NEBO Winterizing Series: Gas Engine Odds & Ends


After you’ve tackled the major tasks of changing the lower-unit oil, stabilizing the fuel system and protecting the internal components of your gasoline outboard or I/O engine, it’s time to take on some of the easier jobs. It’s a good idea to maintain a checklist of these items and note the date you performed each job, so you don’t end up repeating yourself or forgetting something the next time around.

While some or all of the following steps may apply, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommended advice for the proper winterizing your particular brand and model of engine.

  1. Air Compressor Filter

If your outboard has an air compressor, you’ll probably need to change the filter once per season—and this is a good time to do it.

  1. Zincs

If your boat spends time in a saltwater slip or on a mooring, you’ll need to change the zincs (sacrificial anodes) every season. Check your engine manual to see where the zincs on your engine are located.

  1. Oil Filter

If you have a 2-stroke outboard, you may need to change the in-line filter on your oil line. If you have a 4-stroke engine, wait to install the new oil filter after you’ve drained the crankcase oil prior to the start of the new season. After all, there’s no need having the fresh oil sit around all winter.

  1. Grease

Add fresh grease via all of the external fittings on your engine using a grease gun to force out any water. Check your engine manual to see what type of lubricant is recommended by the manufacturer. Tip: Invest in a large grease gun so you won’t need to change tubes as often.

  1. Steering Rod/Tilt Tube

Lubricate the tilt tube via the appropriate fittings. Lubricate the steering link rod pivot points with lightweight oil. If your engine has cable steering, lubricate the cable via the appropriate fitting.

  1. Trim/Tilt Rod Bearings

Apply some Teflon grease to the tips of the trim/tilt rods to prevent corrosion during layup. Turn the bearings to coat thoroughly with grease.

  1. Power Trim Fluid

Check the level in the trim/tilt cylinder and fill if necessary.

  1. Powerhead Protection

Spray a corrosion-inhibitor—such as that made by Boeshield or CRC—on the metal parts of the powerhead to protect it during layup. A light coating of the spray is all you need.

  1. Cowling

While it’s not necessary, you might consider a light application of marine wax on the engine cowling to protect it from exposure to the elements.

  1. Propeller

Remove the propeller and grease the entire shaft with a Teflon grease (use an old toothbrush to work the grease between the splines). Inspect the prop for signs of damage, such as large chips, cracks or bent blades, and have it repaired over the winter if necessary. Tip: Propellers are expensive and easily stolen, so you may want to store yours in a secure place.

  1. Lower the Engine

Lastly, always store your outboard in the vertical position over the winter, so that standing water can’t accumulate and freeze.

To read more of out winterizing tips including changing the lower-unit oilstabilizing the fuel system and protecting the internal components: CLICK HERE