If you own a small boat, you will be used to using the outboard motor to power the craft when you are out on the water. With use, problems can develop which can result in the outboard motor overheating. If the engine on your boat is overheating, you may see white smoke exiting the exhaust system. You may also note that water which splashes onto the engine may immediately begin to boil due to excess heat or that paintwork around the motor begins to become warped or discoloured. Below is a guide to three reasons your engine may be overheating.
Low oil levels
The oil in your engine helps to keep the moving parts lubricated. If your engine develops a leak and loses oil or if you do not replace oil which has been burnt off by the heat of the engine, you may be affected by low oil levels. If there isn't enough oil in the engine, the friction created by the moving parts as they rub against each other will generate a lot of excess heat, which can result in your engine overheating. A boat mechanic will be able to top up or change old oil for you.
Blocked water intake
Boat engines rely on water which flows through an intake to remove excess heat from the engine. However, with use, this intake can become blocked by dirt and debris such as mud and weeds. If the intake becomes blocked, the flow of water to the engine will be reduced or may cease altogether, which will result in the engine overheating. If you are unsure where the intake is located on your vessel, you should consult the owner's manual supplied when you purchased the boat.
Broken water pump
The water which passes through the water intake is moved through the engine system by a pump. If you have checked the water intake and found it to be clear, you should turn your attention to the water pump. The most likely cause of a broken pump is a damaged impeller. The impeller is a metal disc which contains blades. As these blades spin, they propel the water through the cooling system. If the impeller malfunctions, the passage of water to cool the engine may be disrupted. A boat mechanic will be able to repair your vessel's water pump.
If you notice any of these signs, it is vital that you take your vessel to a boat mechanic who will be able to carry out repairs.