Maybe you have gone out on the water and wondered if your trolling motor could overheat while out there. In fact, maybe you have even been out on the water when your trolling motor died while out on the water. You have a few things to be aware of with this, and we’re going to cover everything you need to know.
Can a trolling motor overheat? Yes, a trolling motor can overheat. It could do this for a number of reasons, but you have the potential to burn up your trolling motor. Before take it back out on the lake, you may want to first check to see that you have resolved the problem.
What Issues Can Cause a Trolling Motor to Overheat?
First thing that could be behind overheating of a motor is if you have fishing line or other debris caught in the propeller. Inspect your trolling motor to see if anything has gotten caught in the motor. You will want to make sure that you have fully investigated this to ensure that nothing got caught in the propeller. Before you do it, however, be sure to unplug the motor from the battery.
The other thing that you should check if the above isn’t the problem is that you have good wire connections. Even a small amount of corrosion can pass through a larger amount of electrical current even at the slower speeds.
Let’s say that the plug uses crimped connectors. You may want to choose soldered connectors instead. Crimped connectors can make your trolling motor seem slow and sluggish, but if you were to upgrade it to the soldered, a lot of people have said that the trolling motor runs like new. In addition, the crimped connectors can lead to overheating in some cases.
With the wire size on the pig tail connector, you also want to make sure that the wire isn’t too small because of how this can cause your trolling motor to overheat.
What We Have to Remember
You have to remember how trolling motors in the past were much smaller. We didn’t have the big trolling motors always, and this is what has made the difference. If you still had one of the older trolling motors, it might not be equipped to handle your boat size, and this can cause the trolling motor to overheat and stop in the middle of the lake. No one wants that!
Will a Trolling Motor Overheat Out of Water?
Yes, if you run a trolling motor out of water, it will overheat. In fact, you shouldn’t run any boating motor out of water because you will burn it up. The enemy of your trolling motor is heat, and it significantly increases the chances of overheating if you run it out of water.
To understand why a trolling motor would overheat out of water, you should look at the design of the motor. These motors were designed to be used in water because they’ve been sealed, and they don’t have the cooling fins to keep them in working condition like car or motorcycle engines.
How do you get around this to test your trolling motor out, but you don’t live close enough to a lake? You might buy a 10-gallon bucket, fill it with water and run the trolling motor in the bucket. In this way, you don’t overheat the motor. You might buy the Rubbermaid Commercial Brute Ice-Only Trash Can for this purpose.
How to Prevent a Trolling Motor from Overheating
Before we look at how to deal with a trolling motor that overheats, we should first have a look at the basic battery information. This ensures that you will get the most from it. For example, most trolling motors will use a deep-cycle marine battery. This has a different construction from a starting battery.
With starting batteries, the plates will be thinner, and they will use a higher amount of ampage to start the motor. That said, it is not advisable that you use a starting battery because they weren’t built for the purpose. Deep-cycle marine batteries can handle the workload better. You will eventually destroy your starting battery if you use it on your trolling motor.
You shouldn’t discharge your deep-cycle marine battery less than 50 percent to get the best performance from it. If you constantly run it below 50 percent you won’t get as much out of the battery in terms of its lifetime.
How to Prevent a Trolling Motor from Overheating: Check the Wires
Check to see that you have marine-grade wire on your boat because this ensures that it can withstand the constant vibrations in the boat. Marine grade works best because of how it consists of many wire strands to keep it in good condition. Solid wire doesn’t do this, and the vibrations in the boat can cause it to wear much faster.
The other reason to have marine wire is that it has been properly insulated for the environment. All of these things will prevent your trolling motor from overheating.
Wire: Size Matters
As said before, the size of your wire can cause it to overheat. You need to have a look at the distance from the power source to the device it powers. The farther the distance, the greater the size of your wires. The smaller the wire size for a given current, the more battery capacity lost, and this ultimately leads to overheating of your trolling motor.
To understand the best wire size, you might look at marine catalogs as a way of telling. Take the time to prepare a proper and safe installation of your wiring, and it will keep the trolling motor from overheating in the long run. To reduce the wires running in the boat, you might move the batteries closer to the trolling motor.
Buy a Trolling Motor That Handles Heat Better
To prevent the trolling motor from overheating, you might buy one that handles the heat better. Your average trolling motor wasn’t built to withstand the heat. The housing where they hold the magnets gets cooled by the water, but your trolling motor can quickly get overheated without the right precautions.
Buy for Quality
Most fishermen will tell you that you can’t wreck a trolling motor on run-time alone. That is to say, you can’t wreck a good trolling motor on run time. With that said, poor quality trolling motors, the type where you bought it cheap at a garage sale, can get wrecked and overheated by running it on high for a long time. Under most circumstances, the trolling motor will run longer than the batteries that it runs from.
In addition, as trolling motors get older, they will be more prone to overheating.
If you’re looking for a good freshwater trolling motor, I would recommend the Minn Trolling Motor. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a good saltwater trolling motor, you can’t go wrong with the Newport Vessels NV-Series.
What Do You Do if Your Trolling Motor Overheats?
It doesn’t matter if you have an air cooled engine or a water cooled one, motors can still overheat. Motors overheating is no small issue, and in fact, they account for 9 percent of boating fires, according to Boat US Marine Insurance.
Before I cover what to do, you should first know the signs to look for. Some of the signs that you engine is overheating includes:
- If the engine seems to be losing power, it might be overheating.
- Overheated engine might not start again after you turn them off.
- Does an unusual amount of steam or smoke seem to be coming from the motor?
If you notice that your trolling motor seems to be overheating, turn it off immediately. This helps to keep it from further overheating and causing a fire. Next, unplug the battery from the motor to see that it can’t turn on. Then you will check to see that nothing got caught in the trolling propeller to cause it to overheat. This does happen in some cases.
A trolling motor can overheat, but if you take the right precautions, you can lower the risk. The one key is if you think your trolling motor might be overheating, check the wiring and overall setup to see that this isn’t causing it to overheat. Keeping your trolling motor healthy ensures that you can continue to use it for years to come out on the water.