It's that wonderful time of the year when the weather has turned warm and you are itching to get out on the lake. You need to make sure your boat is ready for the season before you plunge in. The place to start is with the engine, the most critical part of your vessel. Learn how to properly dewinterize your boat's engine so that you can have a safe and worry-free time on the water.
Read your owner's manual for specific information on your particular engine. Thoroughly familiarize yourself with it if you have not done so in the past. Do not deviate from its instructions if they differ from a general guide.
Change the oil in your boat's engine if you did not do so before storing your vessel for the winter. Put in a new oil filter and change the oil in the transmission too. If you have an outboard with a lower unity you need to change its oil also.
Confirm that the fuel line is attached, intact and free of cracks. You make need to replace if hoses have become brittle or otherwise damaged.
Flush out the cooling system. Replace the old antifreeze with equal parts of water and coolant. Check the hoses for any cracks and change as needed.
Remove the distributor cap and clean out any corrosion that has occurred. Ensure you restore all the connections when you put the cap back on.
Change out the spark plugs with fresh ones and lubricate the engine with an appropriate product. Check your owner's manual if you are not sure how to space the spark plugs at the correct gap distance.
Inspect the starter cord to make sure it is not overly worn or frayed. Also make sure there are no knots. It is essential that the cord be replaced if there is any problem with it.
Align the engine and the shaft once you have the boat in water. Start the engine. Inspect the exhaust to make sure there is a cooling water flow. Check the water temperature.
Do a trial run in which you check that the engine is performing smoothly, the transmission is running even, and that the forward, reverse and neutral shifts are easily changed.
Items you will need
- Engine lubricant
- Spark plugs
- If possible use "engine muffs" and your garden hose to test out the engine before you hit the water. This will allow for easier "fixing" should there be a problem. Don't panic if your engine smokes upon its first start-up in spring as it will usually stop once the fluids have run through it for several minutes.