Springtime Maintenance Checklist

Springtime Maintenance Checklist
Corroded and dirty battery connections invite a host of electrical problems.

Spring has finally made its way to Texas and daylight savings time is always welcome. The rush to get boats ready is in full swing and I wanted to touch on the maintenance/repair items that are consistently at the top of the list as boats come out of winter storage.

The number one spot on the list goes to pumping out old fuel because the boat has set up for an entire season and/or the fuel was not treated adequately when the boat went into storage. There are sources of non-ethanol fuel available and I want to caution about buying the smaller containers in stores like we see marketed for weedeaters and such because it could be premixed with two-stroke oil.

The number two spot goes to old, weak, or rundown batteries and dirty connections. Almost everything on boats and motors today are dependent on electrical or electronic circuits and having a strong and reliable power source is essential. A good power source with dirty or corroded connections can lead to intermittent problems or electrical failures that can be tricky to diagnose. Having a battery switch on the boat to turn power on and off is a good tool to promote battery longevity.   

Finally, the last items on the pre-season list are the engine’s cooling water system, lower unit gear lube, and engine crankcase oil. Installing a new water pump may be out of your skill set yet changing engine oil and filter before season is relatively easy and a good practice. We also recommend sampling the lower unit oil, as well as pulling the prop, to check for fishing line wrapped on the propeller shaft.

Light-colored, milky, or very dark gear oil are telltale signs that it is time for a lower unit lube change. Fishing line balled up behind the prop can rupture seals and, when reinstalling the prop, don’t forget to apply lube to the shaft and install a new cotter key or lock-ring – whichever is appropriate for your outboard.

Thank you and have a great spring season!

Chris Mapp
[email protected]

Coastal Bend Marine - Port O’Connor, TX – 361-983-4841