What Should You Do Before Starting An Inboard Gasoline Engine?

Are you getting ready to take your powerboat for a spin on the water? If so, there are a few things you should do before you start your inboard gasoline engine. Of course, your inboard gasoline engine is very similar to, say, your car engine, but there are also some key differences which is why you can’t just start up like you would your car. If you’re unsure of what to do before starting an inboard gasoline engine, this blog has got you covered: we’ll go over what to do, how to do it, and all the ins, outs, and benefits of an inboard gasoline engine on your boat.




What Makes an Inboard Gasoline Engine Different?

Your boat’s inboard gasoline engine can have between 90 Horsepower and 1000 horsepower depending on the engine. Clearly a powerful motor, an inboard gasoline engine usually has a drive that runs through the bottom of your boat to the propeller to help move it forward. There is often a separate rudder used for steering and the transmission used to transfer power from the engine directly to the propeller. Due to the power of the inboard engine, most are used for boats that are used in “tow sports,” that is, water skiing, wakeboarding and the like. In short, an inboard gasoline engine is the perfect fuel source for all your fun spring and summer watersports.


What To Do Before You Start Your Inboard Gasoline Engine

As inboard gasoline engines mostly assist boats with “tow sports” and the like, it makes sense that this motor is typically used during the warmer months. With this in mind, you can assume that your boat and its engine have been sitting for a while, whether in winter storage or just for a few months at a time when water-play is not so easily accessible. Hopefully you have winterized your engine (inboard and/or outboard!) before the offseason, but this will still require you to perform some simple steps before starting up your inboard engine. If you inboard engine has been sitting a while, you need to take specific and careful steps before starting it up. Inboard gasoline engines tend to be rather delicate due to their more complex systems. When you start your engine correctly, you can avoid permanent damage to the engine from a poor, or “cold” start, as well as ensure the engine lasts a long time. So, what should you do before starting an inboard gasoline engine? Check out the following, step by step:

Let the Engine Air Out

To start, you should remove the engine cover completely. Allow the engine to “air out” by doing this. Be wary of gasoline leaks or fumes that may occur due to damage during storage related to weather or other circumstances. If you find any minor leaks, be sure to tighten fittings so that the motor itself is solid and air tight. If you inboard gasoline engine has ventilation blowers, be sure to let them run for a few minutes. This helps to remove all fumes from the engine area and finishes up the “airing out” procedure.

Change the Fuel Filter/Water Separator

To ensure that clean fuel is always running to your engine, you boat likely has a fuel filter or fuel water separator. Part of getting your inboard engine ready to start is checking and changing your engine’s fuel filter and/or water separator. Marine fuel filters and water separators are often made from plastic or aluminum because it helps draw water from the boat fuel, thus protecting the motor from water getting inside of it. If water were to get in your engine, it could lead to serious problems that could lead to damaged boat cylinders and a kaput motor all together. To learn how to change your boat engine’s fuel filter and/or water separator, go here and here. For a helpful visual, check this out.

Change the Engine Oil

Once you have aired out the engine and changed the fuel filter and/or water separator, you must change the engine’s oil. Again, if your boat has been sitting around during winter storage or just because you haven’t been on the water for a few weeks, the oil will need to be changed. Most experts suggest that engine oil and fuel filters are changed every 100 hours, or every season. If this step is overlooked, it could lead to serious problems with the engine and how well you boat runs overall. To change the oil in your engine, follow these easy and detailed steps.

Change the Oil Filter

Part of changing your engine’s oil is changing the engine oil filter. This part is important for ensuring that your boat is running well at times. A good rule of thumb is to change the oil filter at the same time you change the oil itself because, like the oil, it needs to be changed every 100 hours or every season. For this step, you’ll need a strap wrench to help you change the filter itself. To learn how to change the oil filter successfully, go here.

Recharge the Battery

Now that your oil and oil filter are changed, you can move on to charging your boat’s batter. Charging a marine battery is quick, painless, and easy to do. Of course, there are certain drawbacks to be aware of when charging your marine battery that could lead to damage of the battery, but you can easily avoid those with proper research and study. Since we’re talking about marine batteries, your battery likely uses AGM, or Absorbent Glass Mat Technology, that requires little to no long term maintenance. Such batteries are able to reach a full charge quickly and hold it. To learn how to charge your boat battery, as well as the issues that could lead to serious battery damage, go here and here.



Refuel Your Boat

Refueling a boat is a standard but dangerous procedure. There are a number of things that can go wrong if you aren’t careful, which could lead to damage of the boat as well as harm to yourself and your passengers. When refueling your boat, remember that safety always comes first. Some safety tips include putting out all smoking materials before you start, securing your boat to the dock, and clearing the refueling area of those not directly involved with the refueling process. To learn how to refuel your boat and more safety tips, go here and here. For an extra visual, check this out.

Check the Cooling System

Proper boat maintenance includes checking your boat’s cooling system before you start up your inboard gasoline engine. To understand how inboard engine cooling systems work and to provide them with the right kind of care, check out this piece.

You’re Good to Go!

The bottom line is that all aspects of your boat need proper maintenance before you start up your inboard gasoline engine. Once you have taken care to follow all of these steps, you can finally start up your inboard gasoline engine and get your boat out on the water!

Benefits of an Inboard Gasoline Engine

Overall, your inboard gasoline engine comes with a few benefits that make it the right engine for your boating needs. Some of these include:

  • Low Running Costs
  • A Quiet Running Engine that is Largely Out of the Way
  • Simple Drive System
  • Low Maintenance with Great Results



With these useful benefits, you can enjoy all the great things about your boat without having to worry about high costs, extensive maintenance and overly complex systems.


Now that you’re ready to go, enjoy your time on the water!