Think of boat engine maintenance as part of your insurance plan. For starters, it will help prevent breakdowns and extend your engine’s lifespan.

Car, truck and lawnmower engines all need constant TLC; there will always be a component, fluid or part that needs attention. Given their time spent in water, boat engines are a little even needier.

We’re going full throttle to give you some essential marine engine tips. Read on to discover what the best boat mechanics in the Redlands recommend.

1.   Read Your Boat Engine Manual From Cover to Cover

It doesn’t matter if you own an inland boat operating at lower revs or an offshore vessel running at higher RPM for longer periods. General upkeep goes with the territory of boat ownership.

The first place to start is your boat engine’s manual. You should read it very carefully, as it will give you details of any regular checks you need to carry out and a maintenance schedule.

All boat engines should have an annual boat service with trusted boat mechanics in the Redlands, like Mike’s Marine. This will typically involve changing the oil along with the fuel and oil filters.

You’ll also need to replace the plugs, impeller and fan belt at certain intervals. The bilges will also need cleaning, and your mechanic will check the shaft, too.

In the meantime, here’s a short list of regular DIY checks:

  • Inspect the tension and condition of the drive belt.
  • Look for loose connections in pipework and wiring
  • Check oil & coolant levels, particularly if you’re out on the water for long periods
  • Listen for unusual engine sounds
  • Keep bilges clean, always on the lookout for oil or fuel leaks
  • Use your sense of smell for any sign of a petrol leak
  • Keep a watchful eye on smoke levels coming from the boat

2.   Fuel System Maintenance

Taking good care of your motor’s fuel system is the simplest way to keep it running smoothly. Some engine manufacturers recommend avoiding fuel containing more than 10 per cent ethanol.

High levels of ethanol can attract water and increase the risk of corrosion. In turn, this can lead to starting and running problems or even damage your engine’s fuel system.

Many mechanics recommend replacing the inline fuel filter annually for the best performance. If you haven’t used your fuel for over a month, get one of the skilled boat mechanics in the Redlands to check a fuel sample for the presence of debris or water.

When water separates from fuel, it appears as a clear liquid at the bottom of a container. This should act as a warning sign. When it’s very hot and humid, fuel quality can deteriorate in as little as two weeks.

Even if you typically get through a full tank of fuel in a week, adding a can of fuel additive to the tank is typically a good idea.

3.   Keep Your Engine Clean

Boat engine maintenance includes ensuring the motor is always clean and free of debris. Rinse the engine thoroughly with plenty of fresh, clean water whenever you’ve been out on the water. This helps to remove dirt, salt and other contaminants.

You should monitor the lower unit, cooling water intakes, and propeller. From time to time, you may need to remove and inspect the propeller for tangled fishing lines and debris. It’s a good opportunity to lubricate and clean the propeller shaft.

4.   Lubrication Checks

You should regularly top up lubricants as part of your boat engine maintenance schedule. Check oil levels and adjust them by referring to the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Be mindful of lubrication hotspots, such as grease fittings, the steering mechanism, and the propeller shaft. Make sure that the gear oil in the lower unit is at the right level and replace it according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

5.   Take Care of Your Battery

Looking after your battery is vital for starting and operating your boat’s engine. Check over the battery regularly for any signs of damage or corrosion. Keep the battery terminals and connections clean using a wire brush and baking soda.

You should also consider applying a protective coating to prevent corrosion. If applicable, check the battery water levels and replace or recharge the battery as necessary. Never be tempted to try using a car battery in a boat.

Here’s a complete boat engine battery checklist:

  • Clean the battery terminals so they look shiny
  • Tighten up the battery terminals to prevent losing connection
  • Check the electrolyte levels and only use distilled water
  • Lightly grease the terminals using a specialist product to seal and lubricate
  • Secure the boat battery in case it’s moved out of place
  • Keep the battery fully charged

6.   Check the Electrics

Inspect your throttle cable, hoses and electrical connections for wear and tear. Next up, check the spark plugs. Remove the spark plug wires by twisting the cap to release the seal and check for scorching. You should install new plugs at least every other year.

You should inspect your boat’s alternator or charging system. You can do this by connecting a voltmeter to the battery’s terminals. If you’re unsure how to do this, ask one of the friendly boat mechanics in the Redlands at Mike’s Marine.

7.   Preparing Your Boat Engine for Winter

Check the manufacturer’s guidelines to prepare your boat engine for winter storage. You may need to replace the engine oil, stabilise the fuel system, fog the cylinders and store batteries.

Boat Engine Maintenance in the Redlands

One of the best marine engine tips to book your boat engine in for an annual service. The best time to do this is during the winter when there’s likely to be more boat downtime.

Boat engine maintenance is the key to ensuring you’ll have uninterrupted enjoyment of your boat for years to come. Regular boat servicing is one of the best investments you’ll ever make.

Book your boat in for a service with Mike’s Marine, and you’ll be in safe hands with the best boat mechanics in the Redlands taking care of one of your most precious assets.