While your boat’s hull rightly deserves your attention and respect if you ever plan on maintaining your boat to a ripe old age, let’s not forget that other vital part that interacts with the water: your motor. Cleaning an outboard motor is essential for proper functioning as well as to help ensure that it maintains its quality over the lifespan of your boat. But cleaning something as complicated as a motor isn’t always so easy. But don’t worry. We’ve put together a few tips for you.
When you flush out the engine, you’re still working with a very large and very powerful instrument. Avoid problems by keeping the area clear. Don’t let small children happen upon the area while you’re cleaning the area, and make sure that you don’t touch anything you’re not sure of. Give the engine some time to dry and cool before you start working with it—especially if you’ve just recently taken it boating.
Flush The Engine
This might seem like a superfluous step if you use your outboard motor in freshwater only, but sources like WikiHow still recommend it. Why? It’s difficult to clean your engine otherwise. And the water environment of a lake might not be the same as saltwater—but it can still lead to the buildup of all sorts of extra materials you never wanted in your engine in the first place.
Check Your Water Pump
The water pump should flow smoothly and easily—if not, there may be issues with it that can affect just how much “gunk” gets in your engine. There may already be debris in the outflow tube in this case as well, which means you’ll have to clean that out. If there is an obstruction, then make sure that the engine is off and safe to work with. Then use a wire-based cleaning instrument to work the area and clear out any potential debris.
Drain Your Motor Before Winter
This isn’t just an issue of cleaning—it’s also an issue of maintenance. If you live in a cold climate, you’ll likely store away your boat for the winter. Effective motor maintenance means you have to avoid excessive freezing and ice inside the motor to ensure that it runs properly on the other side of winter.
Use The Appropriate Cleaning Materials
Don’t just use “general cleaner” from the kitchen. You’ll want to use boat-specific cleaning formulas and products. Be careful about your selection—take the time to read the labels of boat cleaning products and look for non-corrosive materials.
Cleaning an outboard motor might seem like performing surgery at first—but as you get used to how the motor works and understand the basic safety procedures, you’ll realize just how easy it can be. Make it part of your boat maintenance routine, and you can be rewarded with a clean, effective engine that’s clear of tube obstructions and ready to fuel your next marine adventure.