How to prepare your boat for winter storage

Falling temperatures signal the end of summer. It’s time to start thinking about wintering his boat which served us well in spring and summer. You can take a few simple steps that will prepare your outboard motor for winter and make it more efficient when you unpack it for use the following season.

Step # 1: Change the oil

Begin the wintering process by changing the oil and oil filter to remove any corrosive contaminants that can cause internal damage when an engine is not used for long periods of time. We recommend that you add an additional oil additive to cover the internal bearing surfaces and prevent corrosion on the bearings and other engine components when restarting in the spring. During long periods of inactivity, the oil can settle almost completely in the crankcase during the winter, causing what we call a “dry start” which can mark bearing surfaces. After adding the additive, run the engine to bring it to operating temperature and let it run for about 10 minutes. Your engine is now protected against cold starts when you restart it in the spring.

Step # 2: Flush the engine

Flush the engine with fresh water to remove any deposits that may accumulate during the winter or that other by-products of combustion enter the cooling system. Such a deposit formation can damage elements such as the water pump turbine, and the engine cooling circuit.
Some outboard motors have a water inlet to connect a garden hose for easier work. Idle the engine during flushing, making sure it does not overheat, and flush your engine until the water comes out clean. The internal circuits must be filled with glycol antifreeze to prevent the engine from freezing, which could crack the engine block and lead to very expensive repairs.

Step # 3: Protect the fuel

You will probably end up leaving fuel in the tanks of your outboard motor during wintering. The gasoline decomposes during storage, the lightest fractions evaporating and the heaviest fractions forming a varnish clogging the fuel or injection system. This degrading process can begin in just two months and the fuel octane rating decreases during the process. To avoid these problems, add a fuel stabilizer to the tank and let the engine idle for 10 to 20 minutes to distribute these products throughout the system. This will protect the fuel that remains in your engine’s combustion system during storage.

Step # 4: Protect the parts with light oil

To protect internal engine components from rust and corrosion, remove the engine air box or flame arrester and spray light oil into the carburetor while the engine is running. Turn off the fuel supply with the fuel valve or pinch the fuel line to burn the fuel remaining in the carburetor or injection system. On carburetor engines, the main jets are so small that even a very small amount of fuel in the carburetor can damage it. You must completely drain the carburetors to extract all the fuel.

When the engine stops, disassemble the spark plugs and inject a small amount of light oil into the cylinders. Turn the engine several times to ensure a good coating of oil on the cylinder walls and reinstall the spark plugs. Another solution is to turn off the ignition and turn the engine over while spraying light oil into the carburetor (s).