How Do I Maintain a Boat Lift? Top 5 Troubleshooting Questions Answered by Experts

Top boat lift maintenance tips, maintaining your boat lift, the ultimate guide to boat lift maintenance, how to care for your boat lift motor, boat lift motor care, maintenance and service boat lift motor, when to replace boat lift cable, basics of boat lift cable maintenance, how to fix boat lift cables, boat lift motor issues and how to solve them, what’s wrong with my boat lift motor, boat lift motor replacements

Maybe you’re new to owning a boat lift or recently had one installed. Or, maybe you’ve had one for years and want to be sure you’re taking care of it properly.

In this article, we’re going to share our expert tips and insights on how to keep your lift running smoothly and answer our top five most asked questions on how to maintain your boathouse lift for years to come:

  1. How long will my boat lift cables last?
  2. How do I maintain my boat lift cables?
  3. What do I do if my boat lift cable breaks?
  4. How do I maintain a boat lift motor/gear plate?
  5. Why is my boat lift motor not working?

Let’s get started!

Cable Maintenance & Repair

1. How long will my boat lift cables last? 

Whether you have galvanized or stainless steel cable, boat lift cable (or wire) lasts an average of three to five years, depending on how often the lift is used. Like the tires on your car, your cables will wear out over time, requiring replacement every three to five years on average.
broken boat lift cable, when to replace your boat lift cables, how to fix boat lift cables, boat lift wire, how to repair boat hoist cable
Without proper maintenance, your cables can rust and even break.
If you have a freshwater lift, chances are you’ll have galvanized steel cables as they are sturdier and generally more affordable than their stainless steel counterparts. You can easily check these cables for wear by looking for signs of rust.
Stainless steel cable, on the other hand, wears from the inside out and generally won’t show signs of wear. One way you can check these cables for wear is by GENTLY running your hand along the wire to feel for any loose strands, but be cautious — you don’t want to cut yourself.
Want to learn more about boat lift cables? Click here!

2. How do I maintain my boat lift cables?

You can add life to your cables by lubricating them with motor oil (dont use grease or WD40). Doing so regularly will help prevent undue wear and help to extend the life of your cables.
It’s also crucial that you never leave your lift sitting in the water for extended periods of time. Feel free to leave the lift in the water while you’re boating, but if you ever need to remove your boat or trailer it for longer than a few hours, be sure to lift it up high and dry out of the water. This will prevent it from rusting and corroding prematurely, and limit cable breakage and other problems
If you’re in the Central Florida area, you can keep your boat regularly serviced by calling our team. At R.J.’s, we offer an annual service where we grease your gear plate and zircs to help prevent damage. Well also inspect your cables for wear and give you advice on when its time to get them replaced.

3. What do I do if my boat lift cable breaks?

First, remember that it’s normal for your lift cables to wear out — so don’t panic! Your cables will last three to five years on average and wear with use. Its important that you be proactive and replace your cables as needed and keep them regularly maintained.
If your cables do break, we recommend that you schedule a re-cable with a boat lift company to be sure that its done properly (if youre in Central Florida, feel free to call us). We also suggest that you replace all four cables even if only one of your cables snapped. While this may seem excessive, we strongly recommend you do so as the other cables are likely just as worn and may be close to breaking. So save yourself the extra service call, and have all four cables replaced.
how to replace boat lift cable, cable for boat lift, how to grease boat lift cables, replacing boat lift cable, stainless steel boat lift cable, galvanized steel boat lift cable

By properly maintaining your cables, your lift will function smoothly for years to come.

To re-cable your lift, purchase replacement cable, ask questions or schedule our team in the Central Florida area, call our office at 352-394-5666. For more on how to maintain your lift, continue reading!

In summary,
  • Cables will last 3-5 years.
  • Maintain your cable by lubricating it with motor oil.
  • Check for wear by looking for rust or loose strands.
  • Replace all four cables if one breaks.

Motor Troubleshooting & Maintenance

4. How do I maintain a boat lift motor/gear plate?

Youll need to maintain your gear plate (the aluminum plate that holds your motor, gears and bearing blocks) by greasing it at least every six months. Doing so will prevent undue wear and tear on the motor and on the cables, prolonging the life of your lift and keeping it running smoothly for years to come.
To grease your gear plate, you need to first remove your boat from the lift. Then, apply grease to your gear plate on the four grease fittings pictured below while running the lift up and down several times, but do so CAREFULLY  — you dont want your fingers to get caught!
Boat lift troubleshooting, boat lift motor maintenance, how to grease a boat lift, boat lift maintenance tips, boat lift hoist repair, how to fix a boat lift motor, common boat lift motor problems, motor buzzing, motor humming, boat lift motor issues, boat lift motor troubleshooting guide
To grease your boat lifts gear plate,
  • Remove the boat from the lift.
  • Apply grease to the four grease fittings while carefully running the lift up and down.

5. Why is my boat lift motor not working?

Your lift might not be running for several reasons. The first, and most common culprit, is that there is no power to your dock. To make sure the power is working, try plugging in a hair dryer or other small appliance to the outlets on your dock.
If there is power and your motor still isnt working, the contacts might be blocked. Often, mud daubers will nest in the motor casing or dirt will build up over time. If this is the case, the debris will need to be cleaned out for the motor to run properly.
If your motor still isn’t working, it might be that it has died and you’ll need to replace it. You can replace the motor yourself or call our office to order a replacement. To order a new motor or schedule a repair in the Central Florida area, you can call our office at 352-394-5666.
Some common issues are,
  • Theres no power on your dock.
  • Dirt or debris is blocking the contacts.
  • The motor has died.

For questions or concerns about your lift or how to maintain it, or if you’re in Central Florida and would like to schedule our team, feel free to call our office at 352-394-5666. Our team of experts would be happy to help you!

Have another problem with your lift that we didn’t cover in this blog? View our full FAQ page here!

Other Articles: