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When deciding whether the boating lifestyle is for you and your family, make sure to acknowledge that just like a car, boats need maintenance. It doesn’t matter whether you have the newest model boat or an older boat, all boats need maintenance.  

It’s important to consider what kind of maintenance is necessary to keep your boat performing well. This article will focus on sterndrive motors, or inboard/outboard motors, found on boats like Cobalts. 

Sterndrive motors are a combination of inboard and outboard motors. They are great for these large bowriders that perform well in large bodies of water. To keep these high-performance motors in top condition, service work is recommended every so often. 

Keep reading or click the video below to learn more about what kind of maintenance you should expect from a sterndrive engine.  

Break-in Period 

Just like any boat motor, sterndrives are recommended to have a break-in period. This break-in period is determined by the motor manufacturer. We recommend that you check out the owner’s manual for your specific motor to know the best practices when breaking the engine in. 

These recommendations will help to ensure that your engine operates at the highest performance for the lifespan of the motor. Failing to follow these guidelines could result in damage or a shortened lifespan of your motor.  

We highly recommend that you follow the manufacturer’s recommendations when breaking in your new boat. If you have questions about the break-in period on your particular motor, contact your local Action Water Sports anytime for help. 

Normal Maintenance 

Following the break-in period, your boat will require normal maintenance. Normal maintenance is what you can expect going forward with your boat. This includes services like oil changes, inspections, system updates, and cleanings. 

When thinking about regular maintenance on your boat, it’s good to get into a normal schedule. For those living in cooler regions, winter is a great time for these services. In warmer regions, a slow time of the year is perfect to get your boat serviced. 

Oil Change 

To start, oil changes will be needed a few times a year. The exact timing is typically determined by the manufacturer of the motor. Oil changes for sterndrive boats are recommended every 100 hours after the initial break-in oil change.  

For most families, this can be an annual service. For some who use their boat often, you will want to consider planning on two oil changes per year, or per boating season.  


Next, the power supply for the boat. The batteries allow you to start and run your boat. Since they play such an important role in the overall performance of the boat, it’s important to check them often. 

One way to keep your batteries healthy for a long time is to make sure to turn the battery switch off whenever you’re done on your boat for the day. This way the batteries aren’t being drained while you are away from the boat.  

During regular maintenance, it’s important to check the voltage on the battery. Typically, batteries last between 2-5 years before needing to be replaced. A good indication that your battery needs to be replaced is when it reads 11.8 Watts. This is not enough juice to power your boat. 

If you have Action Water Sports service your boat for regular maintenance, our expert technicians will inspect the health of the batteries. We’re here to keep you on the water for as long as possible. 

Impeller Replacement 

Next, you’ll need to change the impeller every year to two years depending on use. The impeller is an important part of the water pump and cooling system for the boat. It ensures the engine is being cooled by pumping water in and out of the motor. 

If your impeller goes bad, your motor is likely to overheat which could lead to serious damage to the engine. One scenario that often leads to a bad impeller is driving a boat in too shallow of water. If you suspect your impeller needs to be replaced, give your local Action Water Sports a call to get it replaced ASAP.  

Trailer Tires 

Another part of your regular maintenance should be replacing your trailer tires. Trailer tire manufacturers recommend that you have your tires replaced every 7 years. However, they could need to be replaced sooner depending on wear.  

When you have your boat in for other regular servicing, have your trailer tires checked as well. Making sure your tires are in good shape will help keep your adventures rolling. The last thing you’ll want to deal with on a Saturday on your way to the lake is a flat tire. By checking your tires regularly and replacing them when needed you can avoid this situation. 

Other Service Maintenance 

Not all services can fall into these categories. Sometimes you will run into unexpected scenarios and your boat will require special service. Unexpected issues are never fun to deal with, but it’s all part of owning a boat. Lucky for you, we’re here to get you back on the water as quickly as possible. 

A good indication that something isn’t working quite right is when you hear a funky noise, or your boat is running like it normally does. When you run into a situation like this, contact your local Action Water Sports. We’ll help you sort through issues to get you back on the water and enjoy quality time with your friends and family. 

Winterization/Fall Prep 

For those living in colder climates, winterization and fall prep should be on your radar. This is needed after summer to prepare your boat for the cold winter months. Winterizing your boat ensures that nothing will freeze and ruin your engine over the winter.  

Here at Action Water Sports, we have a set of services included when you sign up for fall service. These include inspection and system updates, freeze protection, upgrades, wash and vacuum, and storage. These processes will make sure your boat is ready for cold months and will be in great shape for relaunching in spring.  

Spring Start-Up 

Similar to winterization, you’ll need to prepare your boat for the upcoming boating season. For those living in warm regions, this is a process you won’t need to worry about. As for those in cooler regions, you’ll need to consider spring start-up services prior to heading out on the water.  

Spring start-up services include inspection, draining anti-freeze, and firing your boat. This will ensure that your boat is ready for the boating season when you pick it up from your local Action Water Sports. If there are any issues that arise over the winter, we will be able to address them and get your boat up and running.  

Other Service and Maintenance 

Outside of regular maintenance and servicing, there are sometimes other processes that need to be checked out and addressed. Whenever you have a question about your boat, you should always contact your local Action Water Sports. 

Our expert technicians will be able to help find a solution to the issues your boat is having. They will get you back on the water in no time.  

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