Time for some boat maintenance

Give your boat a once-over before the summer season begins

As the summer boating season approaches, it’s time to gear up for some fun on the water! But before you load that cooler, it’s essential to ensure that your boat is in top condition. Neglecting maintenance can lead to frustrating breakdowns and costly repairs, putting a damper on your summer adventures.

First and foremost, let’s talk about your boat trailer. While it might seem like a straightforward piece of equipment, trailer maintenance is often overlooked. The bearings in your trailer wheels are particularly critical. They’re constantly exposed to water when you launch your boat, which can cause the grease to break down over time.

Check your trailer bearings

To prevent issues, it’s wise to check your trailer bearings at least once a season. Here’s how: lift the wheel off the ground, support the trailer on jack stands, attempt to rock the wheel from side to side, and give the tire a spin. If you notice any roughness or play, it’s a sign that your bearings may need repacking or replacing. Ignoring this could lead to more significant problems down the road, including axle damage or, worst-case scenario, a wheel coming off while you’re towing your boat.

If everything looks good, don’t forget to give the hubs a few pumps of grease or check the oil level if you have oil bath bearings.

Now, let’s shift our focus to the heart of your boat — the battery.

Modern boats rely heavily on batteries for various functions, from starting the engine to powering electronics. A weak battery can quickly ruin your day on the water, leaving you stranded before you’ve even begun. To avoid this scenario, it’s essential to test your battery regularly. You can do this easily with an inexpensive battery tester available at any auto parts store. This simple step can help you identify a failing battery before it becomes a problem.

Additionally, be sure to keep your battery connections clean and free of corrosion. Corrosion can lead to power supply issues and damage to your battery cables over time, resulting in expensive repairs.

Engine check

Next up, let’s talk about engine maintenance. While engine repairs can be costly, routine maintenance can go a long way in preventing major issues. Start by checking and, if necessary, changing the oil in your four-stroke engine at the beginning of the season.

Additionally, inspect the lower unit oil for any signs of water contamination. If the oil appears milky, it’s a clear indicator of a problem with the seals, which requires immediate attention to avoid costly repairs. Don’t forget to remove the propeller and inspect for any debris that could damage the shaft seal. And remember, your trolling motor prop also requires regular maintenance to ensure smooth operation.

Most modern marine engines are equipped with fuel filters to keep impurities from reaching the engine. It’s crucial to replace these filters at least once a year to prevent power issues and potential engine damage.

Keep an eye on your owner’s manual for specific maintenance intervals tailored to your boat’s make and model. While a yearly check-up is a good starting point, your maintenance schedule may need to be more frequent depending on how often you use your boat.

By staying on top of your boat’s maintenance needs, you can avoid hours of frustration and costly repair bills, allowing you to make the most of your summer adventures on the water. So, before you plan that lake day, take the time to give your boat the TLC it deserves. Your future self will thank you for it!

The post “Time for some boat maintenance” first appeared on LouisianaSportsman.com.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply