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An inboard boat is meant to be high-performing and ideal for watersport enthusiasts. These boats are built with motors that give boaters maximum horsepower, torque and ultimately the best experience whether they’re behind the wheel or behind the boat doing water sports.  

To maintain the great performance that these motors are known for, maintenance is necessary. Just like anything with a motor, normal servicing is required. We’re here to help you with any service work needed on your boat. Keep reading or click the video below to learn what is required and the recommended maintenance on an inboard motor. 

Break-in Period 

Before you run to your new boat and take off at full speed around the lake, check the manual for the engine. All inboard motors, regardless of brand, will recommend a break-in period. This will ensure the longevity of the motor over the years. 

Inboard motor manufacturers recommend breaking your engine in for a determined number of hours. For this article, we will focus on Ilmor engines.

For Ilmor engines, the first 50 hours of the engine’s life should be the break-in period. During the break-in period, be sure to keep an eye on the gauges as they will indicate if there’s something not functioning correctly.  

During this period of time, it’s recommended to reach plane quickly. Slower speeds can cause strain and exertion on the new motor which could cause issues down the road. It is also recommended to vary the speed during this time. To accomplish this, change the speed and rpm every 3-4 minutes.  

It is also suggested that you vary your speeds rather than constantly running at a set speed during this break-in period. And after the 50 hours are complete, your boat will be due for its first oil change. It is recommended that this oil change take place between 10 and 25 hours. 

After this process is complete, you should be set with the break-in period. Next, you’ll only have to worry about regular maintenance. That is, granted, that nothing happens to require other service. 

Normal Maintenance 

Regular maintenance is of course needed. Just like a car, your boat is going to need some love. Things like oil and fluid changes, inspections, and updates are needed to keep your boat in the best shape. If you want your boat to have the same performance throughout its life, you’ll want to make sure routine maintenance is never skipped. 

Oil Change 

To start, oil changes for an inboard boat will be needed every 50 hours. For most families, this can be an annual service. If you live in colder climates, winter is a great time to get this service done. And, if you and your family spend many hours on your boat throughout the season, it could be worth scheduling an oil change mid-season to ensure your boat is good to go.  

If you’re in the warmer regions, you may want to schedule this at a time when you plan to not use your boat for a few days. Oil changes don’t take a long time to complete but other factors may cause the process to take longer than expected. 


There’s nothing worse than planning a day on the water just to find that your batteries are dead. To avoid this scenario, always make sure to turn your battery off at the end of the day. When you get annual service work done on your boat, have the voltage level checked on your boat. It is recommended that batteries be replaced every 2-5 years, depending on circumstances. When the voltage gets lower, it will need to be replaced.  

A battery is considered “dead” when it reaches a voltage of 11.8 Watts. If your battery is nearing this voltage, be sure to replace your battery. This will keep you from heading to the boat just to find that it’s dead on the lift. 

Impeller Replacement 

The impeller is an important part of a functioning boat because it moves cool water through the motor to cool it. Without a functional impeller, your motor will overheat, and it is possible that damage will occur. 

At Action Water Sports, we recommend that your impeller be replaced annually or every other year. Because colder climates don’t allow for an entire 12 months of boating, every other year works great. However, if you’re boating in warmer climates that allow for more time on the water, it’s recommended yearly.  

A clear indication that your impeller needs to be replaced is when your boat overheats. However, this isn’t always the culprit so it’s always best to call your local Action Water Sports to get an expert opinion. Our great service center will get you back on the water and enjoying your boat as quickly as possible.  

Trailer Tires 

Whether you haul your boat somewhere new every weekend or only once a year, your trailer tires need to be replaced periodically. With proper care, your tires will last a while. The tire manufacturer recommends that your tires be replaced every 7 years. However, depending on the tread and side wall wear, they may need to be replaced sooner.  

Normal wear and tear to tires can cause them to need replacement as well as sun damage or anything else that could be thrown at them while driving down the road. Over time your tires will begin to wear and the last thing you want to deal with prior to heading to the lake is a flat tire. 

When you have your boat in for annual service, we recommend having your trailer tires checked. This will help ensure that your tires are ready for all your boating adventures. 

Other Service Maintenance 

Not all services can fall into these categories. Sometimes things happen and your boat will require more service than what is considered regular maintenance. Similar to cars, sometimes things don’t work quite right, and they require additional services. 

When your boat is making a funky noise or doesn’t seem to be running like it normally does, give us a call. We’ll help you sort through issues and get you back on the water to 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.  

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 the spring.  

Spring Start-Up 

Similar to winterization, you’ll need to prep 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 at Action Water Sports include inspection, checking your battery, hoses, and fittings, running the boat, and making sure it’s ready for the season. 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, occasionally there are 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.  We want you to enjoy your boat as much as possible, so our team works hard to keep you on the water. 

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