How to Check Engine Hours on a Bass Boat


One of the things that you want to be sure of when you’re getting a used bass boat is that the motor doesn’t have an excessive amount of hours on it so that you can be sure that you’re going to get a good deal for your money.

In this article, we’re going to be talking about how you can be sure that the boat that you’re purchasing doesn’t have too many miles and you’re left with a boat that’s going to fade out before you even get the chance to really enjoy it.

Keep on reading so you can be sure that you’re doing what you can in order to make sure that your engine is good.

Why Should I Check the Hours?

Checking the hours is something that you should do because you don’t want to go into a purchase and realize that your motor isn’t up to par. That’s something that’s definitely super important.

When it comes to the hours on a boat, it’s also important that you understand that there could be less than 200 hours on the boat, but if they haven’t given it regular maintenance, then that’s something that you need to worry about. The way that people take care of their boat is an indicator of how they have taken care of the engine, so that’s something to keep in mind as well.

Look for an installed hour meter

A lot of boats have an hour meter that’s above the engine, or it’s somewhere around the steering region of the boat. With this, you’re able to look at the numbers and see how many hours that the engine has been used.

If there’s not an hour meter installed, it’s important that you have one installed by a marine mechanic, and also that you’re able to get a reference of hours from the previous owner.

Be sure to ask and see if the meter was ever disconnected at any point in time, if that has happened, then the reading on the meter isn’t going to be accurate–just like if they installed the meter after the boat was purchased.

Whatever happens and whatever you do in regards to the meter, be sure that you’re always going to a marine mechanic. They are going to be the ones that really know how your boat works and what to do to get it in the best condition.

Contact the Previous Owner

If there is an hour meter that’s installed, it’s important that you find out if it came with the boat, or was installed after the boat was purchased. This could really affect the reading of the meter. Usually, you can check the owner’s manual and find out these things to see if there was a meter already installed.

When the meter was installed after the boat was purchased, you have to be sure that you can get the information from the owner of how many hours they would say the previous owner or they took out the boat for.

If they aren’t willing to give you that information, that should be a clear sign that you shouldn’t continue with the purchase of this boat and try to find something that’s going to give you what you want and need in an engine.

This is something that is important to do, to continue to work with the previous owner of the boat so that you don’t have to try and figure everything out on your own.

Calculate a Rough Estimate of Hours

What you can do to be sure that you know the hours is to do a little math. For example, if the boat is 5 years old, has been used only once a month for five hours a day, you would be able to say that the number of hours on the engine would be around 300.

If you want to find out how many miles are on the motor, you simply would take the number of hours on your engine and multiply it by 60. By doing that, you’ll be able to know how many miles the boat has gone on the water. This could be a beneficial thing as well when it comes to keeping the engine up to date and working.

This is a good thing to do, especially if the owner wasn’t gifted with a meter when they purchased the boat. This is a simple thing, but it’s also important that you know that you have the option to take it to a marine mechanic and they can plug in their machine and be able to find out the hours as well.

Don’t be afraid to go and get those tests and to get a meter installed. In the end, that’s probably one of the best things that you can do in regards to your boat motor.

Be Sure to Do a Compression Test

Find a marine mechanic to run this test. With a compression test, you’re able to see the amount of wear the engine has. Don’t think that this is going to give you the number of hours, it’s just going to be able to tell you if the motor has been out longer.

Compression tests are able to point out early signs of damage or help you notice necessary repairs. The best advice would be to do this before you actually hand the money over to the owner, just to be safe.

If the owner seems really eager to get the boat off their hands and insists that you do the test after you’ve purchased the boat, be sure to take a step back and see what’s really going on. You can offer to pay for the test as well if that’s something that they are concerned about. But you have to be sure that you’re getting a good deal for your money.

Do Your Research

Sometimes it’s going to depend on the motor itself. Whether it’s outboard or inboard, as well as what model it is. That’s something that can seem annoying, but when you do this, you’re able to be more confident with your decisions of purchasing a used bass boat.

When you’re with someone that’s trying to sell their boat, don’t be afraid to ask questions that you may think are stupid. This is a purchase that you don’t want to get the wool pulled over your eyes with. It’s something that you need to be prepared for and understand what’s going on with the boat.

Those dealers that are wanting to sell their boat honestly aren’t going to be burdened with your questions, because they want you to be as satisfied as you think you’re going to be. So, continue to ask those questions and get the information that you need–including maintenance and what was happening with that.

Be Confident in Your Purchase

Like it has been said through the whole of this post, you need to be sure that you’re confident in the purchase of the boat. It’s okay to be a little hesitant if you’re unsure about everything. You don’t have to buy the first boat that has come your way.

This is an important decision and you want to be sure that you’re making the right one, so take the time you need. It’s okay to pass on the boat if you aren’t feeling good about it. Out of everything that you purchase, a house, car, and boat are things that you should definitely take your time on.

With a long-term investment like a boat, you want to be sure that you’re going to get what you paid for. So take your time, do your research, be sure that the person you’re working with is honest and thorough, then continue to go from there.

Soon you’ll be able to find what you’ve been looking for and go out on the water not only with your boat, but with a smile, and that’s really all that matters in the end. That you’re entirely happy with your purchase and you can get to where you need to be.

Do whatever floats your boat, but be sure that your engine is going to hold up, otherwise, you might end up finding out that you’ve been duped, and that’s never a positive feeling. Be ready to go out with a smile, not with frustration.

Geoff Southworth

I am a California native and I enjoy all the outdoors has to offer. My latest adventures have been taking the family camping, hiking and surfing.

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