Trolling Motor Works Intermittently: Possible Reason And Solutions

Trolling motor is a powerful yet complicated device compared to other devices. Like any other device, it can also face some technical errors in its lifetime and one of the prevalent is working intermittently. But why trolling motor works intermittently? 

There are various reasons for this issue, including power failure, motor failing to run at a specific speed, unbearable sound, and vibration, etc. The problems can vary from model to model. 

However, don’t worry; fixing these problems will be very easy for you, even if you aren’t an expert. We’ve discussed all of them thoroughly. Let’s go through them. 

Top 5 Reasons Why Trolling Motor Works Intermittently 

As we’ve mentioned the problems earlier, here are the solutions in short. Take a quick look and we’ve gone through details in the latter part of the article. 

Power failureRecharge battery + use correct sized wires + clean propeller
Motor fails to run at a specific speedCheck rotary switch + top house connections + replace speed coils
Unbearable sound and vibrationExamine propellers + replace bearings
Difficulty turning foot pedalsLook for bent tubes + free the wires + clean the rack + replace bushings
Extreme current productionUse circuit breaker
  1. Power Failure

In this case, the battery doesn’t supply enough power for the trolling motor to thrust. The majority of these motors use 12-volt deep cycle marine batteries. 

Sometimes the motors can’t start or lose power even with the perfect requirements. Here’s what you can do. 


  • Low battery voltage can cause this problem. Recharge your battery fully; if that doesn’t help, you have to replace your battery.
  • Check the battery connections carefully. Using wrong-sized wires can cause these sorts of problems.
  • Remove the propeller and clean it properly. If cleaning doesn’t help, maybe it’s time to replace it.
  1. Motor Fails to Run On a Specific Speed

Sometimes trolling motors lose their power when running at a specific speed. It can turn your fishing trip into a nightmare. This problem can lead to bigger troubles if not repaired immediately.


  • Find the wirings according to the machine’s blueprint. Loose wiring on the rotary switch can be the reason.
  • The rotary switch might be damaged. See if it works or not.
  • Look at the top housing for loose connection.
  • Burned speed coils might be the cause. Check if they’re good enough or need replacement. In this case, it is recommended to seek professional help.
  1. Unbearable Sound and Vibration

It’s a common one among trolling motor users and fishers. The machine makes unnatural excessive noise and vibration without notifying anything. If left unchecked, it can damage the machine permanently.


  • Most of the time, it’s caused by the propeller. Check if the propeller is turned or bent. 
  • Worn out bearings and bushings can be the reason. Inspect if they’re working fine or need to be replaced.
  • The bent armature is one of the major reasons. Remove the propeller and set it at medium speed to see if the armature is wobbly or shaking.
  1. Difficulty Turning Foot Pedals

There are different kinds of trolling motor models. For example, some mechanical steer models are designed for controlling the motors with a foot pedal. Fishers might face problems using the foot pedals and controlling the motors.


  • Examine if the outer tube is bent. If so, then it needs to be straightened.
  • If you find broken or displaced bearing and bushings, replace them.
  • Your steering cable might be kinked. Replacing it will fix the problem.
  • Remove the rack and clean it, sometimes, elements like dirt or small stones can cause jamming.
  1. Extreme Current Production

There are basically two kinds of trolling motors: gasoline and electric. When seaweeds or other pieces of stuff like that cause the propeller to stop, gasoline motors normally stop, but electric motors can produce an extreme current which can burn the rotor coil and cause more permanent damage.


  • Use a circuit breaker for electric trolling motors. Whenever the propeller stops the circuit breaker will cut off the power. It’ll save the machine from further damage.

MotorGuide Trolling Motor Works Intermittently

If you face any of the five reasons in your MotorGuide Trolling Motor, you know what to do. But there are two common issues found in MotorGuide motors, causing intermittent behavior.

  1. Faulty Wiring

Broken wires are one of the main reasons motor guide trolling motor works intermittently. Due to prolonged use, the wires can become weak or wear out, eventually breaking havoc. Using wrong-sized wires can also cause this problem.


  • Look for the loose connections. Mark out the faulty wires and repair/replace them.
  • Use correct sized wires.
  1. Broken Switch

A broken switch can put you in big trouble. It’ll cause the trolling motor to stop anywhere. Also, defective switches can hurt you physically, so you must fix this ASAP.


  • First, check for the wires connecting the switch. Sometimes the wires loosen up and introduce issues.
  • If the connection is fine, inspect the switch properly if it’s burnt out or broken.

Minn Kota Trolling Motor Works Intermittently 

Unlike MotorGuide, Minn Kota Trolling Motors shows some unique behaviors to work intermittently apart from the five major reasons we mentioned earlier. 

  1. Spot-Lock

Minn Kota has some GPS tracking trolling motors. But their problem comes with the specialty. Sometimes the spot lock isn’t accurate or keeps turning off, which causes the motor to function intermittently.


  • Make sure you’re in a location with a strong GPS signal. 
  • Use the correct trolling motor for your work. Don’t use overpowered or underpowered motors.
  • Check if the battery is working or not. Faulty batteries can be the cause.
  1. Propeller Stops While Spinning 

In this issue, the propeller normally spins fine. But the main problem occurs when you stop and start it again. It won’t spin, you might have to spin the propeller with something while the machine is still on for get out of the situation.


  • Take out the brushes and clean them. if they’re worn, replace them.
  • Examine if the speed switch is working fine. Speed switches also cause these sorts of problems.


Why is the propeller not turning on?

Loose connections or faulty propellers can be issued. First, check if the battery is connected to the propeller. Look for the wires if they’re broken or damaged. Broken wires won’t complete the circuit, so the propeller won’t turn on. Also, check if the propeller is burnt out or ok.

Why use deep cycle marine batteries?

There are two kinds of batteries used in trolling motors. Deep cycle batteries and starting batteries. Most of the time this problem is caused by drained batteries, but deep cycle marine batteries offer better service and survive a longer period. So the best way to prevent this problem is to keep extra batteries whenever you’re out. And we’d recommend marine batteries. 

Final Thoughts

From now on, if your trolling motor works intermittently, don’t panic anymore. You know the possible and reasoned solutions. Stay calm and take proper steps. 

However, the best thing you can do for your trolling meter is to maintain it carefully so that it survives for a longer period. Keep things in check after each trip.


Anthony Jones
Anthony Jones

Anthony is an expert in fishing and trolling motor equipment, based in Austin. In his free time, he can often be found out on the water, perfecting his fishing techniques and testing out the latest gear.

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