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Keeping Your Boat Engine Running Like A Champ

Jan 26, 2008
A boat's engine, like anything else mechanical, wants regular maintenance to keep it running at its best. Not practicing boat engine maintenance can cause all sorts of costly trouble or on-the-water emergencies. Reading your owner's guide, you should create a handy boat engine maintenance checklist and hang it where you can see it during boating season. While most boat engine maintenance items can be done at the beginning or end of the season, some must be checked routinely. Boat engine maintenance is very little hassle, but handling engine repairs caused by neglect is a major headache.

One very important item to replace routinely is the impeller, a rubber or plastic part that cools the motor by circulating lake water through it. The impeller will take in impurities from the water and occasionally collect grit or sand from being run aground. These cause deterioration, as does time spent in storage. An impeller is one part you do not want to have faulty-it could mean overheating and engine damage. Therefore proper boat engine maintenance calls for the impeller to be replaced every three or four years.

Before storing your boat for the winter, you ought to do a few boat engine maintenance chores. Since boats do not get as much action as automobiles normally get, their oil does not need to be replaced as often. It should, however, be changed before storing the boat. At the same time, fogging oil should be added. When the last tank of fuel for the season is pumped into your boat, it is smart to add fuel injector cleaner. Otherwise, the fuel can thicken and clog the motor. These are simple tasks that can keep you from having unpleasant surprises when the boat enters the water in the summer.

Refer to your manual for any boat engine maintenance items particular to your craft. Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The last thing you want is to have to replace a costly engine part or to get stuck adrift after your engine conks out. Good boat engine maintenance can keep your engine running properly for years.
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