Page last updated July 17, 2008



Outboard Motor / Easy Engine Winterization

Winterization is the process of storing your engine for a period of nonuse. Tasks vary from book to book but essentially try to prepare your engine for long storage. Clean engine out and remove all fuel from bores and carburetors and coat cylinders / carburetors with storage fogging spray / oil. Did you know that this process could make your next season experience easier. From the get go, if your engine starts up with no problems, you end up feeling more confident in your outing; less stress, better relaxation; better experience!

Leaving fuel in carburetors will eventually lead to fouled up carburetors. To avoid this, purchase some quality fuel stabilizer. This prevents the fuel from forming a varnish like substance.


Again, steps and advise vary so do some research and see what works best for your engine. NOTE: When using the storage fogging oil, you will see thick smoke. Not to worry, this will be burned up when you next put the engine into service.

Here are the steps:

  1. If you have not already supplied your fuel with stabilzer, do so before proceeding. When fuel stabilizer has been added, hook fuel supply and place "earmuffs" or flush device on motor with running water (this is a common step that most forget about and realize it after engine has been turned on), turn on engine and allow fuel stabilizer to circulate into engine for 5 - 7 minutes. Remember, you have old fuel in carburetors and that needs to be burned off before stabilizer reaches / replenishes carburetors.
  2. Here is where advise differs - follow manufacturer recommendations or see what works for you. Switch off engine, remove carburetor throat covers and expose carburetors. The difference is in the fuel left in the system. Some advise to disconnect fuel supply and turn on engine and allow to almost run out, then spray fogging oil into carbs and count for 4 - 5 seconds and allow engine to completley stall out due to lack of fuel. Other simply say to leave fuel connected and spray fog into throat of carburetors until engine smokes and almost stalls at which time you should shut off engine. Again, see what works for you. All this is so that engines runs better in the spring or starts easier. The smoke will burn off after a few minutes the next time you start her up. I have leaving fuel in system allows me to start the engine easier. It makes sense for short periods of inactivity. If the engine will stored away for a longer period of time, my suggestion would to let engine run until fuel is expelled from system. Either way, make sure you use fuel stabilzer.
  3. After engine has cooled for 10 - 15 minutes, remove spark plugs and spray fogging oil into bores and toward the sides of the cylinders for a few seconds. Turn flywheel by hand to evenly coat all areas.
  4. Remove portable fuel tanks and place in a safe, ventilated, cool, locked area, away from heat sources. The vent should be screwed almost closed but allowed to breath just a bit. Make sure no one will tip the can over becuase then fuel will be all over the place and it will become a fire hazard. If left in an open heated area such as a hot garage or shed, the tank will bloat and may warp if left completely closed.
  5. Place engine in upright storage position and drain lower unit gear oil and refill. See quarterly checks on maintenance page for procedure.
  6. Clean outside of outboard motor with soap and water and coat with wax to repel condesation. Leave in upright storage position to allow any future condesation to fall preventing it from from remaing on engine.


There are many more steps that your engine may require. If you have oil pumps and filters, those should be inspected, replaced.

Batteries should be checked and charged, disconnected and pplaced into storage away from the elements.

With careful consideration for your precious engine, you should be up and running next spring with no headaches as long as you care for your engine as if your life depended on it. In a way it does. I couldn't live without being able to fish.


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