Inboard Motor Maintenance


Boating is an addictive pleasure that makes even the most mundane tasks of the hobby, or lifestyle, absolutely thrilling to perform. One of the most mundane tasks of boating is the care and maintenance of the inboard engine, both the regular maintenance of it, the winterization at the end of season, and the prep for the upcoming season. Doing it right, can keep your engine running for years to come.

Spring Prep

  • It is a good idea to prepare your boat for the upcoming season by doing a few simple acts of maintenance for the motor. Change the oil and oil filters of the engine, as well as putting a new filter on board in case of emergency. Keep fresh oil on board as well. Check the fuel filter of the inboard engine, and if it is worn or clogged, replace it. Check the cooling system and change it if needed, or top up the tank if it is low. Check all the belts of the engine to ensure there is ample tension. Check the transmission fluid. Clean the backfire flame arrestor, a piece of safety equipment in the engine to prevent fires. Make sure to keep a log of all the maintenance steps you have performed.


  • Prepare your boat for a long winter season by performing a few winterization techniques on the engine. Check the anti-freeze if your inboard engine has a closed or fresh water cooling system. If the anti-freeze looks like it has debris, or has been otherwise contaminated, replace it with fresh fluid. Warm up the engine for a few minutes so that the oil has a chance to loosen up, turn off the engine, and drain the oil. Remove the oil filter and replace it. Once this is done, fill the crankcase of the engine with oil, and run the engine for a few minutes. One the engine is heated, check the level of the oil, and fill it with more as needed.

Flushing the engine

  • Another important part of winterizing the engine is to flush it of the debris it has accumulated. On inboard engines, especially those used in salt water, it is a good idea to use a cleaner in the engine to get the debris out. To flush the engine, you will want to use what are called rabbit ears to cover the air intake portions of the engine. This will keep debris from coming into the engine while you are flushing it. If you are flushing the engine out of the water, hook up a hose into the water intake portion of the engine, and get the water flowing. Turn on the engine, and leave it in idle. Water will pump through the engine. Once the water comes out clear, the engine is no clean. If the engine has been in salt water, taste a small bit of the water coming out of the engine to make sure all the salt has been cleared.


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