There are several reasons why you might want to know the age of your trolling motor.
Maybe a friend or a relative gave you a used trolling motor and you need to buy parts for it. Or maybe you’re thinking of buying a used motor but you’d like some information about its age first. Or maybe you’re looking to sell an old trolling motor that’s been in your family for years.
Whatever the reason, if you’re trying to identify your trolling motor’s age, you’ve come to the right place!
In this article, we’ll discuss how to identify a Minn Kota or a MotorGuide’s age, plus some general information about identifying age in other trolling motor brands.
Ready to get started?
Table of Contents
- What Year Was my Minn Kota Trolling Motor Made?
- What Year Was My MotorGuide Made?
- How to Identify Age of Other Trolling Motor Brands
- How Old Can A Trolling Motor Be Before It Needs To Be Replaced?
- What Can Cause A Trolling Motor To Deteriorate Faster?
- What Can I Do To Preserve My Trolling Motor?
- Can I Get In Trouble For Having Too Old A Motor?
- What Are The Risks Of Running An Old Motor?
What Year Was my Minn Kota Trolling Motor Made?
It’s actually quite easy to identify a Minn Kota’s age if you have access to its serial number. This is because the type and year of the trolling motor, and in some cases the day of the year, are coded right into the serial number.
For complete information on identifying your Minn Kota’s age with its serial number, check out this link. The basic methods are as follows:
- For 2008 models and older, there is a product code for the type of Minn Kota trolling motor paired with a code for the year.
The product codes are MK (Minn Kota), GN (Genesis), DH (Deck Hand), CP (CoPilot), WW (Weedless Wedge), TT (Trim Tabs), and PT (Prototype).
Each number in a year is denoted by a letter. For example, A=0, B=1, C=2, and so on, all the way up to 19=T.
The two-letter type code will be paired with a two-letter year code. For example, the code MKAH would be a Minn Kota manufactured in 2007.
- For 2009 models and newer, the serial number is a bit more complex, but it also gives you a bit more information as it includes information for the year, the day of the year, the product code and a unique serial number.
These newer models use the same product codes and number-letter codes as the older models. The first letter denotes the year; three subsequent numbers stand for the day of the year when it was made; then comes the product code, then the serial number.
So, a trolling motor with the code J003MK99999 tells you the year it was made in the first letter: J=9. This Minn Kota trolling motor was made in 2009, on the third day of the year.
So that’s all fine and good, but what if your trolling motor is missing the sticker with the serial number? What are some other ways you can identify its age?
- You could take it to a Minn Kota repair shop. Those who work on repairing Minn Kotas for a living have probably seen many makes and models of the trolling motor over the years. They might be able to tell you its approximate age just by looking at it.
- You could send pictures to the company. Minn Kota’s contact form may also be of some use to you. Use the form to send pictures and ask Minn Kota directly about your particular model of trolling motor.
They may not be able to give you an exact year of manufacture, but they should be able to identify an approximate range for your unit’s age.
- You could post pictures and information about it on a forum. A forum can be an excellent way of connecting with other boaters and anglers who may be able to answer your questions.
If you’re having trouble identifying your Minn Kota’s age, post some pictures on your favorite forum. You may discover someone else on the forum who has the same kind of trolling motor and who can identify the year for you.
What Year Was My MotorGuide Made?
The age of MotorGuide trolling motors is not quite as easy to identify as the age of Minn Kota motors. Knowing your unit’s serial number is important as you try to track down its age.
You can find all MotorGuides and their serial numbers here, though this link contains no information about the year when each model was made. If you know your serial number but aren’t sure of the model name, or vice versa, you can use this site to track down that info.
Once you know the model and serial number, there are a few things you can do:
- Get in touch with MotorGuide. Using the company’s contact page, get in touch with a member of their customer support. They may be able to identify the year, or at least a range of years, through the serial number.
- Check out a forum. Again, forums can be great resources. Post pictures and information about your trolling motor along with the serial number, and chances are, someone on the forum will be able to estimate when it could have been made.
- Do an internet search. Sometimes searching a specific serial number online can turn up a wealth of information. You may have to dig a little deeper and check out several search results to find the relevant information, but it’s worth a try at least.
If you are unable to identify your MotorGuide’s serial number, a representative of the company or a good forum may still be able to help you identify a general timeframe of when your trolling motor was made.
How to Identify Age of Other Trolling Motor Brands
The methods for identifying trolling motor age may vary from brand to brand, as you can see with Minn Kota and MotorGuide above.
In any case, however, knowing the serial number is important. If you can’t find the serial number, or it has been removed from the unit, it will be much more difficult to figure out when it was made.
Whether you have the serial number or not, one of the best things you can do is get in touch with the company that made the motor. If you can’t find their information or they are no longer in business, do a quick internet search for the trolling motor.
By searching online, you may be able to discover how long the company was active, how long they produced your particular model of trolling motor, and perhaps even the serial number for your unit.
And, if all else fails, post pictures in a forum and see what kinds of responses you get.
How Old Can A Trolling Motor Be Before It Needs To Be Replaced?
The number of years a trolling motor can function properly before breaking down is entirely dependent on how often it is used, what it is used for, and the amount of energy it is exerting.
The average lifespan for trolling motors tends to be around ten years, though that value is bound to fluctuate. Constant usage with little to no maintenance can cause the motor to begin to deteriorate in a matter of months.
However, proper care and replacement of parts when broken down can allow the motor to function for decades. It will ultimately depend on how much you use your motor and how well you take care of it.
There is no set time limit where a trolling motor needs to be replaced. As long as it is functional, does not break boating regulations, and does not cause any problems during your outings, then there is no real need to replace it unless you want a newer model.
What Can Cause A Trolling Motor To Deteriorate Faster?
There are several ways for a trolling motor to start to deteriorate faster than usual.
Usually, the leading cause is having the motor undergo operations in situations and environments more stressful than it can handle.
This is most common when trolling motors are forced to fight against strong winds or waters during operation, which wears down the motor’s battery. Deterioration can also occur if you are trying to use a trolling motor as the main motor on a boat that is too large.
Another cause of fast deterioration is suboptimal care. By not giving the trolling motor the proper care and maintenance that it needs, it is prone to start wearing away and breaking down more quickly than expected.
You should keep in mind the environment in which the trolling motor is being stored. If you are keeping it in temperatures either too high or too low, it may cause some internal problems within the motor, possibly leading to it breaking down as well.
Finally, the last main reason for a trolling motor to break quickly is external objects or forces. For example, when a fishing line gets caught in the motor’s propeller, grime builds up, or particles get caught within the various components, you will get less life out of your motor.
What Can I Do To Preserve My Trolling Motor?
There are several ways in which you can preserve your trolling motor to keep it well and working for much longer. These ways include but aren’t limited to:
- Proper Storage: When not in use, trolling motors should be stored vertically in a cool and dry environment. Also, make sure that the batteries are kept off the ground when in storage to lower any risks of damage.
- Proper Maintenance: There are several ways you can properly maintain the motor to prolong its lifespan. You should rinse and clean the entire trolling motor, including the propeller, after each use. You should also charge the motor’s batteries in between uses and occasionally lubricate the composite shaft. By maintaining proper care of these parts, you will be able to extend their lifespan for much longer.
- Proper Usage: In most cases, trolling motors guide the boat through calm and shallow waters, which is the best environment for it to be used. Ensure that you only use the trolling motor when it doesn’t have to fight against strong winds or currents, as this may lead to the deterioration of its battery and other physical components.
- Replace Parts When Necessary: Parts of the trolling motor will inevitably wear down. When it occurs, your best bet is to replace the part rather than keep using the motor with the broken components.
Can I Get In Trouble For Having Too Old A Motor?
There is no punishment for the trolling motor that you use. However, you need to make sure you register your boat if you wish to avoid a fine.
There is, however, trouble that you can get into by using a motor that may have possibly faulty components. Regardless of age, all motors are susceptible to having damage and causing damage due to various factors that we will now be going over.
What Are The Risks Of Running An Old Motor?
There are various risks of running an old or breaking trolling motor. Regardless of whether it is intentional or not, it is never worth using a faulty motor over spending money on repairs or a new motor itself.
These are some risks of using an old or worn trolling motor:
- Inefficient battery usage, resulting in the motor’s battery running out much faster than usual
- The trolling motor may stop working randomly during operation
- Risk of electrical damage to people and objects
While these are only the most common risks of using a broken motor, more dangerous results could occur. If you discover that your motor requires new parts or a complete replacement, it is a much better option to replace those parts.
If you’re trying to determine the age of your trolling motor, there are several different ways you can do so. Knowing the serial number is the simplest way. Once you have the serial number, you can contact the manufacturer, a repair shop, a forum, or consult the internet at large.
If you don’t know the serial number, you can still use these same methods and resources, but you may not get the specific answers you’re looking for. If you’re lucky, though, a helpful member of customer support or a knowledgeable forum member may be able to help.
Sarah Hood has been writing for Anchor Travel since 2021. When she’s not writing, she enjoys cooking, singing, and spending time in the great outdoors.