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Basic Checklist for Sterndrive Maintenance

It doesn’t take a huge amount of time to carry out regular maintenance of a Sterndrive, and if you keep to a regular maintenance routine, it will extend the life of the engine, improve performance, and it will save you money on servicing and spare parts.

General maintenance procedures for a Sterndrive, such as inspection, cleaning, lubrication, and adjustment, is relatively straightforward to do. If you have to do more complex maintenance tasks, you would need to refer to the manufacturer’s instructions, or to a specialist, Sterndrive spare parts with videos website, but here’s a checklist of the basic maintenance tasks that you should perform on a regular basis.

Check fluid levels regularly

One of the simplest preventative maintenance checks that you can do is to check the fluid levels regularly. If you check the Sterndrive and engine lubricants regularly, you will able identify problems before they become serious. If you ever see milky white fluid on a dip-stick, for example, that means that water is getting into the system and that is a problem that should be looked into straight away.


There are a number of points on a Sterndrive that need lubricating regularly. The most important of these are the tilt and trim mechanism, the drive shaft, and the gimbal housing. Regular lubrication will reduce the friction in these points, so it will reduce wear and tear, and will help prevent corrosion.

Inspect the belts and hoses

Inspect hoses and belts regularly and look for any signs of corrosion on clamps, or wear on the hoses and belts. If you do see any sign of trouble with belts and hoses, it’s a good idea to replace them immediately, because a belt that slips or a burst hose could leave you stranded. It’s also advisable to always carry spares with you.

Flush Out the Raw Water Cooling Circuit

Drain and flush the raw water cooling unit regularly, especially if you use your boat in salt water.

Change the lubricant in the engine and stern drive

Acids that are produced by combustion and other contaminates can soon build up in lubricants, which is why it is advisable to change the engine and stern drive lubricants on a regular basis. As well as the corrosive damage that contaminated lubricants can cause, contaminates will also reduce the lubricating properties of lubricants.

Check and fully charge the batteries

The one thing that drains the batteries on a boat the most is the starter motor, and without that you could be stranded, so keep the batteries fully charged and well-maintained.

Check and replace the fuel filters

Most boats have more than one fuel filter, which should all be checked on a regular basis and the filter elements should be replaced when needed.

Carrying out regular maintenance of a Sterndrive engine is not dissimilar to that needed for a car. The difference is, however, if you don’t take good care a marine engine, you won’t be left stranded at the side of the road you will be left stranded out on the water, which can be a lot more serious.

If you are unsure about maintenance, or you need some help and advice, you could have your engine maintained professionally, or you can find some very useful guides and maintenance videos on specialist Sterndrive repair parts and service video websites.

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