How To Winterize An Outboard Boat Motor Before Winter
Though necessary, it's always a bit bittersweet to take your boat out of the water and put it in storage for winter. Even if you keep your boat in an area with mild year-round weather, it's always a good idea to take your vessel out of the water for the season – if not for anything else but to perform the necessary maintenance on its motor. One of the most important things you need to do at the end of the boating season is to winterize your outboard boat motor.
Here we'll take a closer look at how to winterize a boat motor before the cold weather sets in to prevent any damage during the off season.
Why Winterize a Boat?
The biggest reason to winterize your outboard boat motor is to protect it from any damage the cold winter weather could pose. Freezing temperatures (whether they're expected or unexpected) can cause significant damage to the motor, which can be very expensive to repair.
Many boat owners may wonder why they don't need to winterize their vehicles but should winterize their boats. It's largely because boats aren't being used during the winter months, while vehicles are driven daily. When any sort of gas-powered engine isn't used for a longer period, gasoline breaks down which can cause issues with fuel lines, carburetors, injectors, and other parts of the engine.
Beyond issues with the engine associated with lack of use, cold weather can kill your battery and accelerate rusting of the engine’s interior. Water vapor may also freeze, leading to further damage.
The bottom line is that you want to be sure to winterize your boat properly to preserve your engine. If you're taking this on as a do-it-yourself task, it's crucial to know the proper steps to follow:
Change the Engine Oil and Filter
The first step is draining and replacing the engine oil before putting it in storage. Oil can turn corrosive rather quickly, and winter weather and lack of activity aren't likely to help. Replacing the engine oil won't just remove the old oil, but any contaminants that are present in the solution as well. Additionally, you'll want to change the oil filter out for a new one.
Add Fuel Stabilizer
Gas can cause issues for your motor fairly quickly, especially if it's just sitting in a tank where the engine isn't being run regularly. A fuel stabilizer can help preserve fuel so that it's good to go when you fire up your boat engine for the first time next spring (plus, it won't be subject to some of the problems that gas can cause). Just be sure that you're adding the appropriate quantity of fuel stabilizer based on the amount of fuel that's in the tank. It's also a best practice to run the engine briefly after adding in the fuel stabilizer to ensure it circulates adequately.
"Fog" Your Engine
Fogging your engine involves spraying fogging oil into the carburetors. Make sure you're mixing the right amount of fogging oil into the fresh fuel, then run the motor for 10-15 minutes. Make sure you're attaching a hose to the coupler as you do this. When smoke appears in the exhaust, the engine is now properly fogged and you can shut it off.
At about the same time you fog your engine, you'll want to flush out the engine cylinders with antifreeze.
Don't Forget About the Battery
While much of the focus of winterizing your boat is placed on the engine, you also want to make sure that you're handling the batteries correctly. We suggest removing the batteries from the boat and storing them for the winter in a cool, dry place. From there, it's best to either trickle-charge your batteries or charge them fully at least once a month to ensure that they maintain their storage life.
Contact Gemlux – The Boating Experts
For more information on how to properly winterize a boat, and to learn more about boat accessories and hardware to add to your watercraft, contact Gemlux.