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Changing Boat Engine Oil


No matter if your boat is new or has a few years on it, changing your boat engine oil is a must. Different manufacturers have different intervals when to change your oil and oil filter. I know most people go by engine hours and do this regularly, but there are other factors you should be aware of. Here are just some. On new motors, you have break-in periods where you have to watch your RPM (revolutions per minute)and not go over this. The new boat engines also have tight tolerances, so break-in periods are critical because you have more friction which causes heat and beats up the oil quickly. There are so many theories, suggestions and advice on this subject, it gets confusing. I know I want to do the right thing on my new motor, as well as a boat I just purchased used with the engine(s) that have some hours on them.

On a new boat engine, I want to do the right thing to break it in, so years later the engine stays tight (no internal noises) and does not burn oil. To put it in context. imagine using hand lotion everyday.Your hands stay smooth, slide easily and work well, no cracking, etc. Now on severe days like the harsh winter, you now might lotion your hands twice a day. If you don.t lotion your hands at all or only sometimes, well, you know. your hands hurt, become a little raw, crack, etc. Well, changing your lubricating oil puts new lotion in the engine. It runs smoother, and the internal parts don.t rub with that oil film between them. Dirty oil or oil past its time does not lubricate as well, allowing the internal parts to rub a little. The older the oil, the more rubbing. This starts you down the road of oil burning, engine noise, and sometimes worse.

This is what I do to keep my boat engine running well for years. On new engines, I double up on the oil changes and replace the filter with it. Since the engine is new, metal filings and rough edges in the engine might be there. I want to capture them in the filter and get them out. I look at the oil color also and change the oil and filter when I see the color start to change. It usually means the oil is getting beat-up possibly from being so new and tight, maybe some tough runs, so why keep it in there, give it new lotion, stop the friction. After the break-in period, you will find you don.t have to change it as often. I still watch the color and change it when it starts to turn (around the dark tan area). After a few hundred hours, I change the oil filter every other time.

On a boat you purchased used, and the engine has some hours on it (no matter how many), I do the same as the new engine. I change the oil with the filter many times to get out any contaminants, metal filings, because I don.t know what was done in the past. All I want to do is make it right. Sometimes the engine oil is so dark that when you change the oil, it is still dark. I would run the engine for awhile, take a quick 15-20 minute trip and change the oil and filter again. If the oil color is still dark (should be lightening up a little), I do the same again, but change the oil only. I do this a few times till it starts looking good. If the oil color does not start getting towards golden, it could be (one of the reasons) from excess fuel getting into the engine oil. We can get into that at another time. (If you require boat engine repair, here you'll find authorized services in your area).

Like the blood in our bodies that lubricate our muscles and carry contaminants to our filters (liver, kidneys), so does engine oil in our engines. It gets pumped around, goes thru a filter and continues to be pumped around lubricating.Lets keep the oil extra clean. Let's change it!

Find Boat Engine oil & Oil changers here, under "Repairs/Maintenance"