Maintaining your boat is a lot like maintaining your car or truck. You have to keep up on things to make sure everything runs smoothly. Boats have a lot of moving parts and need regular maintenance to perform optimally. Vacationing on the water can be an amazing experience, but it also comes with a whole host of small tasks that aren’t quite as thrilling as cruising around on the open seas. If you want to continue cruising for years to come, however, it’s important you don’t neglect your boat. A reputable boat dealer can give you additional tips. Keeping your boat in good condition doesn’t cost much money, but it does take some time and effort on your part to get the job done. Here are ways you can help keep your boat in tip-top shape:

Change the Oil

Keeping your oil clean is essential if you want to avoid premature wear and tear on your engine. Old or dirty oil can clog your engine’s filters, and it can also cause your engine to run hotter. That’s because the dirt in the oil acts like an insulator, preventing the heat inside the engine from escaping. When you change your oil, you’re removing all that dirt, which means it can’t clog up your engine’s filters and cause problems. That will keep your engine running like new for longer and save you money on repairs. Keep in mind that most boats require synthetic oil, which costs more than conventional oil, but it lasts longer and is better for your engine. If you’re using conventional oil, check your boat’s owner’s manual to see when the oil needs to be changed. Most boats’ engines need to have the oil changed every 10 hours of use or after each trip.

Check the Filters

When you change the oil, you should also check the engine’s filters to make sure they’re clean. As you drive, dirt and dust will collect in the filters. If they become clogged, they can restrict the amount of air getting into the engine, which will cause it to run poorly or even stall out. The two most common filters on a boat are the oil filter and the fuel filter. You can usually find both of these on the outside of the engine. The fuel filter, which filters the fuel coming into the engine, is usually near the fuel tank. The oil filter is near the engine. If the engine has been running for a while, open the filters and see if they’re dirty. If they are, clean them out. If they look really dirty, you may want to change them. Filters wear out over time, and once they get too dirty, they can’t do their job anymore.

Servicing the Engine

The more you run your engine, the more wear and tear it will suffer. You should therefore have your engine serviced every 100 hours or once a year, whichever comes first. You can do this yourself or you can get it done at a shop. When servicing your engine, make sure to check all of its belts, hoses, and fluid levels. And remember that even if you don’t use the engine very often, it’s important to change the oil and filters at least once a year. If the engine sits idle for a long period of time, the oil will separate from the water in the engine and form a layer on top of the water.

Tires, Coils, and Shocks

The tires on your boat’s trailer should be replaced every two years, even if they don’t look worn out. Tires aren’t intended for marine use, and the salt in seawater will damage them over time. If you expect to be using your boat regularly, you may want to replace the tires more often. The same goes for the coils and shocks on the trailer. They’re used to support the weight of the boat when it’s on the trailer, but the salt in seawater will damage them over time. Again, you should replace them every two years unless you use your boat regularly. If you frequently take your boat on long trips, you should check the tires and coils and shocks at the beginning of each trip. If they’re worn out, you should replace them before you continue on your trip.

Clean and Lube the Propeller Shaft

Keeping your shaft clean will help prevent or catch corrosion before it gets bad enough to cause problems. You can do this by removing the shaft from the boat and thoroughly cleaning it with a wire brush every 10 hours of use or after each trip. It’s also a good idea to lube the shaft once a year. This will help prevent corrosion and make the shaft run more smoothly. Use marine grease like Lubriplate. While you have the shaft out, you can check to see if the propeller is still in good condition. If it’s damaged or broken, you need to replace it as soon as possible or you risk damaging other parts of your boat. You can also use this opportunity to check the couplings between the engine and the shaft. If they look worn out or corroded, you should replace them or get them fixed as soon as possible.

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