Preparing your plane for winter

Winter will be here sooner than you think and for pilots in Northern latitudes, it may already be here. Hence, a General Aviation News article by Ben Visser, a pilot and aviation fuels and lubricants expert who spent 33 years with Shell Oil, is well worth reading as he provided a few fuels and lubes related tips for getting your aircraft ready for the winter. 

Since Ben is an aviation fuel expert, he began by writing that it’s a big mistake to assume that can just put your plane away and change the oil in the spring time. He then pointed out that small amounts of fuel and combustion by products will get pass the rings and into the oil, increasing the chances of corrosion and rust when moisture enters the engine due to rising and falling winter temperatures.

Hence and if you do not plan on doing much or any winter flying, Ben wrote that you should change the oil before you put your aircraft away. He also suggested that you add one quart of preservative oil during the oil change and then do a short flight (if possible) to make sure that all engine parts are supplied with the new oil.

On the other hand and if you live in more southerly latitudes or if you will be using your aircraft during the winter, sticking with your normal every four months oil change should be just fine.

Ben then pointed out that on the fuel side, there is not much you need to do – unless you are using a fuel that contains ethanol which can absorb water and become corrosive. In that case, he suggested completely draining the fuel.

Finally, Ben warned that you will need to be careful if you use a power wash on your aircraft. Specifically, he warned not to get the power wash near any bearings on your aircraft as water can get inside and then freeze and thaw all winter long – causing harm the bearing and/or the seal. Otherwise, there is no other problem with getting your aircraft nice and clean for the spring flying season.

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