Like cars, boats need proper maintenance for safe and smooth running. Proper maintenance goes beyond physical checking and cleaning the boat when going boating or sailing. The engine is important for running your boat, and it needs regular maintenance. Fortunately, engine maintenance is easy, and you can do it on your own without consulting professional mechanics. Scheduling maintenance for your boat engine after every trip will help keep your boat in check, and it will serve you for a long time. Here are some tips to help maintain your boat engine.
1. Flush the Engine
This is an easy procedure, and it would be best if you do it immediately after every trip before parking your boat. Flush out fluids from the engine, and subsequently refill the oil. Place the boat in a vertical position, then open the oil drain plugs, starting with the lower one then followed by the upper one. The drain plugs are always tightly closed to prevent leakages.
Therefore, you will need a screwdriver to loosen the plugs. When the oil plugs open, use a container to drain the oil from the engine. After draining the unit is complete, inspect the color of the oil before storing it for recycling. The color will help you determine the condition of your boat engine. Burned smell or milky color oil indicates an issue with your engine, and you will need to consult an authorized mechanic to inspect it.
Later on, use a gear oil pump to refill oil to your lower oil hole from an oil bottle. Refill the oil until it overflows from the upper oil hole. With full oil in the engine, remove the oil gear pump and tighten the oil plughole. Ensure you follow the manufacturer’s guidelines on engine maintenance to recommend the suitable oil for your engine.
2. Fuel First
Under mercury outboard maintenance, checking the fuel system is one of the essential steps. The best fuel for your boat is gasoline that has no ethanol. If the available fuels contain ethanol, make sure you use the fuel that has 10% ethanol. If you use fuel that contains high levels of ethanol, it will cause corrosion and attract water. This will make it hard for your engine to start, causing damage to the engine’s fuel system. Alternatively, you can use E85 fuel, which contains 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. However, when selecting the fuel to use, ensure you follow the manufacturer’s guidance.
If it becomes difficult for you to get fuel with less ethanol, consider installing water separating fuel filler to protect the fuel system from attracting water. Also, if your boat has fuel and you are not planning to go boating anytime soon, use a fuel stabilizer additive. The stabilizer will help prevent the oxidation of gasoline. When gasoline oxidizes, it forms deposits that will damage the fuel system, especially if the engine is old.
3. Check Your Battery
The engine battery is an important part of the engine, and it needs to be in good working condition all the time. When boating, there is a lot of vibration and pounding, and an engine cranking battery cannot withstand such, which is why you need a marine battery. The marine battery has thicker plates, and its design is more flexible, thus making it better than an auto battery.
You do not want your marine battery to bang in water because exposing it to water might cause damages making your engine stop. Therefore, you will need a battery tray with a base with locking straps to hold the battery. Proceed and screw the base of the tray to the boat for stability.
Additionally, for the effective functioning of the battery, ensure its terminals are well connected and free from any corrosion. Lastly, on battery maintenance, always keep it charged. If you use the boat infrequently, ensure you have a battery charger to avoid a lower battery charge when sailing or boating.
For proper maintenance of the boat engine, the most important part is following the manual guide. The services needed are well outlined in the manual, and if you follow them, you will not need to consult a mechanic for maintenance services. In addition, for effective functioning, the maintenance needs to be regular, after every trip, and if you rarely use the boat, at least service it annually.