Season Starters: 15 Outboard/Sterndrive Pre-Launch Tips


In this article and video, we’ll go over some tips for getting your outboard or sterndrive engine ready for the season after its winter nap.

Before you start, however, be aware that different types, makes and models of engines may have different commissioning requirements, so be sure to consult your owner’s manual or the manufacturer before prepping your engine.

Now, let’s get started!

1) Oil & Filter Check

If you have a 4-stroke engine, check the crankcase oil level. Make sure you added fresh oil and changed the oil filter for the coming season. Also make sure that you have changed the lower-unit (gearcase) oil (see “How to Change Your Lower Unit Oil”). If your engine has internal fuel and air filters, now is the time to change those if you didn’t do it in the fall.

2) Propeller Install

Inspect the propeller for signs of damage (hopefully you did this in the fall). A bent, chipped, pitted or cracked prop can rob an engine of efficiency and affect the boat’s top speed and performance, so have it repaired if necessary  (see “Propeller Diagnostics, Tuning & Repair”). Grease the prop shaft and splines before installing the propeller, and make sure there is no old fishing line wrapped around the shaft.

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