boat hour meter not working

A boat hour meter tells you how much you have used the boat. The readings will help you plan your trip effectively. However, this component may break down sometimes and bring you trouble. 

There are several reasons for the boat hour meter not working. Let’s dig into the details and learn how to fix it correctly! 

Boat Hour Meter Not Working 

Some errors in the system may lead to the hour meter’s breakdown. We have examined many cases and concluded that your device might have one of the following five problems. 

Lack of calibration

The lack of calibration causes incorrect readings. The whole device will malfunction if you ignore it for a long time. But luckily, the solution for this issue is simple, as all you need to do is lubricate the meter. 


Leaks are common among meters, especially when you have used them for years. The leaks may come from the deteriorated seals on the hour meter, letting water penetrate and damage it. 

When the boat hour meter doesn’t work, you can check the seals for any signs of a leak. Then, heal it immediately to avoid further damage. 

Damaged wiring

There is circuitry running within the meter, powering it to function. But when the circuitry gets damaged, the readings will be incorrect. Even worse, you will experience a device failure. 

In this case, we recommend contacting an electrician or a mechanic to fix it for you. You may risk ruining the system if you don’t have enough skill and experience. 

Dust accumulation

Dust or debris accumulates in the hour meter over time, leading to wrong readings. But you can solve this problem easily by planning frequent maintenance. 

Malfunctioning components

The hour meter may not work because of the gear’s mechanical fault or certain internal elements.

And the best remedy for this case is to ask a professional to examine the equipment and repair it. 

How Does an Hour Meter Work? 

The boat hour meter measures the motor’s rotational speed to calculate the number of elapsed hours. 

The odometer-style register records the hours and minutes. Hence, drivers can determine whether or not it’s time for the next oil change. 

The hour meter runs off the voltage given. The key switch is where this voltage starts. It indicates that the hour meter starts to tick whenever you turn the key switch on. 

On your boat, keeping an hour meter is a fantastic way to remain organized and professional. You may use it to monitor your spending and ensure you’re sailing the boat properly. 

The hour meter can also help with safety. You know how long it has been since the motor last started running if your boat runs out of fuel or breaks down. It will tell you if you need to ask for help. 

How To Check Engine Hours On Outboard? 

All outboards from Yamaha, Mercury, Evinrude, Honda, or Suzuki manufacturers have engine hours shown on the gauges on the dashboard. You can use the mode button on the gauges to display the hours.

Remember to reset the hours if you adjust the gauge on your boat. Unless you connect the motor to a computer and check the engine hours that way, you couldn’t figure out how many hours were actually on the motor.

As you can see, connecting the motor to a computer is an excellent way to obtain the most accurate hours. This connection allows you to access the engine’s computer using the maker’s diagnostic software. 

boat hour meter not working

How Many Hours Is Average For A Boat? 

Determining the engine type and capacity of your boat is crucial for predicting how long it will last before malfunctioning.

The engine’s maintenance, kind, and age are just a few of the fundamental factors that affect its endurance.

Outboard engine 

An outboard motor has a typical working life of 1,500 hours. Although each outboard motor is different, it will certainly last longer if properly maintained and utilized.

Instead of wearing out, outboard sections are more likely to break. Hence, to lengthen their lifespan, give them the best care.

Inboard engine

Depending on the brand, an inboard engine may work for an average of 1,500 to 2,000 hours. Maintaining an inboard engine is essential to extending its useful life, just like with outboard motors.

An inboard motor’s ventilation is essential. Otherwise, a fire might ignite from overheating. To guarantee that the engine runs at peak levels, give them regular inspections and maintenance. 

Jet boat engine

Jet boat engines can remain in good condition for about 1,500 hours of use.

They have fewer moving components, making their maintenance less demanding. However, you should stick to a frequent upkeep schedule for the best performance. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

1. Do Yamaha motors have hour meters?

Yamaha Motors features hour meters in both their two-stroke and four-stroke cylinders. You can find it in the dashboard.

The meter measures the motor’s rotational speed to calculate the number of hours in 100-hour increments.

If your engine has been running for a long time or has stopped, the hour-meter can’t function, but the display will show an “H”.

2. Is there an hour meter on Mercury outboard? 

Yes. The recent SmartCraft gauges will display the right hours by keeping an eye on the outboard’s computer, even if you change the gauges.

The hours shown by these advanced indicators—which rely on the engine’s computer—will relate to actual running time instead of the time when the key was simply in the “on” mode.

3. How many hours is too much for a 4-stroke outboard?

If you maintain your boat carefully, it can last for 1,000 hours.

Although some people believe that it will decrease considerably in performance after 1,000 hours, your care can guarantee a better one. 

It’s crucial to monitor how frequently you use the engine and to perform the required maintenance regularly.

With proper care, you can be confident that your boat will keep running smoothly for a long time.

Read More: How To Tell If 2 Stroke Oil Pump Is Working?


A boat hour meter may have some problems over time. You need to identify the cause first and find a suitable solution accordingly. 

We advise connecting the meter to your computer. With this installation, you will obtain the accurate readings possible and maintain your engine correctly.

Thank you for reading! 

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