21 Apr Boat Spring Checklist 101: How to De-Winterize a Boat Engine
We know that maintaining your boat is a cyclical process. Your boat hibernates during the winter months and then comes out in the spring, with the summer being the prime time for boating. Boating slows down during the fall, and the cycle starts over. While maintaining your boat can be a tedious process, it is essential for the longevity of your vessel. Luckily, if you properly de-winterized your boat, getting your boat ready for the season should not take you too long.
If you want to protect your investment, it is essential that you winterize and de-winterize your boat each year. Save money and protect yourself, your passengers, and your boat by following these steps on how to de-winterize a boat engine.
• If you did not change the oil before storing your boat for the winter, use this time to change your boat’s oil and oil filter. Ensure that the level is correct and don’t forget about the outdrive oil!
• If necessary, change your transmission fluid. Transmission fluid should be changed if it appears to be burnt, thick, has a milky appearance, or has a lot of particulates.
• Ensure that your battery still holds a strong charge by using a battery tester. If needed, top off any fluids.
• Clean off any corrosion from the battery terminals.
• Check for any leaks below the engine area.
• Check for wear or cracks on all of your boat’s lines (i.e. fuel, coolant). Replace any that are brittle or damaged.
• Inspect the starter cord to ensure that it does not look worn, frayed, or is knotted. Replace if necessary.
• Remove the distributor cap and clean out if there is corrosion present. Make sure you hook up all of the connections correctly.
• Check for worn belts. You can tell this by just visually looking and by pressing down on them. They should not have a lot of “give.” If they do; it is time to replace them. Also, keep an eye out for soot near the pulleys. If you see this, it is time to replace your belt.
• If your coolant lines look okay, refill the cooling system. Your cooling system should have been drained during the winterization process. If you did not do this, drain your cooling system first and then fill with fresh fluid.
• Change your fuel filter and drain your fuel tank ONLY if you did not put in a gas additive during the winterization process. Additives can prevent fuel separation and contamination from water, so if you did not use one, drain and replace with a fresh tank of gas.
• Check to ensure that all of your fluid levels are correct (i.e., coolant, transmission, oil, power steering).
• Test all of the electrical equipment on the boat. Don’t forget to check your bilge pump!
Keep in mind that every boat is different, so use our steps as a guide and refer to your owner’s manual for specific information on your boat’s engine during this process.