Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Winterizing your power boat

If you want to protect your investment, you need to perform some preventive maintenance at the close of the season. The following tips are universal, but your owners manual should provide unique advice.

Inboard engines:
Run the engine and change the oil and filter while it is warm. Flush the engine with fresh water.  Circulate antifreeze through the system and let the antifreeze remain inside to protect from rust and freezing. Change the oil in the transmission.  Remove spark plugs and spray fogging oil into the cylinders.

Stern Drives:
Clean the outside of the drive with a shop towel.  Drain the gear case and check for excessive moisture in the oil. If your stern drive has a rubber boot, check it for cracks or holes.  Grease all fittings and check fluid levels is hydraulic steering or lift pumps. 

Outboard engines:
Flush engine with fresh water using flush muffs or similar device attached to the raw water pickup.  Let all water drain from the engine.  Wash the engine down and rinse thoroughly.

Fill your tank(s) to the top to avoid condensation build up.  Add a fuel stabilizer to the fuel and run the engine to get the stabilizer into the fuel system. Change the fuel filter and water separator if equipped.

Disconnect the battery cables and remove the battery from the boat.  Clean the terminals and cables with a solution of baking soda and water.  Apply a light coat of grease to the cables and terminals.  Use a trickle charger to keep the battery charged.

Clean and dry the bilges and storage tanks.  Use soap, hot water, and a stiff brush for cleaning.

Note: Tahoe roadside boat inspection stations are closed for the season.  Inspections are now only available at Cave Rock or Lake Forest boat launches.

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