Archived Story

Boating Tips: Winterizing your boat engine

Published 7:43pm Saturday, December 14, 2013

By Biff Mattthews

Proper winterization of both outboard engine and stern drive lower units includes cleaning, lubrication and replacing sacrificial anodes.

To lubricate your engine, remove the vent on the unit’s bottom and allow a small amount of lubricating oil to run out. Inspect this oil for cleanliness and moisture. If either dirt or moisture is present, drain and replace the gear oil after first determining and repairing the cause.

The lower units of outboard engines contain a small amount of gear lubricant, which should be drained and refilled at the end of each boating season.

Lubricate the upper and lower pivot pins and gimbal bearings on stern drives, and lubricate the pivot bearings and tilt pins on outboard engines.

Replace sacrificial anodes that are more than 50 percent consumed. Test the tilt mechanism, check the fluid in the tilt reservoir and replenish if low. Lubricate mechanical tilt units.

With the stern drive raised, inspect the bellows for cracks or leakage points. Store the stern drive in the normal operating position to protect the bellows from abnormal stretching, which could cause cracking later.

Wipe the unit’s exterior and paint over any area where paint is missing. Do not use a copper-based paint; refer to your owner’s manual or consult the dealer for an approved paint.

The Power Squadron will begin a class on Jan. 7, 2014,  lasting one day a week for six weeks on engine maintenance, what you can service and what will require a mechanic. For local information on boating safety and education we invite you to go to our website or email to

Biff Matthew represents the Pamlico Sail & Power Squadron.


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