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Driving your boat at idle all the time can cause costly damages. Learn how to avoid unnecessary repairs here.

Today, many boats are built with high-horsepower motors meant to perform at high levels. This is shown in the quick take-offs and high-speed abilities, or towing riders with thousands of pounds of weight on board. Regardless of what type of boat you have, many are built with these high-performance motors.  

If you love the smooth ride and efficiency of these motors but don’t care to run your boat past an idle most of the time, this article is for you. Driving your boat this way will require a few extra steps to take care of your boat.  

Since these boats are built to perform at high RPMs, it’s important to understand that idling your boat for extended periods without changing the RPM can cause some potential issues. Keep reading to learn more about how to reduce the wear and tear on your boat from strictly idling. 

How Does Only Idling Affect Your Motor? 

Several things are affected when you only idle your boat rather than driving at varying speeds. One possible issue of prolonged idling causes carbon build-up. 

Carbon build-up can affect spark plugs, catalytic converters, and other internal mechanics in the engine. Typically, these issues are indicated by poor performance and a rough idle. The carbon buildup will eventually cause the spark plugs or catalytic converters to send a service code to the dash.  

It also affects your boat batteries. Idling your boat can lead to a reduced battery charge or even a dead battery. This is due to the lack of charging ability at low RPMs.  

What Motors are Affected? 

All motors are affected by a lack of variation in speed. Regardless of whether you have an outboard, an inboard, or a sterndrive, your motor will be affected. If you own a pontoon, a towboat, a bowrider, a fishing boat, or any other kind of boat, your boat is susceptible to needing more maintenance.  

Should I Drive at Varying Speeds? 

To reduce the need for maintenance more often, it is important to drive at varying speeds. Running your boat at different RPMs will help maintain a healthy motor.  

However, if you do idle your boat for extended periods, it is recommended that you run your boat at higher speeds for a lap around the lake or roughly 15 minutes. This will help to burn off the carbon buildup before turning your boat off for the day. 

By following these directions, you reduce the risk of needing maintenance more often on your boat. It’s a good idea to follow these directions or to plan on having your boat serviced more often 

What Maintenance is Needed More Often? 

Based on the damage that can be done by only idling your boat, several parts may need to be replaced or serviced more often than regularly. Your spark plugs may need to be replaced because the carbon buildup can ruin them.  

Your batteries may not last if they’re supposed to resulting in the need to replace them. If your boat is struggling to start, this is an indication that your batteries are not performing at the level that they should be. Therefore, resulting in the need to replace them. 

In extreme cases, you could ruin your catalytic converter. If this happens, you will need to have it replaced for your motor to operate properly.  

Have Fun with Your Boat 

At the end of the day, we want you to have fun on your boat. Idling around the lake and chatting is always a good time. However, a fast lap never hurt anyone and might arguably be the best time you’ll have on the boat.  

Next time you’re out on your boat, enjoy the wind and use your motor for what it was made for…going fast. Remember, you don’t always have to speed around the lake as cruising is always fun but mix it in every once in a while. Your motor will be glad you did! 

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