How to Winterize Your Outboard Motor

Want to keep your out­board motor in top shape dur­ing the win­ter sea­son? Learn how to win­ter­ize your motor with these easy steps.

You’ll be able to pro­tect it from poten­tial dam­age caused by freez­ing tem­per­a­tures and ethanol. From drain­ing and flush­ing the cool­ing sys­tem to sta­bi­liz­ing the fuel, this guide will show you every­thing you need to know.

Get ready to enjoy wor­ry-free win­ter stor­age and ensure your motor is ready to go when the warmer weath­er returns.

Key Take­aways

  • Flush­ing the engine with fresh water is cru­cial to remove salt and debris.
  • Adding a fuel sta­bi­liz­er to the gas tank helps pre­vent fuel degra­da­tion and ethanol dam­age.
  • Reg­u­lar main­te­nance, such as chang­ing oil and fil­ters, is impor­tant to pre­vent dam­age and ensure prop­er func­tion­ing.
  • Tak­ing pre­cau­tions to pre­vent ethanol cor­ro­sion, such as using a sta­bi­liz­er designed for ethanol-relat­ed issues and drain­ing left­over fuel, is essen­tial for win­ter­iz­ing the out­board motor.

Preparing Your Outboard Motor for Winter Storage

To prop­er­ly win­ter­ize your out­board motor, you’ll want to take a few impor­tant steps.

You’ll need to flush the engine with fresh water to remove any salt or debris. This will help pre­vent cor­ro­sion and keep your motor run­ning smooth­ly.

You should change the oil and replace the oil fil­ter. Old oil can become con­t­a­m­i­nat­ed with dirt and debris, which can cause dam­age to your motor over time. By chang­ing the oil, you’ll ensure that your motor is pro­tect­ed dur­ing the win­ter months.

You’ll want to add a fuel sta­bi­liz­er to your gas tank. This will pre­vent the fuel from break­ing down and caus­ing dam­age to your motor. It’s impor­tant to run the motor for a few min­utes to allow the sta­bi­liz­er to cir­cu­late through­out the sys­tem.

You’ll want to remove the bat­tery and store it in a cool, dry place. This will help extend the life of your bat­tery and pre­vent it from freez­ing dur­ing the win­ter.

How to Winterize Your Outboard Motor

Draining and Flushing the Cooling System

Now that you’ve learned how to win­ter­ize your out­board motor, it’s time to focus on drain­ing and flush­ing the cool­ing sys­tem.

This step is cru­cial to pre­vent dam­age and ensure prop­er main­te­nance.

Let’s explore the impor­tance of this process and the steps you need to fol­low.

Importance of Proper Maintenance

You should reg­u­lar­ly main­tain your out­board motor to ensure its prop­er func­tion­ing dur­ing the win­ter months. Neglect­ing main­te­nance can lead to cost­ly repairs and a short­er lifes­pan for your motor.

Here are a few rea­sons why prop­er main­te­nance is essen­tial:

  • Avoid break­downs: Reg­u­lar main­te­nance helps iden­ti­fy and address any poten­tial issues before they become major prob­lems. This way, you can avoid being strand­ed on the water dur­ing the win­ter months.
  • Pre­serve per­for­mance: By keep­ing your out­board motor well-main­tained, you can ensure opti­mal per­for­mance and fuel effi­cien­cy. This means you can enjoy your time on the water with­out any wor­ries.

Steps for Preventing Damage

Reg­u­lar main­te­nance is cru­cial for pre­vent­ing dam­age to your boat’s engine dur­ing the win­ter months. To ensure that your engine stays in top con­di­tion and ready for the next boat­ing sea­son, fol­low these sim­ple steps.

Flush the engine with fresh water to remove any salt or debris.

Change the oil and oil fil­ter to pre­vent con­t­a­m­i­nants from caus­ing cor­ro­sion.

Don’t for­get to add a fuel sta­bi­liz­er to the gas tank to pre­vent ethanol buildup.

Dis­con­nect the fuel line and run the engine until it runs out of fuel, this will pre­vent any fuel residue from clog­ging the car­bu­re­tor.

Remove the spark plugs and spray fog­ging oil into each cylin­der to pro­tect against rust.

Stabilizing the Fuel to Prevent Ethanol Damage

To pre­vent ethanol dam­age to your fuel sys­tem, it’s cru­cial to sta­bi­lize the fuel.

Adding a fuel sta­bi­liz­er before stor­ing your boat will help pre­vent cor­ro­sion caused by ethanol.

Fuel Stabilizer Benefits

Using a fuel sta­bi­liz­er will help pre­vent fuel degra­da­tion in your out­board motor dur­ing the win­ter months. It’s impor­tant to take care of your motor so that it’s ready to go when you’re ready to hit the water again.

Here are a few ben­e­fits of using a fuel sta­bi­liz­er:

  • Pre­vents Ethanol Dam­age
  • Ethanol can cause dam­age to your out­board motor if left untreat­ed.
  • A fuel sta­bi­liz­er helps coun­ter­act the effects of ethanol, keep­ing your fuel in good con­di­tion.
  • Main­tains Fuel Fresh­ness
  • Fuel can degrade over time, espe­cial­ly dur­ing long peri­ods of inac­tiv­i­ty.
  • A fuel sta­bi­liz­er helps main­tain the fresh­ness of your fuel, ensur­ing it’s ready for use when you need it.

Preventing Ethanol Corrosion

Don’t let ethanol cor­ro­sion ruin your fuel and hin­der your boat­ing expe­ri­ence. Ethanol, a com­mon addi­tive in gaso­line, can wreak hav­oc on your out­board motor if not prop­er­ly addressed. But fear not, free­dom-lov­ing boater, for there are steps you can take to pre­vent this cor­ro­sion and keep your engine run­ning smooth­ly.

Make sure to use a fuel sta­bi­liz­er specif­i­cal­ly designed to com­bat ethanol-relat­ed issues. This will help pre­vent the for­ma­tion of harm­ful deposits and pro­tect your fuel sys­tem.

Con­sid­er using non-ethanol gaso­line when­ev­er pos­si­ble. While it may be a bit prici­er, it will min­i­mize the chances of cor­ro­sion and ensure opti­mal per­for­mance.

Reg­u­lar main­te­nance is also key. Keep an eye on your fuel fil­ters and replace them as need­ed. Inspect your fuel lines for any signs of dam­age or leaks, and address them imme­di­ate­ly. And don’t for­get to drain any left­over fuel from your engine before stor­ing it for the win­ter.

By tak­ing these sim­ple pre­cau­tions, you can enjoy the free­dom of wor­ry-free boat­ing, know­ing that ethanol cor­ro­sion is no match for your well-main­tained out­board motor.

Changing the Oil and Filter for Winter Protection

Changing the Oil and Filter for Winter Protection

Make sure you’ve the nec­es­sary sup­plies to change the oil and fil­ter in order to pro­tect your out­board motor dur­ing the win­ter. It’s impor­tant to take care of your motor so it can con­tin­ue to pro­vide you with the free­dom to explore the open waters.

Here are the steps to change the oil and fil­ter:

  • Gath­er the fol­low­ing sup­plies:
  • Fresh oil and oil fil­ter
  • Oil drain pan
  • Wrench or sock­et set
  • Clean rags or paper tow­els
  • Start by run­ning your out­board motor for a few min­utes to warm up the oil. This will make it eas­i­er to drain.
  • Locate the oil drain plug on the low­er unit of your motor. Place the oil drain pan under­neath to catch the old oil.
  • Use a wrench or sock­et set to remove the drain plug and let the old oil drain com­plete­ly.
  • Once the oil has drained, remove the old oil fil­ter and replace it with a new one. Make sure to lubri­cate the rub­ber gas­ket of the new fil­ter before installing it.
  • Tight­en the drain plug and fil­ter secure­ly, but be care­ful not to over­tight­en.
  • Final­ly, add the fresh oil to the appro­pri­ate lev­el, as indi­cat­ed in your motor’s man­u­al.

Protecting the Battery From Freezing Temperatures

To pre­vent your bat­tery from freez­ing in cold tem­per­a­tures, it’s impor­tant to keep it ful­ly charged and store it in a warm and dry loca­tion.

You know the feel­ing of free­dom that comes with being out on the water, so it’s cru­cial to take care of your equip­ment to ensure you can con­tin­ue enjoy­ing those moments. Freez­ing tem­per­a­tures can wreak hav­oc on your bat­tery, caus­ing it to lose pow­er and poten­tial­ly even freeze.

So, before the win­ter chill sets in, make sure you charge your bat­tery ful­ly. Keep an eye on the charge lev­els through­out the sea­son and top it up if nec­es­sary.

When stor­ing your boat for the win­ter, find a warm and dry place where the bat­tery can be pro­tect­ed from extreme tem­per­a­tures. A heat­ed garage or a cli­mate-con­trolled stor­age unit are ide­al options. Remem­ber to dis­con­nect the bat­tery cables and clean the ter­mi­nals before stor­ing it.

Inspecting and Greasing the Propeller Shaft

Inspect the pro­peller shaft for any signs of dam­age or wear, and grease it reg­u­lar­ly to ensure smooth and effi­cient oper­a­tion. Your pro­peller shaft plays a cru­cial role in the per­for­mance of your out­board motor, so it’s impor­tant to keep it in top con­di­tion.

Here are a few steps you can take to inspect and main­tain your pro­peller shaft:

  • Visu­al Inspec­tion:
  • Look for any vis­i­ble signs of dam­age, such as dents, cracks, or bent parts. These can affect the over­all per­for­mance of your motor and should be addressed imme­di­ate­ly.
  • Check for any exces­sive wear on the shaft. If you notice any grooves or uneven sur­faces, this could indi­cate that it’s time to replace the shaft.
  • Greas­ing the Shaft:
  • Apply marine-grade grease to the pro­peller shaft reg­u­lar­ly. This will help reduce fric­tion and ensure smooth rota­tion.
  • Make sure to use high-qual­i­ty grease that’s specif­i­cal­ly designed for marine appli­ca­tions. This will pro­vide bet­ter pro­tec­tion against water and cor­ro­sion.
Covering and Securing Your Outboard Motor for the Winter Season

Covering and Securing Your Outboard Motor for the Winter Season

To pro­tect your out­board motor dur­ing the win­ter sea­son, cov­er it with a water­proof tarp and secure­ly fas­ten it to pre­vent any dam­age from the ele­ments. A water­proof tarp will shield your motor from rain, snow, and oth­er win­ter ele­ments that could cause dam­age. Make sure the tarp is tight­ly secured to pre­vent any gusts of wind from blow­ing it away. You don’t want to spend unnec­es­sary time and mon­ey on repairs come spring­time. By cov­er­ing your motor, you’re tak­ing proac­tive steps to pre­serve its longevi­ty and per­for­mance.

Secur­ing the tarp is just as impor­tant as cov­er­ing it. Use strong ropes or bungee cords to tight­ly fas­ten the tarp around the motor. This will pre­vent any unwant­ed move­ment or expo­sure to the harsh win­ter weath­er. Remem­ber, you val­ue your free­dom, and hav­ing a prop­er­ly cov­ered and secured out­board motor will give you peace of mind dur­ing the win­ter months.


Now that you know how to win­ter­ize your out­board motor, you can ensure its longevi­ty and opti­mal per­for­mance.

By fol­low­ing these sim­ple steps, you can con­fi­dent­ly store your out­board motor dur­ing the win­ter sea­son:

  • Drain the cool­ing sys­tem
  • Sta­bi­lize the fuel
  • Change the oil and fil­ter
  • Pro­tect the bat­tery
  • Inspect the pro­peller shaft
  • Cov­er the motor

Don’t for­get to take the nec­es­sary pre­cau­tions to pro­tect your invest­ment and be ready for the next boat­ing sea­son.