When’s the last time you had your oil Analyzed?
The answer for most people is the same, “not since I bought the boat”. It is generally not done or even discussed until the time of purchase or sale, but should it be? In the world of used boats, we as brokers see oil samples every week and in recent years we are seeing an uptick in samples coming back with yellow or red flags. These results reveal if some given metal, mineral or water is present in your oil and at what level. There are several factors when considering these results. How long has it been since the last oil change? How new are the motors (not uncommon to see elevated numbers during the engine break-in period), were the samples drawn correctly (oil should be hot/run prior to sampling and should not be drawn from the bottom of the pan) and finally, were there any errors at the lab? Nothing can be done about the last one but understanding what’s going on with your motors including wear patterns are important factors in keeping your motors operating at their peak and ensuring long-lasting enjoyment.
Don’t forget about your transmissions and Drives!
This year our team has run into several situations where it is apparent the oil in the transmissions or the outdrives have not been changed in a very long time. For those with outdrives in saltwater, the boat should be hauled at least every 18 months (12 is even better) for a full service of the drives. While this is not an inexpensive routine, it is a fraction of the cost of new or rebuilt drives due to lack of maintenance. There are a lot of moving parts exposed and unless you are hauling and servicing the boat regularly, you are asking for huge repair bills. Transmissions are often neglected, and we’ve seen sales interrupted due to issues with transmission oil analysis. Generally speaking, we are not finding anything wrong with the with the transmissions themselves, rather the oil has not been changed in so long the results become skewed. Do yourself a favor and when you have your engine oil changed, have them change the transmission oil as well (at least every other time)
The old saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is right-on. A little precaution before a crisis occurs is preferable to a lot of fixing up afterward