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No matter what kind of motor we’re talking about, maintenance is the key to the longevity of the motor. Whether it’s a car, a lawn mower, or a boat, maintenance is necessary. It’s well known that if you take great care of something, like a boat, it will last significantly longer than if you were to disregard maintenance and care. 

Outboard motors are no exception to this statistic. Caring for your outboard motor is part of owning a boat that is equipped with this type of motor. We’re here to help you understand what that means.  

One great benefit of owning an outboard is that they are significantly easier to service than an inboard or a sterndrive motor. This is because the motor is positioned on the exterior of the boat. Unlike inboard and sterndrive motors that are built into the interior hull of the boat, outboard motors are completely on the outside of the boat.  

Though outboards are easier to work on than other motors, what maintenance is required to keep these motors in great shape? Keep reading or check out the video to learn about the maintenance required to keep your outboard motor running strong and efficiently.  

Break-in Period 

Before you run to your boat and take off at full speed around the lake, check the manual for the engine. All outboard motors, regardless of brand, will recommend a break-in period. This will ensure the longevity of the motor over the years. 

Outboard motor manufacturers recommend breaking your engine in for a certain number of hours. Each manufacturer will have a different set of recommendations and guidelines.  

Ignoring manufacturer recommendations can cause damage to your motor or can reduce the lifetime of the motor. For this reason, make sure you check the manual or contact your local Action Water Sports for information regarding your specific motor.  

Normal Maintenance 

After the break-in period is complete, you’ll be set for smooth sailing. If you still, consider that regular maintenance will be needed. Depending on the motor itself, that will determine when your regular maintenance will be needed.  

Oil Change 

To start, oil changes will be needed every so often. The exact timing is typically determined by the manufacturer of the motor. Though, for the purpose of this article we will focus on Mercury motors. Mercury Motors recommends oil changes every 100 hours, or annually. 

For most families, this can be an annual service. If you live in Michigan, winter is a great time to get this service done. If you’re in the warmer regions, you may want to schedule this at a time when you plan to not use your boat.  


Next, you’ll never want to forget about your batteries. The batteries are the only reason you’re able to start and run your boat. There’s nothing worse than planning a day on the water just to find that your batteries are dead. 

To avoid this scenario, always make sure to turn your battery off at the end of the day. When you get annual service work done on your boat, the batteries will be checked as well. It is recommended that batteries are replaced every 2-5 years. This is completely dependent on the boat and use of the boat.   

A battery is considered “dead” when it reaches a voltage of 11.8 Watts. If your battery is nearing this voltage, be sure to replace your battery before you end up with a dead boat when trying to enjoy a day on the lake. 

Impeller Replacement 

The next thing you’ll need to change every year to two years is the impeller, depending on the use of the boat. The impeller is an important part of the water pump and cooling system for the boat. It ensures the engine is being cooled by pumping water in and out of the motor. 

If your impeller goes bad, your motor is likely to overheat which could lead to serious damage to the engine. One scenario that often leads to a bad impeller is driving a boat in too shallow of water. This will burn the impeller and as a result, it will need to be replaced. If you suspect your impeller needs to be replaced, give your local Action Water Sports a call to get it replaced ASAP.  

Trailer Tires 

Another aspect of routine boat maintenance is your trailer tires. Similar to the tires on your vehicle, it’s important to ensure timely replacement of your trailer tires when necessary. 

Trailer tire manufacturers advise replacing them at least every 7 years as a minimum guideline. However, depending on tread and sidewall wear, you might find it necessary to replace them sooner. 

During your boat’s regular servicing, it’s advisable to have your trailer tires inspected as well. Keeping your trailer tires in excellent condition will contribute to smoother and more enjoyable boating outings. Incorporating this into your routine boat maintenance is well worth it.  

Other Service Maintenance 

Not all services can fall into these categories. Sometimes you will run into unexpected situations and your boat will require special service. Unexpected issues are never fun to deal with, but it’s all part of owning a boat. Lucky for you, we’re here to get you back on the water as quickly as possible. 

A good indication that something isn’t working quite right is when you hear a funky noise or your boat is running like it normally does. When you run into a situation like this, contact your local Action Water Sports. We’ll help you sort through issues, get you back on the water, and enjoy quality time with your friends and family. 

Winterization/Fall Prep 

For those living in Northern regions, winterization and fall prep should be on your radar. This is needed after summer to prepare your boat for the cold winter months. Winterizing your boat ensures that nothing will freeze and ruin your engine over the winter.  

Here at Action Water Sports, we have a set of services included when you sign up for fall service. These include inspection and system updates, freeze protection, upgrades, wash and vacuum, and storage. These processes will make sure your boat is ready for cold months and will be in great shape for relaunching in spring.  

Spring Start-Up 

Similar to winterization, you’ll need to prepare your boat for the upcoming boating season. For those living in warm regions, this is a process you won’t need to worry about. As for those in cooler regions, you’ll need to consider spring start-up services prior to heading out on the water.  

Spring start-up services include inspection, draining anti-freeze, and firing your boat. This will ensure that your boat is ready for the boating season when you pick it up from your local Action Water Sports. If there are any issues that arise over the winter, we will be able to address them and get your boat up and running.  

Other Service and Maintenance 

Outside of regular maintenance and servicing, there are sometimes other processes that need to be checked out and addressed. Whenever you have a question about your boat, you should always contact your local Action Water Sports. 

Our expert technicians will be able to help find a solution to the issues your boat is having. They will get you back on the water in no time. We want you to enjoy your boat as much as possible, so our team works hard to keep you on the water. 

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