The key to a successful spring launch begins in the fall. Properly winterizing your engine is one of the best marine engine care tips for seasonal boat maintenance. If you did everything right when putting your boat to rest for the off-season, commissioning your boat will be easy if you follow a few simple steps.
1. Consult your engine manual
It contains important recommendations about how to care for boat engine components and whether they should be serviced depending on how much you use them. Always review the terms of your engine’s warranty before replacing any components.
2. Inspect your outboard by taking off the cowling
Start by checking for shavings of rubber and insulation toward the bottom. If any are present, critters could have been using the motor as a winter condo. Always inspect all wiring and hoses for damage and replace them as needed.
3. Check all fluids
Not only check the levels but also the quality of the fluids to make sure contamination hasn’t occurred. You should have changed the engine oil (for 4-strokes) and the lower unit oil before the layup but in case you forgot, take care of that before proceeding further.
4. Check anodes for signs of wear
Anodes protect your engine’s underwater metal components from galvanic corrosion. This is especially important if your boat is docked at a marina or you keep it in the water where random electrical currents can trigger electrolysis. Inspect your engine anodes before the start of boating season.
5. Charge, test and service your batteries
Make sure the poles and connectors are clean, spray them with CRC Battery Terminal Protectant and connect them starting with the positive pole/red cable first. After charging, test the battery with a multimeter. If it reads less than 12.6v it could need to be replaced.
6. Clean the exterior of the outboard
Using a boat-specific soap and a soft rag, wipe down your powerboat engine and give it a coat of wax to protect against corrosion and help keep it looking new.
7. Test your boat’s steering and tilt systems
Before heading to the water, it’s always a good idea to lubricate or grease all points where movement occurs.
For the first trip of the year, it’s not a bad idea to keep it closer to home than usual in case there’s an unforeseen issue. Happy boating!
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