Boat and Boat Trailer Maintenance

If you own a boat, you probably love to spend your summers out on the water, soaking up the sun and enjoying the waves. Just like owning a car involves a proper car maintenance routine, a regular boat maintenance routine will keep your boat in good shape. Otherwise, your boating summers may be cut short. Let’s go over what tools you need and the checklists to follow for annual and regular boat and boat trailer maintenance.

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Maintenance Tools

Before you work on your boat and trailer, gather these tools and materials:

To keep your boat and trailer looking their best, you can find a full boat and boat trailer detailing kit on our website.

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Annual Boat Maintenance

After storing your boat through the winter, complete these boat maintenance tasks before taking it out on the water for the first time:

  • Complete a full wash and wax.
  • Empty and test the bilge pump.
  • Charge the battery.
  • Inspect the cable jackets.
  • Inspect the propellers.
  • Confirm that the lights, horn, and safety equipment are all working properly.
  • Change the oil and check fluid level.
  • Check the registration.
  • Put the drain plug back in (if you removed it over the winter).

Regular Boat Maintenance

Every time you use your boat, do these checks:

  • Check the oil and top it off (if needed).
  • Check the propellor and hull for damage.
  • Check steering movement.
  • Check the bilge pump.
  • Check the battery for damage or low power.
  • Ensure the electric systems are working.

20 Hours of Use

Every 20 hours of boating, complete the following tasks:

  • Clean the interior.
  • Check the lower unit for water.
  • Refill the oil, if needed.
  • Treat the fuel with carbonizer.
  • Check the engine for proper rpm.

50 Hours of Use

After 50 hours of use, complete this checklist:

  • Wax and polish the hull and deck.
  • Check fuel lines for degradation.
  • Check the steering system fluid level and look for leaks.
  • Clean the bilge pump.

100 Hours of Use

Lastly, after 100 hours of boating, set aside some time to run this inspection:

  • Lubricate all grease points.
  • Check the power trim and tilt fluid.
  • Tighten all bolts and fasteners.
  • Touch up the paint.
  • Check the engine mounts.
  • Replace the oil and fuel filters.
  • Check the bow and stern eyes.
  • Check the rub rail for damage.

It’s also a good idea to have a professional mechanic inspect your boat after every 100 hours of use.

Boat Trailer Maintenance

Boat trailer maintenance is similar to regular trailer maintenance. At the beginning and end of the season, complete these tasks:

  • Give it a thorough cleaning.
  • Check the tire pressure.
  • Inspect the lights.
  • Lubricate the coupler.

Be sure to use ST (Special Trailer) tires on your boat trailer, which are designed specifically for trailer use. Check out the wear on your tires every few weeks. If one tire is wearing unevenly, it may be a sign of a bent or misaligned axle.

Every time you use your trailer, make sure the lights and brakes are working properly.

You can read our full guide on how to maintain your trailer for more information.

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Maintenance Tips

To prioritize your safety and keep your boat and boat trailer in good condition, keep up on your maintenance routine.

In addition, always keep a spare tire for your trailer with you when travelling and use the right boat battery for your needs. A regular marine battery will give you more speed whereas a deep cycle marine battery will help you stay out on the water for longer at a slower pace. You can read more about deep cycle batteries here.

For more advice on maintaining your boat and boat trailer, visit a NAPA AutoParts store to speak with an expert.

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