Watch Out for These Dealbreakers When Buying a Used Boat

Wouldn’t we all love to have a shiny new boat hooked up to our vehicles’ back, ready to go for a day on the lake? There’s just one problem, though, the amount of money buying new would bring. However, a used boat can still offer fun on the water without having to hand over our life savings to do it.

But buying used can be a risky investment if you don’t know what you’re doing. Lenscove‘s blog offers their guide on what to look for when inspecting a boat so you can avoid buying a lemon. Here are three things to look for that could be considered deal breakers in the purchasing process. 

Check the steering system 

Depending on how old it is, buying a used boat comes with the risk that parts are old and beginning to wear. While you expect some degree of usage with the internal components, you don’t want to buy one close to the breaking point. 

You need to make sure the steering system is in good working order because it could be a significant safety issue if it’s not. Getting it repaired will be costly, and you should pay a professional to do it unless you have extensive knowledge and skills to work on it yourself. 

A simple way to determine if the drive is in terrible shape is to test the lower outboard motor and see how much slack there is in it. Grab the drive and try to yank it back and forth. 

A tiny amount of slack is normal and nothing to worry about in a used boat motor. If you find a lot of movement, with the steering wheel remaining still, there’s a problem, and you should avoid buying it. Of course, if you’re willing to pay to have it fixed, you can use that to drive the price down. 

Check the bellows for wear and tear

Another vital part of buying a used boat is checking the bellows. These are rubberized parts that allow some components of the inboard/outboard motors to connect through the boat’s transom. The bellows allow the parts through, but they keep any water out, so it doesn’t damage the inboard motor or ruin any other internal components. 

If they are in poor condition, it’s a good indication that they will need replacing soon. 

However, they can be very costly to replace. Labor costs alone could set you back quite a bit. Also, if they’re too damaged, you must be sure the internal parts are free from corrosion and not damaged because of it. That would mean that you’re looking at a significant repair bill. 

To determine what kind of condition they’re in, you will need to look them over carefully. Look for any cracks within them. A small amount isn’t alarming, but it does mean that they’re starting to wear and will need replacing sometime soon. An extensive amount of cracks means you must take care of it as quickly as possible or risk water invading the internal components. 

Checking the lower unit motor for damage

When buying a used boat, one of the first things you will want to do is inspect the lower unit motor. Look for damage, especially in the propeller area.

Tiny dents and dings here and there aren’t usually much of an issue. But large chunks missing and misshapen propeller blades are a sure sign that there’s been extensive damage done to the outboard motor. 

Continuing to run the motor while still damaged will cause problems to other inboard/outboard components. The lower unit will need repairing pronto, and it won’t be cheap. If you see extensive damage to this part, avoid buying the boat or be prepared to shell out tons of money to fix it. 

Buying a used boat is a great way to save money. But, you want to know what you’re getting into if you’re planning to purchase one you found. Examine it thoroughly, so you know what to expect beforehand. Then you can decide whether the asking price is worth it or not. 

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