For those of us in a four-season climate, Fall is upon us. It’s time to start thinking about off-season boat engine care. Here are 5 basic tips for keeping your boat engine, whether outboard or inboard, in tip-top shape for many seasons to come.
1) Wash and dry your boat regularly.
Not just at the end of the season, but throughout, wash your boat regularly — especially if you boat in saltwater. We’ve all seen what road salt can do to a car; saltwater can do the same to your boat. A soap formulated for marine boat wash is best, but car wash soap can be used just as well. And, dry off your engine if it’s outboard.
2) Change the oil, check the coolant, and flush and drain the motor.
Changing the oil and checking the coolant lines almost goes without saying — just like with a car — but flush and drain the motor as well. Be especially sure to flush outboard engines whether they’ve been run in saltwater or fresh. Drain any fuel still in the engine before storing it for the end of the season. Leaving the fuel in the engine to stagnate can damage the engine. Lastly, be sure to dispose of any old fuel, coolant, or oil according to your local waste or recycling regulations.
3) When the boat is stored for off-season, remove the engine impeller.
This step may sound like over-kill, but almost all impeller manufacturers recommend replacing the impeller at the beginning of each season. Leaving the impeller in the engine during the off-season, especially in colder climates, can cause the impeller to take a “set” and decrease water or diesel flow when next used. That’s not to say the impeller will no longer work; you simply won’t get the most out of it.
To get optimal use out your boat’s engine, replace the impeller at the beginning of each season. Globe Marine makes over 100 different models of Run-Dry® Impellers. The most popular of these impellers come with matching gaskets and O-rings for ease of use and installation.
To find the impeller that’s right for you, simply use our handy impeller search tool or check our list of impellers including gaskets and O-rings to see if your model is listed. Globe Marine Run-Dry® Impellers can be purchased at a dealer near you.
4) Store your boat in a covered dry space or in dry-dock.
Whether you have a small boat or a yacht, store your boat in a covered dry space. Depending on the size of your boat, that dry space can be as simple as covering it with a tarp or as elaborate as a real dry dock. Regardless of the size of your boat, here are a few tips to winterize any boat:
- Open any drains and openings to prevent damage from freezing.
- Boat trailers that hold the boat should have some support for the boat hull as to not damage the trailer’s tires.
- Remove any accessories, electronics, cushions, etc.
- Put moisture absorbers in the cabin and lockers.
- For boats on blocks, check stands and blocks now and then to make sure they’re secure.
5) Before next season, make sure to install a DRIVESAVER®
If you have an inboard motor, before launching your boat next season, consider installing a Globe Marine DRIVESAVER®. Sometimes called a flexible marine coupling, Globe’s DRIVESAVERs® can create a barrier between your transmission and your propeller shaft to reduce drivetrain vibrations and absorb extreme shock and torque optimizing your transmission and engine power. Even better, Globe Marine DRIVESAVERs® are designed to break apart if you strike an unseen rock or log, leaving your transmission and engine intact.