Fall is here and unfortunately that means it is about time to put the boat away for the winter. Unless of course you are a die hard and go all winter long. I will pass on that. If you are a wimp like me, make sure you do your fall boat maintenance this year.
Fall boat maintenance for me consists of a few things. The first thing in terms of fall boat maintenance is to clear the gasoline out of the motor. To do this, simply unplug the gas line from your gas tank to where it hooks in to your outboard motor. Once this is done, fire up the motor (muffs on or in water) and let the motor run until it dies. All the gas will be gone at this point.
The second thing I make sure I do is I drain the lower unit of my outboard. Some guys wait until the spring but if for some reason you had a leak and water got mixed in with your oil you will have a bad spring that consists of a frozen lower unit. Not fun. To do this, follow the tutorial I wrote a few years ago about changing the lower unit in your outboard but do not do the step where you fill back the oil. This should wait until the spring.
The next thing I do is add a fuel stabilizer to any old gas that I did not use during the season. The best way is to actually use the gas but I tried transferring gas one year to my car and all that did was make a mess. The following year and years after I added a fuel stabilizer that resulted in zero issues the next year.
I keep my boat in a garage all winter but if you do not you might want to shrink wrap your boat or at least bring the engine into a garage or the house. You also may want to bring your batteries inside the house to make sure they do not go bad. Another thing I have heard guys doing is leaving their trickle charger on the battery all winter long. I need to do further research on that idea.
After these steps are done, I am ready for ice fishing season. ***disclaimer *** The previous steps are what works for me and is by no means a comprehensive list. In fact, I know I am probably missing something.
In the spirit of continuous improvement, please comment below if you do something in the fall to your boat that works for you. I would love to hear from you!