Your trolling motor provides vital power to your watercraft when out fishing. It helps your boat or trailer to work smoothly and keep you afloat. From time to time, saltwater may cause some parts of the trolling motor to corrode. So it is necessary to clean a trolling motor always.

Weeds may also accumulate around the blade and cause the motor to slow down or stop. While most trolling motors require little to no maintenance, regular cleaning will help keep them operating for a long time.

Here are some tips on how to clean a trolling motor to ensure it keeps working to maximum potential.

Cleaning The Propeller

Before you begin to clean a trolling motor, make sure it is well-attached to your boat or onto a work surface to prevent it from toppling over.

  • Always rinse your trolling motor with tap water to dislodge any dirt, debris, and saltwater from the motor.
  • Weeds and fishing line can tangle around the propeller and cause the motor to slow down, stop, or malfunction.
  • Take out the propeller and remove any objects that may be around it.
  • Use your hand and carefully untangle any weeds that are present. For tougher particles, cut them away with a sharp hand-held tool.
  • Check the blade and other parts to ensure they are free from damage. 
  • Clear away any pieces of fishing line that may catch behind the blades. It helps protect the inner seals and other components from damage and prevents water from seeping into the motor.
  • Clean each part well and keep them close by to re-assemble. After cleaning, locate the parts and re-attach them according to your manual.
  • Always check to see how much water lies beneath the propeller and its parts. 

It may be necessary to raise the height of the motor sometimes to help prevent water damage when not in use.

clean a trolling motor

Inspect The Motor For Signs Of Damage

Whenever you plan to clean a trolling motor, always check for any damage that may arise after your fishing trip. Rocks and other obstacles in the water may lash against the motor and cause cracks, scratches, kinks, and splits. Thoroughly check each part, and clean away any rough patches with some sandpaper to keep them clean.

Check The Hardware For Any Wear And Tear

As part of your schedule to clean a trolling motor, check for any corrosion inside the propeller nut or anode. The nut may come loose occasionally and may fall off into the water. Tighten the nut to help keep it in place and within safety limits.

Always ensure the nut is not too tight as to cause the trolling motor to break down. The anode helps protect the washer and seals from rusting. Any corrosion around the anode will also impact on how well the propeller will perform. Periodic checks and cleaning will help keep these parts in good shape.

Rinsing The Motor

  • While you are cleaning the trolling motor, try to keep water from entering the control head as you work.
  • Clean the head with a small amount of water and wipe it clean with a cloth to remove the saltwater.
  • Leave the motor to dry completely after you wash it down. 
  • Make a check to ensure that all the saltwater is rinsed away. 

After it is dry, check the propeller shaft for any damage or wear and tear. Troubleshoot any necessary adjustments to ensure it continues to run smoothly.

Cleaning The Electrical Parts

The electrical wiring in the trolling motor may fray and some components may start to rust over time. Inspect the electrical system periodically to keep track of the condition of the wiring and parts.

Clean The Power Cord 

Keeping the power cord and accompanying connections clean is important to overall safety. Examine the screws, nuts, straps, and snugs for any signs of corrosion. For simple areas of corrosion, use an old toothbrush to remove any residues, and wipe clean with soap and water or some baking soda solution.

For severe rusting, use a metal file or a wire brush to help dislodge tough deposits and wipe the areas clean with a cloth. After cleaning, reconnect the parts and check to ensure the wiring is free of kinks, and in its proper place to ensure safety.

Get Rid Of Any Sea Animals

As your boat moves through the water, some types of sea creatures may attach onto the propeller. These species can transfer between waters via your boat, and spread to other areas. They may cause harm to sea birds and fish, and affect the delicate ecosystem. It’s always a good idea to wash down each area and disinfect to help prevent such creatures from spreading.

Protect The Propeller Coating

Cleaning and lubricating the propeller coating will help protect the longevity of the trolling motor. Pay attention to the shaft and other visible metal components. Use a light coating spray to help keep them functioning well.

Inspect The Battery

After each fishing trip, help preserve your battery life with proper maintenance. Wear safety gloves and goggles to protect your hands and eyes. Brush down the battery to clear away any rust or dirt and use some sandpaper where necessary to get rid of hard deposits.

Check the battery terminals and clear away any harmful objects. Recharge the battery after each trip and keep it fully charged for the next adventure. Always disconnect the wiring before charging the battery.

clean a trolling motor

Storing The Trolling Motor

Before storing your trolling motor, first, disconnect the power supply, especially if it will be out of commission for a while. Take out the trolling motor and store it in an upright position. It saves space and helps protect the shaft from damage.


Your trolling motor is the power source of your trailer or boating system. Keeping it clean and free of harmful objects is paramount. Although maintenance is necessary, it is very easy to clean a trolling motor

Saltwater, weeds, fishing line, sea predators, and other objects may cause corrosion or damage to the trolling motor. Set up a schedule after each fishing trip, and keep the parts clean and in good working order for your next adventure.

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