How to Check Boat Engine Hours?

By | October 20, 2022

You may not be aware of the importance to check your boat’s engine hours if you are a new boat owner. It is important to check your boat’s engine hours regularly as this will affect the life expectancy of your boat.

You are about to find out the life span of your boat engine. This article will answer the question many people have: How do I check how long my boat engine has been running?

This post will discuss boat engine hours and the reasons you need to monitor them in order to maintain your boat’s excellent condition for many years.

What are Boat Engine Hours?

Boat engine hours can be described as the total number of hours that your boat has been running over its life.

What are the Hours of Your Boat Engine?

Your engine will typically track your boat’s hours of operation for you. Your engine’s hours must be kept track of, even though the reader does the work. You could end up not taking your boat in for maintenance, or worse, your boat may be damaged.

How to check your engine hours

1. Check if your boat tracks engine hours

You could keep a logbook on your boat but modern marine engines can track your hours of operation!

Modern boats have an hour meter, which records when the engine is running. The computer stores data in an engine run-time log, which includes

  • Fault codes and engine warning alarms
  • Engine over-heating and over-revving are examples
  • Hours of use in increments of 1000 RPM
  • Hours total

This technology is standard on most boats, but it is not available for small outboard engines.

2. Find Your Engine Hour Tracker On Your Boat

Depending on what type of boat you have, there are several places you can find the hours of your engine.

  • Dash: A digital instrument located on the dash displays the total engine hours. These hours will be accurate if the instrument comes from the engine manufacturer. The same data could also be displayed by a third-party on a proprietary, multi-function display screen.
  • Instrument Panel: To find the hour meter, you may need to scroll or refer to the user’s guide. The instrument panel will display the engine hours for most personal watercraft of late model.
  • Speedometer: A few boats have an LCD-display speedometer. The screen can display various engine data, including hours. Some displays only record the time that the ignition key switch was turned on. They don’t often record the actual engine time.

If you run the radio at the beach, the meter could accumulate time. You can ask a marine dealer or boat manufacturer how this meter works.

3. Consult a Trusted Boat Dealer

A boat dealer is another option to determine the hours of your boat’s engine. An authorized dealer can access the information using proprietary software.

If you’re looking to buy a boat pre-owned, this information could be very useful. This information will allow you to know not only how long the engine has been running but also how often it was run.

It will tell you if the engine has been running for a long time at a wide throttle. You may also find out if the engine has been trolling for a long time or if the owner has neglected the boat.

4. If Your Boat Is Older, Check Your Analog Hour Meters

An analog hour meter may be available on older boats. This is a small device that displays a row of numbers and counts the hours. You may find this hour meter in the following places:

If the sterndrive is an inboard engine or sterndrive, it can be found either on the engine or in the compartment. This type of meter is easily installed if your boat does not have an hour meter, or your engine doesn’t have a computer that records run hours. It usually costs less than $50.

5. For a recommended maintenance schedule, consult your boat manual

Reading your owner’s manual is the first step to understanding how long your boat’s engine runs. You’ll find that many service intervals depend on the engine hours. One example line from the service schedule would be “replace fuel filter every 100 hours, or annually.”

After you have checked your boat’s engine hours, you can determine when your boat needs maintenance. A simple annual schedule is easy to keep track of, since most boat owners do maintenance before storing their boats in the off-season. We’ll show you how to check the hours of your boat’s engine.

Can You Reset Your Hour Meter?

Hour meters aren’t usually resettable. The hour meter may not be accurate if your boat was re-powered and the engine wasn’t changed. Hours from the engine computer are the best data, so it is important to get them as soon as possible.

Once you have located the hour meter on your boat, you will be able to note the season’s beginning level. You should also note the level of any maintenance you do to your boat. This will allow you to track how many hours your boat has been used throughout the season.

Conclusion: Checking Your Boat Engine Hours Is Key

It may seem tedious to monitor your boat’s engine hours, but it is essential for your boat to run properly. It is possible to prolong the life of your boat by checking its engine hours regularly.

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