Why Does My Boat Pull To The Right or Left?
You might notice that your boat has started to pull to the right or left after you start getting up to higher speeds, making it hard to control the steering wheel and having to turn in the opposite direction to correct the pull slightly. Sometimes this pull is not a slight pull but more of a rather forceful type of pull. Almost to the point where you have to hold on tightly to the steering wheel or otherwise the whole boat will veer off suddenly in a different direction. That’s how it was for my brother anyway, and after some research, this is what we found to be the problem.
This problem is because of the trim tab, which is located on the bottom of the cavitation plate and above the propeller. By slightly moving the trim tab in the same direction of the pull (pulling to the right, slightly move the trim tab to the right), this should correct the problem.
Let’s take a look below at a few critical questions that people ask when it comes to trim tabs.
How To Adjust The Trim Tab
The trim tab is located on the bottom of the cavitation and just above the propeller. The trim tab can be adjusted to help correct the propeller torque. The information we found to help correct the boat from pulling to the right was as followed:
- Just loosen the bolts securing the trim tab to the cavitation. Do not completely remove the bolts.
- If your boat is pulling to the right, then slowly and carefully move the trim tab to the right just slightly. If your boat is pulling to the left, then you want to slowly and carefully, move the trim tab to the left only slightly. It’s important to move the trim tab to either direction depending on your pull direction in small increments.
- Tighten the bolts back up and make sure they are nice and tight.
- Test the new changes and see if it has corrected the pull. If it still pulls a little try repeating these steps above until you no longer feel it pulling.
What Does The Trim Tab Do?
The trim tab is used to help provide a lift to compensate for the changes in speed, weight distribution and of course the water conditions.
When the trim tab is deflecting downward, and you increase your speed, the water that is sent on to the trim tab causing an upward pressure, which in turn causing the stern of the boat to raise and reduces the hull resistance.
In a nutshell, it helps correct the propeller torque.
An incorrect trim tab adjustment will cause the boat to turn to the right or to the left when you remove your hands from the steering wheel. But be careful when removing your hands from the steering wheel because an incorrectly positioned trim tab could cause your boat to suddenly turn violently in either direction throwing you and your passengers.
How Does a Trim Tab Help?
- Improves safety
- Helps control your boat’s position
- Reduced wake and pounding
- Helps improve your control of the boat in all types of water conditions
- Improves steering and handling at higher speeds
- Decreases fuel consumption
Are Trim Tabs Really Needed?
In a word, No! Trim tabs are not needed but, they do help with many different things. They can help reduce the fuel consumption and reduce the stress on your boats hull and motor, which in turn helps pay for themselves over time.
In addition to the cost savings, trim tabs also help provide a more comfortable ride and make it easier on the driver.
Larger boats, however, should have trim tabs to help control the boat at higher speeds and help keep everyone safe.
My Boat Doesn’t Have Trim Tabs
If your boat doesn’t have trim tabs that’s okay. I’ve learned that not all boats have them or need them for that matter. If you don’t have a trim tab and you would like to add one, then it’s relatively easy to install. Trim tabs come with detailed instructions making it easy to install by yourself. You only need a drill and an adjustable wrench.
If you don’t have a trim tab, then it might be a good idea to think about adding one, because you’ll notice a world of difference. Be sure to find out the recommended size of the trim tab for your motor before you buy one.
The prices for trim tab systems vary depending on size. Check Amazon for the Trim tab current prices
How Does a Trim Tab Get Off Balanced?
There are a few reasons why the trim tab could become off balanced, let’s take a look at a few of those different reasons below.
- The bolt holding the trim tab could have come loose.
- You might have unknowing run over a piece of a tree branch or something.
- While in storage something might have banged it.
- An envious neighbor could have done it.
Okay, that last one might be pushing it a little, but you get the point.
Why Don’t Small Boats Have Trim Tabs?
Boat’s that are under 22′ don’t usually come with trim tabs installed mostly because of price and manufacturers just haven’t been adding them to their smaller boats.
The performance of most smaller powered boats with both sterndrives (I/O’s) and outboards (O/B’s) would be considerably improved if they did have trim tabs. Perhaps the manufacturers deliberately leave the trim tabs off so they can offer you additional aftermarket tools and upgrades.