As the weather gets colder and you inevitably get out on the water less often, it’s worth preparing your boat engine if it’s going to stand idle in long term storage.
For some, dealing with your boat engine can seem a little bit daunting and so you may try to do as little as possible with it. However, time spent on your boat is precious, so we recommend you do a few essential things for it to keep it going for many more years to come.
Whether or not to get your boat engine serviced at the beginning or end of the Season is something for you to decide. However, getting your boat Winterised every year is essential to your boat’s overall care and maintenance. Take a look at our previous blog post, ‘How to winterise your boat’ for further information.
That being said, there are some things that you can do to help your engine through the winter, without the help of a professional.
Cleaning and protecting your engine
Keeping your engine clean from the damaging effects of corrosion caused by moisture, oil, grease etc. is paramount. Giving everything a thorough clean before being tucked away will help prevent things such as rusting and salt residue build-up.
We recommend using a product such as Transyl. Transyl is a lubricating, deep penetrating, self-spreading oil with exceptional ‘wetting’, spreading and climbing properties. It is our multi-purpose problem solver that has been used in maritime, automotive, aviation and rail industries for over 75 years.
As Transyl leaves behind a thin protective film, it will protect your engine from any moisture getting into it which would then expand in freezing weather causing high levels of damage.
We also recommend applying Transyl to areas such as your steering/throttle cables, batteries and any electrical systems as they are also prone to corrosion.
Stabilising the fuel
Without the use of a preservative to stabilise your fuel, you will find it to be of little to no use in as short as 6 weeks. Petrol will quickly become thick and clog up all the internal parts of your engine and diesel can have organisms grow inside of it.
Both engine types can quickly become damaged and a hefty bill may ensue without a preservative.
A lot of newer engines actually work by dispensing a measured amount of fuel. This helps minimise the overall amount of fuel being burnt when in use. Although a clever and useful way of operating, these small parts can easily become blocked up. So this is definitely one to add to the ‘to-do’ list!
Flushing the engine
It may sound odd, it’s quite common to have a boat engine encounter problems due to lack of use. A common cause of this problem occurs when saltwater has evaporated and leaves behind residual salt. If left unattended, eventually the cooling system will become blocked. This will, in turn, create hot spots and become overall less efficient.
The engine will work harder and harder to try and cool down but eventually will succumb to damage. Potentially beyond repair.
To prevent this from happening, we highly recommend that after each use to flush the engine. Especially so when you plan to store your boat away for several months at a time.
Changing the oil
Just as with any engine, using a high-quality oil will help to ensure its operation and longevity. Some recommend changing it after approximately 100 hours of use, but once a year is usually perfectly sufficient.
Regardless of how often you decide to change your oil, also be sure to inspect it regularly. You could also use an engine test kit to get an overall consensus on the health of your engine. This is something we recommend doing when purchasing a boat as well.
Keep it covered
Once your boat is prepared and ready to be stored, you should highly consider covering it. Not only will this keep the internal workings of your boat safe and sound, but it will also help keep your exterior looking great too.
Another huge benefit is that if you are storing your boat out of water, a cover will lessen the chances of thieves.
We hope you found this post helpful. If you have any boat care tips or advice, please leave them in the comments below. We love hearing from you!