Fall. For sportsmen this change in seasons means many things. For some it signals the start of deer season. For others it means the end of fishing. For the new boat owners it means it is time put the new toy away for the winter. But what do you need to do to insure your new boat is ready to go come spring? A few simple steps, commonly referred to as “Winterization” or “Winterizing”, can insure your prized possession is both protected from the elements AND ready for the first crappie trip next year. You could simply hire a mechanic to winterized your outboard, but it really is a DIY type project and there is no reason – other than a lack of time- why you cannot do it yourself.
1. Flush the engine – simply run the engine for 5-10 minute with a steady supply of clean, fresh water. For small units you can submerge the lower unit (insuring the intake is completely covered) in a large container of fresh water. Larger units you can attach a “ear muffs” to a water supply and simply slip them over the intakes.
2. Drain fuel – disconnect fuel tank(s) and allow engine to run until fuel is exhausted. As fuel runs low choking the engine a couple times will assist in removing excess fuel from the carburetor, which should be further drained by removing drain plug. If fuel remains in the tank(s) add stabilizer
3. Fog it – fogging oil protects cylinders from corrosion and is very important when engine will be stored for long periods. They can be purchased in aerosol form from any marine supplier. Disconnect spark plug wires and remove each spark plug. Spray fogging oil into each cylinder (spark plug hole) while turning over engine.
4. Grease shaft – apply coating of shaft or wheel bearing grease to propeller shaft and shaft threads. 5. Change the oil – good time to change oil in the lower unit- see engine owner’s manual for specific instructions and requirements. If you are not inclined to include this step during every winterization make sure you at least check the oil level each year. 6. Store engine – engine should be stored vertically, to prevent leaking of necessary fluid as well as permitting any water to escape.
- Hull- every boat, especially those stored in the water for the season requires a thorough hull cleaning prior to winter storage. Power wash or scrub off any stains, dirt or debris and apply a light coat of wax.
- Interior – empty all compartments, allowing compartment and gear to properly dry. Clean and vinyl, applying a protectorate.
- Equipment – remove or disconnect battery, taking this opportunity to clean terminals. Check all lights and fuses, replacing those which are broken or worn. Check windshield wipers, covers and other accessories for wear and tear.
- Tires – check tread, air pressure and wear pattern. Pay special attention to possible dry rot on trailers which sit for the season. Do not forget the spare!
- Lights – check for burned out bulbs, cracked covers and worn wiring. Replace items as needed.
- Grease – lube wheel bearing, tow chains, ratchets and tow hitch.
- Rollers – rollers and bunkers are prone to dry rot or rust after a season of sitting. Insure that each are functioning properly prior to trailering boat for last time.