Perhaps the most important maintenance tool for the Propel drive is cheap and readily available: fresh water. After every trip – especially in salt or brackish water – a simple and thorough low-pressure rinse with fresh water is a must. Never use a high-pressure hose; you don’t want to force water, dirt, grit, etc. past the seals to the internal components. I carry a little garden sprayer in the car, and use it to give my rods, reels, and Propel drive a quick shower right after I get off the water. They all get a more thorough hose rinse when I get home.
While rinsing the drive, inspect the casting, cranks, pedals, and propeller for damage. Always check the section of the casing where the thwart tube passes through; there were reports of some early castings cracking when the screws were over-tightened. Look for grit buildup in screw recesses. Trapped salt can quickly lead to corrosion.
The interval for more in-depth upkeep depends on how frequently you pedal. The original recommendation from Native was every six months, but updated guidance suggests that users grease the upper and lower sections of the Propel drive after every seventy five days or 600 hours of pedaling, whichever comes first. Native specifies using only Finish Line Teflon Grease for the internal gears. Any other grease may cause compatibility issues and do more harm than good. Grease and a tool are available through your dealer, or can be found at many bicycle shops.
Native Watercraft is training Certified Propel Technicians throughout its dealer and Pro Staff networks. If at any point you don't feel comfortable performing the prescribed maintenance, contact your local dealer or Pro Staff member for assistance.
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