the cost of a buying a new prop will probably be about the same as having an old one repaired. 

Tips for extending boat propeller life

Extending the life of boat propellers really comes down to regular inspection and common sense. Following these simple tips should help your propeller(s) last longer. When it’s time to shop for a new prop, has hundreds of OEM and aftermarket propellers at discounted prices for you to choose from!

Not sure whether to buy an aluminum or stainless steel prop? Watch the video above to learn more about stainless steel vs aluminum propellers



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