The person who coined the phrase, “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it,” obviously was not a boater. Indeed, boat motors never break down at the dock or while on a trailer.
That’s just the way it is and it isn’t going to change anytime in this lifetime. So give serious thought to fixing it before it gets a chance to break.
That’s exactly what the following suggestions are all about. Right now, pleasure boating is on summer’s last lap and boat owners are already thinking about putting their craft away for the winter months.
The majority of pleasure-only boats are inboard/outboard or simply inboard powered. Most of these power plants are cooled by water drawn from the lake or river that floats it, meaning that any problem that prevents cooling water from doing its job needs to be corrected.
Engine performance might need attention as well. Waiting until it gets worse is not a good idea.
Fresh spark plugs may the short answer to a sputtering motor but the problem may be more than that. In fact, the smallest problem can quickly get worse.
Get it fixed before it breaks. Don’t put it off until spring.
Have a certified marine mechanic complete an agreed on preventive maintenance list while performing the winterizing prep.
Include the appropriate cooling system check, anti-freeze flush, rotor cap replacement if appropriate, possibly an impeller replacement plus an oil and filter change.
Depending on the type of power plant, a good preventative program may also include fuel system check, closed coolant system flush and more.
What about outboard motors? First, understand that winterization of an outboard is typically a simpler process if done at all.
Serious anglers often find the need to use their boats year-round, thus may never find the right time to fix things that don’t yet need fixing.
So make time or suffer the consequences.
Older two-stroke cycle motors are fairly simple machines. Newer four-stroke units are far more complex.
Annual oil and filter changes are absolute and cooling water impellers should also be replaced occasionally.
Many manufacturers are recommending that water pump impellers be replaced every three years and some are now suggesting annual replacement.
Cost of preventing on the water breakdowns? A lot less than replacing a powerhead, and a whole lot less painful than a ruined vacation.
Take the time now to check oil level and other indicators of possible upcoming issues. Be especially aware of the gasoline used.
Purchase ethanol free gas when and where you can; that in itself is the easy way to baby your motor.
A high number of states and nearly 1,500 filling stations now offer E-15, often at the same pump as E-10 and higher octane gas. No one yet knows how damaging E-15 might be.
Federal law prohibits the use of fuel with greater than 10 percent ethanol in boat motors, whatever that’s worth. So do many warranties.
Never the less, be aware of the pump handle you grab, it could be an engine or fuel system killer. If you must burn E-10, be sure to use an additive.