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Why Would a Trolling Motor Run Backwards?

Why Would a Trolling Motor Run Backwards?

Did you turn on your trolling motor only to find that the propeller is spinning in the wrong direction? If your trolling motor is running backward, you won’t be able to go very far.

Don’t let a trolling motor that is running backward ruin your day. It’s usually an easy problem to fix. Then you can get out on the water and enjoy your day to the fullest.

How Do I Know if My Trolling Motor is Running Backward?

AQUOS Black Haswing Transom Electric Trolling Motor

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Test the trolling motor on land to see if the propeller is spinning the right direction. Make sure you have the motor pulled up onto the boat, detached from the boat, or running in a way where it is safe.

Turn on the trolling motor. Let the propeller get spinning.

Put your hand behind the propeller. If the trolling motor is pulled up, make sure your hand is positioned so that it would be behind the boat.

If the air coming from the propeller is being pushed toward your hand like a fan, your trolling motor is running correctly.

If you don’t feel any air, put your hand on the other side of the propeller. If you feel any air being pushed at you there, your trolling motor is spinning backward.

You can also light a stick of incense and hold it up to the propeller. The smoke from the stick should be pushed away from your boat. If it is not pushed or is sucked under the boat, the motor is running backward.

trolling motor prop directions

How to Fix a Trolling Motor That Runs Backward

There are a few things you can do to get your trolling motor going in the correct direction.

If you have recently installed or replaced the battery, you might have reversed polarity. Check to make sure that you have negative wires connected to negative leads and positive ones to positive leads.

If your battery and motor are set up the same way they always have been, it’s time to take the propeller apart.

  1. Remove the cap that holds the propeller on. This may have a couple of screws.
  2. Remove the propeller itself.
  3. Remove the canister-like part that connects the propeller to the shaft. This is usually round and somewhere between 6” and 8” long.
  4. Rotate this canister 180 degrees.
  5. Reinstall the canister. It should fit the same way that it did earlier.
  6. Reassemble the propeller
  7. Test the motor again.
Minn Kota running reverse? Problem solved!!!


If you tinker with your trolling motor a lot, you’ll want to be able to get the canister piece back on the same way every time. Check to see if it has any markings that might indicate how it should be installed.

If it does not have markings, make a small mark with a knife or put a piece of duct tape on the side that should go down. That way, you won’t have to worry about getting it wrong again.

If this process does not work, you may need to consult with a marine electrician. They will be able to troubleshoot the problem and determine why your trolling motor is running backward.


It’s easy to panic when you find out that your trolling motor is running backward. However, the fix for this is simple so you won’t have to worry for long.

Before you know it, you’ll be back out on the water and enjoying yourself again!