You probably love your boat, but remember it’s the engine that makes possible all those cool boating adventures (“docktail cruisers” and nonauxiliary sailboats excepted). A clean engine makes visual inspections more effective. And the process of detailing your engine will make you more familiar with and force you to examine every inch of your engine. So treat your engine right by caring for it this fall with these maintenance tips. — Kevin Falvey
Use paper towels to remove big globs of grease. Then apply a solution of soap and water with a rag or sponge: Dawn dish detergent is an effective and inexpensive degreasing soap. Rinse thoroughly with a light spray of water. Allow to air-dry.
Color-matched engine paint is available from your dealer or the engine-maker’s website. This includes paint for inboard and sterndrive engines, as well as for the gear cases of sterndrives and outboards. Painting staves off corrosion and can also enhance the resale or trade-in value.
Be sure to lubricate all control linkages with grease, remembering that a little goes a long way. Also apply grease to outboard cowling latches. Check your owner’s manual for the location of any grease fittings (Zerk fittings) specific to your engines. Spray the entire engine block with a silicone-based aerosol lube.
In the course of cleaning, painting and lubing your engine, you might discover some fasteners that have corroded. This is especially true for coastal boaters. Remove and replace (or clean) these now, before you need to remove them and can’t because of corrosion.