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5 Boat Jack Plate Maintenance Tips & Tricks

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jack plate guide

Jack plates are becoming more and more popular and are a good investment for your boat.

Not only do they provide greater control, a good jack plate positioned correctly will offer better top speeds, gas mileage, and versatility.

However, to benefit from all of this you will need to ensure that you keep your jack plate well maintained and functioning as it should.

By following these tips you will be able to keep your jack plate running for many years to come.

1. Always Rinse Your Jack Plate After Use

After being out on the water you should always rinse off your Jack Plate, (manual jack plate or otherwise).

Saltwater is especially problematic. If left inside the components of your jack plate you can expect corrosion very soon.

The video above demonstrates some of the best products and cleaning methods to use. However, common sense applies and even simple fresh water and liquid are better than nothing.

One important thing to remember is that the polymer rods on the side of the jack plate are relatively delicate. These will not function properly if you allow debris to build up around them. Essentially, the plate will not travel up and down as smoothly as it should.

Furthermore, these types of rods are self-lubricating, (you’ll find them on most Atlas jack plates) so you should not apply any grease to these areas as part of your maintenance routine.

The best method is to clean the rods down with fresh water mixed with a little dish-washing liquid. You can move the plate up and down as you clean and then ensure to rinse everything off afterward.

2. Check Wires and Connections

boat in the water

Automatic jack plates may have exposed wires and connectors. These should be routinely checked for damage and/or corrosion.

Be careful of these areas when carrying out your cleaning. Rinse or scrub too heavily and you may damage the electrical points of the jack plate.

3. Check Mounting Bolts after use

motoboat on water

After a day on the water, you should check all plate mounting bolts to make sure they are tight. The last thing you want the next time you fish is to have the plate rattling around while running your boat.

The fact is, regular use and the vibrations that come at speed can cause the bolts to loosen over time. Being able to address any problems before you head out is always recommended.

4. Do not put any unnecessary stress on the plate mechanism

motoboat on water

This tip applies whether you are controlling the jack plate mechanism for general use, or raising the plate to clean your unit.

Never put any undue stress on the motor and other components by continuing to hold the button down after the plate has reached its full position in that direction.

Not only could you damage the jack plate, but you will also be putting extra draw on your battery. Blowing a fuse while out on the water is never a good idea.

5. Put the Jack Plate in the down position before storage

motoboat on trailer

After using your jack plate and ensuring it is nice and clean, you need to keep it stored in the correct position.

With your boat on the trailer, or in storage mode it is unnecessary to have your plate in the upward position. Think about it; all you are doing is putting strain on the hydraulic mechanism by holding the plate against gravity.

The strain is also made worse during transit, as the bumps of the road mean your plate is being knocked to and fro.

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