Boat & Outboard Maintenance Checklist
Boats operate in a hostile environment, since the very water you’re running your boat in can wear down components faster than you might think.
That’s why it’s essential to have a good boat maintenance checklist to stay on top of issues before they get our of control. Luckily, fiberglass has taken much of the hull maintenance out of the equation, but it still requires attention. Aside from fiberglass maintenance for preserving the finish on your boat, there are other areas you need to keep an eye on.
Outboard Engine Maintenance
Our outboard annual maintenance checklist has details on all of the things you need to check on year after year, but here are the basics:
Change the Engine Oil
Your engine’s service manual gives you specifics on how often to do it, but changing your boat's engine oil is essential to keeping parts lubricated and the motor itself running properly.
Change the Gearcase Oil
Your outboard’s lower unit is subject to heat and friction as it drives the prop. Changing the oil in the lower unit (or gearcase) protects gears from wearing down. Also, the condition of the gearcase fluid can give you clues about the condition of the seals. If the oil appears milky, you may have water intrusion in the lower unit.
Inspect and Replace Spark Plugs
Clean spark plugs allow your engine to burn fuel more efficiently. When you pull the plug to inspect or test a spark plug, a visual inspection gives you insight into how the engine is running: too lean or too rich, or even if there’s oil getting into the combustion chamber.
Inspect the Propeller(s)
Damage to a propeller can make your boat run less efficiently. If you need to replace a prop or just need guidance on what type of propeller to buy, watch our propeller video series playlist below to learn everything you need know about boat props.
Check the Electrical System
Electrical connections can corrode, and insulation can get cut. For insight into an outboard’s electrical system, check out the video below about how an outboard ignition system works.
Inspect and Clean Upholstery
Water breeds mold and mildew, so keeping it at bay is a top priority on a boat. Inspect your boat’s upholstery and clean it periodically to prevent mold or mildew growth. For enclosed spaces, add a dehumidifier to provide additional protection against mold. Finally, if your boat has vinyl upholstery, using a good vinyl cleaner protects it from cracking and keeps it looking like new.