Nick Eales, managing director of Sea Start Ltd, has 10 top tips for winterising your engine.

If you are planning to take you boat out of commission over the winter it is important to winterise the engine to avoid problems before the spring re-launch. The tasks involved depend on the type of boat and engine and it is important to follow the manufacturers’ recommendations.

There are a few basic tasks that apply to most engines.

Fill your diesel tank to reduce condensation in the tank over the winter. Water that enters the tank as the interface between water and fuel is where diesel bug will thrive. If you do suspect signs of the bug then use a fuel additive to keep it under control. Smear Vaseline lightly around the fuel cap to give a better seal.

Change and drain the fuel pre-filter. This is important, so you can get an idea of the condition of the fuel.  If there are signs of dirt or bug you may decide to have your tank cleaned.

Change the engine oil remembering to run the engine up to temperature first. The cleanest and easiest way to do this is to use a vacuum pump which has its own self-contained reservoir and tube that is inserted into the dipstick. Refill the sump with clean oil making sure it is the correct grade for your engine.

Change the oil filter. Use a good filter wrench that will not damage the filter. Put a plastic bag around the filter to catch the oil and filter. Old engine oil is full of carbon and hard to clean so try and use a barrier cream or wear latex gloves. Oil should be changed at least once a year.

Check the fresh water cooling level and top up with the right ratio of water to anti-freeze. Anti-freeze or coolant protects your engine from the cold and acts as a corrosion inhibiter that protects the internal waterways within the engine.

Remove the sea water pump impellor and tie to the side of the pump to stop it deforming. Change the impellor annually.

Relax or remove the drive belts to stop them deforming or cracking. Replace them in the spring if they look worn or if there is black dust on the engine.

Clean the engine and inspect it from all angles. Check jubilee clips and electrical wiring for corrosion and any water, fuel or oil leaks. Make sure bilges are clean. This make it easier to spot faults. After cleaning the engine, coat it with duck oil or corrosion block. Pay particular attention to the drive belt pulleys. These must be kept free of rust to stop belts wearing down.

Remove batteries where possible, charge them up and check the water levels.

Block off the exhaust and, if possible, the air inlet to the engine, using tape or a wooden bung, to prevent moisture from getting into the engine.

Now, just before re-launching most of the service is done so re-commissioning should be straight forward, but remember to check your manufacturers’ recommendations.


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