For the first couple years I owned a boat, to get ready for the winter I would take the motor off (9.9HP), carry it in to the marina and leave. I’d then head to my fathers, flip the boat over on some home made a frames, with the trailer tucked under, and not think about it until the weather warmed. Come spring time, I’d reverse the process, and always be so pleased when the engine started within the first 1/2 dozen pulls. With the new boat, including a much bigger motor, more electronics, and more money at stake, I now have my motor serviced and winterized by my dealer, who also stores / wraps the boat. I know a number of my buddies who do this process themselves, in fact they enjoy it. It got me thinking, should I consider doing it all myself and save some money, or should I keep going to a professional. I don’t think there is a right answer, everyone’s situation is different, including their comfort working with engines, but it caused me to ask my dealer, “what would you say to someone who asked if it was worth it to hire a professional?”.
“First off the climate that we live in you want to make sure that you properly winterize your engine. With the sub zero temperatures will freeze any water that is left in the engine and cause unnecessary damage. The proper steps include draining all water from the engine, then fogging the cylinders. You fog the cylinders so there is no chance of rust running through your engine. In the yearly maintenance on a 4 stroke engine like yours, you always want to change the gear oil and the actual engine oil. This is just like changing the oil in your vehicle. You want to make sure that the oil is fresh and clean for the following season to keep your engine running at its best.
Dealing with a professional has lots of different advantages. Doing it yourself you may be able to get the maintenance done but, you may be less aware of any other issues that should be looked after. When a technician does scheduled maintenance on an engine he runs then engine and if there is any other cause for concern he is there to diagnose and make any necessary repairs. If you have a newer engine you often have a warranty with it. With using a licensed technician instead of doing it yourself you are making sure that there is no warranty exemption because you did it yourself and may have forgot a step that voids the warranty. Dealers are also updated on any recalls. This may be as small as changing a wiring connection but this all looked at when the engine is in the shop.
These are just a few points. Of course there are many others but, if I were in a consumer role I would consider the above points. I take my truck to a trusted mechanic for a reason. I am more than capable of changing oil or doing the brakes but he is able to a complete inspection of the truck while it is in the shop. Another thing is I just don’t have the time for what he charges me. Often costs of taking it to a professional can be lower than what you expect because they are very efficient at what they do.” Ryan Scharringa *
Ryan made some great points. I work in an industry where there are professionals, and those who are not so professional, and we constantly compete on being full service, value added. I pay a fair price to have a professional inspect, service and winterize my boat and motor. The real value of that service comes each spring. This year is was on April 17th, when I hooked up the boat, loaded the truck with the family and headed to Orillia to participate in the Orillia Perch Festival. The boat launches were busy, so we rushed to get the boat in the water and moved it out of the way by hand. I headed quite a ways to find a place to park the truck trailer. I returned, we all put on our PFDs, and I inserted the key. What happened next was worth every penny as the engine turned over on the first try, and it purred. We had another trouble free day on the water, our first of many for this season.