5. Running on a Damaged, Out-of-Balance Prop
What It Does: Props turn the energy of the engine into propulsion by pushing and pulling on the water. When they are undamaged, they spin smoothly with no vibration.
Result Of Neglect: Ding, dent or knick one badly enough and it will vibrate even though it may still push the boat. You may or may not be able to feel the vibration, but it will cause shaft “cancer,” shake the shaft, erode the seals and maybe even damage bearings and gears.
Cost To Perform: Replacing a prop can cost most boaters up to $500, maybe more, for stainless steel. But a prop shop can often rebuild the nicks or gouges, straighten the blades and eliminate the vibration for half or less than the amount.
Penalty: Keep on spinning that damaged wheel and plan to buy a new gear case and a prop to boot, spending up to $6,000.