Although tightening essential bolts on the jackplate and engine should be done periodically during the year. Fall is a great time to schedule it.
Routine maintenance of the engine like lower unit lube, plugs, and greasing trim and tilt/steering fittings should accompany all tightening of essential hardware. Motor mounting bolts and jack plate is included in this process. If you have a hydraulic jackplate perform maintenance required there.
It’s critical to use the proper hardware if replacement is needed for any mounting hardware. Stainless Nylock nuts and stainless bolts are a must. Hardened bolts are more durable and can be found at most hardware stores. Make sure you use the exact size specified by the manufacturer.
Check for rust, and use lubrication like Royal Purple Maxfilm if it appears.
It’s also good to tighten all screws and hardware on the console and front access at the same time. Vibration can cause them to loosen. Trolling motor bolts should also be checked and moving parts lubricated and prop checked at this time. Remove the prop, clear any debris and lightly grease the shaft of the trolling motor before replacing the prop. A small amount of good marine grease works well for this.
Also, check hydraulic steering fluid during your maintenance. Most boats have filling ports near the steering wheel and make sure to lay down a protective cloth under the filling area as this steering fluid can cause carpet to lift. Check manufacturers recommendations for the proper fluid. Boat rollers and bunks should be tightened now and its good to inspect and tighten these with the boat off of the trailer. Also, an overall check of trailer light wires and connections should be done at this time. Lighting hardware should be tightened if necessary. Check your license plate bracket and tighten if needed.
Fill oil reservoir at this time and make sure all batteries are fully charged if storing your boat. Before putting your cover on your boat make sure to wipe down the gunnel area with a good protectant like Lucas Slick Mist. This will not only protect the gelcoat but also keep the cover from wearing a scuff spot if towed with the cover on.
Tighten all lug nuts on the trailer and spare now too. If your boat is equipped with brakes make sure fluids are topped off here. Grease wheel bearings or fill hubs with fluid if bath style bearings are used. We use Lucas Hub Oil for this application. It not only lubricates well but stops leaks if they appear and prevents them in the future.
These few simple tips can save unwanted boat repair charges and assure everything works well for the next trip.