3 Common Reasons for Boat Engine Breakdowns

Having a well-maintained boat can make all the difference between a beautiful day on the water or a day of frustration, trying to fix a problem with the engine. At H2O Craft Rentals & Repair, we’ve seen our fair share of boat owners disappointed because their boats would not cooperate with their scheduled plans. Be on the lookout for these three common causes of engine breakdowns so you don’t end up on the dock with no place to go.   

3 Common Reasons for Boat Engine Breakdowns

Engine That Sputters

If you have a sputtering engine that sounds like it just can’t get up to speed, then there’s most likely a problem with the filter or plugs. If you’re already on the water when this happens, simply clear any debris out of the filter and then drain any water that has collected. Otherwise, have one of our mechanics check the fuel filter in case it needs to be replaced. Also, be sure to vent the engine box before restarting if you have an inbound/outbound motor.

Engine That Overheats

A hot engine is never a good sign. This usually means there’s not enough water in the cooling loop. Some boat engines don’t have radiators but rather use the body of water it’s on to keep the engine temperature cold. If water can’t get through the cooling loop, the engine will heat up and fail. Check for obstructions in the water intake like weeds or stray plastic bags. If your engine does have a radiator, check the coolant reservoir before getting out on the water to make sure it’s full. 

Engine That Won’t Start

It can be so frustrating when you have a day on the water planned but the engine on your boat won’t start. There are a few possibilities as to what can cause this, from a low or dead battery to a break in the ignition circuit. Check that the ignition switch hasn’t become loose. If all components are connected properly, then it’s most likely a low or dead battery. 

Boat Repair & Maintenance in Lake Tulloch

We are more than happy to help keep your boat in top-notch condition so you can enjoy the warm summer days while they last. Request a quote or call us at (209) 833-6893 to schedule an appointment. We rent pontoons, fishing boats, ski boats, and jet skis in the Lake Tulloch area.

Source: Hoover, Pierce. “10 Most Common Boat Engine Problems.” Web article. Boating Magazine. A Bonnier LLC Company, 18 Jun. 2021. Web. 10 Dec. 2022.


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