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How to Winterize an Outboard Boat Motor

There are several important steps to consider for how to winterize an outboard boat motor. Sometimes, it can mean the difference between boating next season or not. Fortunately, it is not a difficult task for you to do yourself, which will save the extra cost of having a mechanic do it for you.

Benefits of Winterizing

How to Winterize an Outboard Boat Motor

You may want to consider winterizing your boat even if you live in a warmer climate. Freezing temperatures are not unknown in the most southern areas of the United States. Even if you store your boat in heated storage, power outages can occur. In either of these cases, playing it safe is better than a boat repair.

If you live in an area where freezing temperatures are part of your winter, winterizing is not a choice, it is a necessity. You can save money by doing it yourself, doing the task on your time versus having to wait for a mechanic to have time. Marine maintenance is generally more expensive than a similar procedure on automobiles.

Winterizing Supplies

In order to complete your task of how to winterize your outboard boat motor, there are several supplies you will need to adequately do the job. The good news is that you can winterize your boat in your drive way or on your front lawn. You will also need access to a garden hose and water. The other supplies will prevent moisture from collecting in your engine. If you don't winterize your motor, you risk cracking your engine block.

Replacing an engine is one of the most dreaded and expensive of boat repairs.

You will need engine oil and an oil filter specific to your motor type. For oil, you can use regular automobile oil. You will also need a lubricant recommended by the manufacturer of your motor. With the boat out of the water, this is a good time to clean and grease the moving parts of your motor so you can start the next boating season with a boat in prime condition.

To prevent the pistons in the cylinders from freezing up, you will also need to purchase fogging oil, which will prevent rusting through the winter season.

Most marine supply stores carry winterizing kits. This kit will include a hose and what is referred to as ear muffs. Ear muffs fit over the water intakes of the lower unit to help draw water up from your garden hose to flush the engine.

How to Winterize an Outboard Boat Motor

Begin by flushing the engine. The ear muffs will protect your water pump and your engine from overheating. While the engine is running, you will next empty the fuel lines and carburetor. Modern engines will have a fuel cut-off valve.

You want to be sure and collect any drainage. Petroleum and petroleum-derived products are hazardous waste. As a boat owner, you should be cognizant of your environmental impact.

Timing is important for the next step in how to winterize an outboard boat motor. You will need to spray fogging oil into the carburetor before the engine completely drains of fuel. You will then ensure no water remains within the engine by draining the motor and removing the drain plug. This is one of the most important precautions you can take in this process.

You will then focus on the spark plugs. Use fogging oil to coat the cylinders to prevent rusting in these locations. As you remove the spark plugs, you can visually inspect each one as you remove them, replacing any that appear fouled or damaged.

Rust and corrosion can attack any part of your outboard motor. At this time, you can lube any exposed gears for the extra measure of protection during the cold winter months. You can also take the time to do the repairs that you may put off during the boating season, such as repairing your prop. Be sure to lube the propeller shaft.

Finally, you will want to stabilize the fuel that is left in your motor with a stabilizing additive. Water in the gas tank can cause backfiring and stalling, situations you certainly want to avoid while on the water.

The process of winterizing your boat is not hard. It is simply a matter of protecting your outboard motor from damage due to condensation and the freezing/thawing action of water. You can save money and help ensure your boat is ready after the next ice-out.