It's "Maintenance Monday" and today we're addressing oil changes in all marine engines, excluding two-stroke outboard motors. Just like cars, boats need to have their oil changed. Four-stroke outboards, inboards and stern drive boats require regular oil changes. The frequency will vary by model but a good rule of thumb is to change the oil every 100 hours of operation or once a year.
Unfortunately, there aren't any quick change oil shops for boats, so you either have to change your boat’s oil yourself or consult your local marine maintenance company. You’ll need an oil extractor pump that removes the oil via the dipstick tube. Also, an oil wrench and enough rags to catch the normal drips. As added protection against messy oil, it’s a great idea to put an absorbing pad, or "diaper", under the engine, particularly near the oil filter.
Step 1 – If your boat is in the water, start the engine to warm it up. If your boat is on a trailer, you’ll need to supply cooling water to the water intake at the gearcase. Do this by placing “earmuffs” over the water intakes. Earmuffs consist of two suction cups on a V-shaped piece of tubing. A hose fitting at the Vee supplies water to the engine. Outboards and some sterndrives have special hose fittings for this purpose.
Step 2 – After 5 minutes, turn it off and remove the dip stick.
Step 3 – Insert the oil extractor suction tube into the dipstick tube and slide it all the way in until it stops. Pump out the oil. It will remain safely in the pump until you can take it to an oil change shop for recycling.
Step 4 – Hold a rag around the oil filter and remove it with the wrench. Screw on the new one after rubbing oil on the sealing gasket..
Step 5 - Replace the dipstick and fill the engine with new oil through the oil fill port—the cap is marked “oil.”
Some engines have a special drain tube fit to the oil pan. You pull this tube out the bilge drain and drain the engine without ever dropping a drip on the bilge. Some outboards have comparably simple drainage mechanisms as well. Check your owner manual for the exact procedure. Be sure to use marine grade oil in your boat engine. Boat engines work much harder than car engines, and automotive oil isn't made to protect marine engines.
If you're not willing to tackle an oil change project on your vessel yourself, call us today at (239)776-4253 to schedule this service, and we also offer a free vessel safety and maintenance check with every service call!