Prepare your outboard for winter

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It is time to get serious about winterizing your boat and outboard motors.

Weeks ago I added Sta-Bil and Star Tron to the gas tanks, then filled the tanks with non-ethanol gasoline.

Figured if I ran the motors late this fall, I wouldn’t use much gas and the gas would already be treated for winter storage.

Then I removed the battery and brought it indoors, as the experts recommend.

Unfortunately, I had forgotten to spray fogging oil into the carbs to apply a layer of protection to the pistons.

So I had to put the battery back in place, hook up those hose spring ears, then warm the engine prior to spraying.

Also checked the oil level and filter on the four-stroke.

Always check the lower unit grease for evidence of leaks. If water gets into the lower unit and freezes, it might crack the housing.

No doubt the best way to winterize an outboard is to replace all the filters and liquids every fall, but neither motor had heavy use last summer.

I’m always amazed how many nice boats I see sitting outside all winter, uncovered.


Keeping mice and squirrels out of boats is always a battle. Despite my best efforts with fitted covers, tie-downs, concrete blocks, Fresh Cab, moth balls, shaved soap, and whatever, I still find shucked pine cones!

Prepping for winter makes more sense than waiting for weeks for professional maintenance next spring.

Jerry Smalley’s Fishful Thinking column appears weekly in the Hungry Horse News.

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