At the end of the boating season, it can be all too easy to pull your boat out of the water and forget about it until the next season arrives. Don’t fall into that trap. Spending a few hours in the fall properly preparing for the offseason can save you a lot of time and money when it’s time to hit the water next spring.
This step-by-step video demonstrates the process of winterizing a Mercury® Pro XS® outboard using a variety of Quicksilver® maintenance products. It’s similar for many other Mercury and other brand four-stroke outboards. See your owner’s manual for a complete long-term storage service schedule for your engine model. Follow these basic steps to winterize any outboard:
After changing the fuel filter, add fuel stabilizer such as Quicksilver Quickstor® Fuel Stabilizer to fresh fuel (use non-ethanol fuel if available) in the tank. Run the motor for a few minutes to circulate stabilized fuel through the motor and fuel system.
The motor’s oil and filter should be changed every 100 hours or once a season, regardless of how many hours it was actually used. Long-term storage with used oil can expose internal components to moisture and acidic combustion byproducts, which can cause corrosion. Quicksilver Oil Change Kits, available for many popular Yamaha® and Mercury outboards, make oils changes easy. Each kit includes Quicksilver 4-Stroke Marine Engine Oil, a premium oil filter and a new drain plug seal in a convenient package. After you change the oil, briefly start the motor to circulate the fresh oil and check for leaks.
The gear lube in the outboard lower unit should also be changed every 100 hours or at least once a season. As you drain the old lube, inspect it carefully. Gear lube that appears milky or creamy may indicate the presence of water. That’s an indication the propeller shaft seal is damaged and allowing water to contaminate the lubricant, which could cause severe damage to the gears. Water in the gear lube can also freeze and expand during storage, potentially cracking the gearcase. If water intrusion is suspected, a pressure check of the gearcase should be completed by an authorized dealer. If the old lube is clear, refill the gearcase with fresh lubricant using a quality marine-specific product such as Quicksilver Premium Gear Lube, following the instructions in your owner’s manual.
For long-term storage, internal engine components should be treated with engine oil or fogging oil to prevent corrosion. Remove the spark plugs and inject approximately one ounce of engine oil or spray fogging oil directly into each cylinder, following the directions on the can. Use a fogging oil product that is specially designed for use during winterization, such as Quicksilver Storage Seal. Whichever method you choose, rotate the engine flywheel manually a few revolutions to distribute the oil or spray evenly and replace the spark plugs.
Here are some additional steps to include in your end-of-season outboard maintenance routine:
Completing a thorough winterization process before putting your outboard away at the end of one season will help ensure that it’s ready to go for the next one.