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Keep Boat Engine Running During Cold Weather

As seasons change and mercury drops in your thermometer fishing is still on the brain.  Musky will always be on the brain.  Prepare now for that sun filled day where you have a few hours to get on the water.  Get your engine ready.  Here are some tips and tricks to keep the engine, on your boat, ready for the water, even if it is a bit nippy out there.  

Cold Weather Prep and Operating Tips: 

  1. Change the lube in the Lower Unit – the lube from summer could of course have some residual water included with it around the gears in the lower unit.  Change the lube to prevent that water from freezing around the gears. 
  2. Use a lower viscosity oil – engines with fuel injection systems should have no problems starting up but engines without fuel injections systems might be a little easier to start with 0w-30 synthetic oil, it has a much lower viscosity and will retain is fluidity in lower temperatures.  
  3. Stabilize the engine temperature in the water – just take a little extra time here by dropping the engine in the water for 10 minutes or so before starting and then give a little extra time to get to optimum operating temperature before opening up the throttle.  
  4. Richen up the fuel mix – this is only required on a non EFI outboard in really cold temperatures but to help it out you can loosen the the idle adjustment screw (ever so slightly – like 1/16″) to help the engine run a little more lean
  5. Use a fuel stabilizer – Fuel treatments like Sea Foam and STP can be added to fuel to prevent gas line freezing – no one wants to have to pull the gas line off their boat and blow it out because it froze up due to the water in the gas. – easy preventative measure for all boats!  
  6. Warm the batteries – Warming the battery if a different way of saying keeping the battery at peak charge.  Get a decent charger with a deep cycle setting and an “an auto-off” trickle charge. 
  7. Flush the water system after the trip – Make sure to pull the plug and allow all the water to drain from your engine after you have been on the water.  This prevents the freezing of those gears or preventing a cracked block or intake manifold. 
  8. Remember – Safety First – take care of your self with common sense for yourself with proper attire for the elements you are about to experience.  


Gregg Thomas

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