Boat Maintenance Tips

When your boat’s running smoothly, so will your day on the water in beautiful Lake County. Remember, a little maintenance goes a long way.

Change the oil

Cars require regular oil changes. So do boat engines. As a rule of thumb, four-stroke outboards, inboards and stern drives should have their oil changed at least every 100 hours of operation and at the end of the boating season. Don’t forget to replace the oil filter when you change the oil. Always use marine-grade oil (not automotive oil) specified for your engine. And dispose of your used oil at an approved facility.

Check your propeller regularly

When it comes to propellers, there’s no such thing as a ‘little’ dent. Propeller damage can lead to bigger problems: from poor performance, and excessive fuel consumption to burnt bearings and leaking seals. If you have a stern drive or outboard, check for dings, dents and gouges after every outing. If you find any, replace the propeller or have it repaired.

Remove the propeller at least three times a year to check for discarded fishing line wrapped around the shaft. If you find any, remove it and have your dealer check to see if the debris has damaged the gear-case seal.

Keep it clean

After every outing, rinse your boat down and clean it with a boat brush and boat wash. Gently clean any canvas to remove stains and prevent mildew and apply 303 Fabric Guard annually. Never, ever, use Windex or ammonia on vinyl. And pay attention to your fittings. Even in the pristine, freshwater lakes of Lake County, stainless steel can still discolor and corrode. Remove any rust or discoloration, then wax.

Protect your gel coat by polishing the hull and deck to remove oxidation and then waxing to seal against dirt and UV exposure. Be sure to use only manufacturer-recommended products.

Batteries are included

There is nothing that will put a crimp in a beautiful day of boating faster than a dead battery. As a general rule, most marine batteries will last approximately two to three years…if they’re properly maintained. So, to keep the current flowing:

  • Always make sure your batteries are fully charged after each use.
  • Use an approved ‘trickle’ charger to maintain the charge.
  • Clean battery terminals regularly.

Replace old batteries with quality models rated for your boat and for the power draw, such as lighting, stereo and navigation gear. Don’t use a car battery; it’s not designed for the stresses of water travel.

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