QUICK GUIDE TO MAINTAINING YOUR OUTBOARD MOTOR
A little TLC goes a long way when it comes to owning an outboard motor. At the very least, you should get your motor checked over at the beginning of every season by a professional mechanic. Nevertheless, keeping good maintenance habits that will save you money on repairs in the long run. Here are a few pointers to help you maintain your outboard motor to keep it going strong and keep you out on the water for years to come.
CHECKING THE COWL
The cowl is the watertight plastic covering that protects your motor components from the spray. You will find a rubber seal and compression latches to prevent water sneaking in. Check these parts periodically to ensure there is no water making its way into the motor. Also, make sure nothing is building up and obstructing the grilled intakes that suck air in and help to remove water droplets that might have got inside the cowl.
FLUSH OUT THE ENGINE AFTER EVERY TIME OUT ON THE WATER
A common misconception is that you only need to flush out your engine after saltwater excursions. In reality, you should flush out your engine after every trip. Startup your engine, and the water pump will flush it out on its own. All you need to do is check the outflow. It should have good flow without obstruction and be slightly warm. If the water coming out is boiling, it could be indicative of a more significant issue.
Once you have flushed the engine (it should take around 10 minutes), disconnect the fuel line. Leave the engine running to burn off all the fuel in the carburettor. Once you have burnt it off, wipe the cowl down and switch everything off.
MONITOR FUEL CONSUMPTION
One of the earliest indicators that you might need to change your spark plugs is a rapid increase in fuel consumption. If you notice a change, take your spark plugs out and put them into a spark plug tester.
When I replace a spark plug, I always replace the plug wire as well. These often have a shorter life than the plug itself. You don’t want any burning out while you are out on the water.
If you own a two-stroke engine, you will need to fill the oil reservoir regularly. Two-stroke engines tend to blow up very fast without enough oil in the fuel mix.
With four-stroke engines, you will need to get the valves adjusted to keep it running at maximum efficiency. You will find the necessary information on how often your engine needs adjustments in the owner’s manual.
Check the fuel line for cracks, worn areas, and abrasions regularly. Also, make sure the fittings don’t leak, and the fuel tank is not corroding.
If you outboard uses a mechanical throttle cable connecting the helm to the powerhead, make sure you regularly inspect and lubricate. You will soon notice the throttle becoming tacky and balky if it is not regularly maintained. Your owner’s manual should have all the relevant information on maintaining your throttle cable.
Your boat is like anything else, the more you look after it, the less expensive it is in the long run. If you spend a little time at the end of each trip and carry out the necessary checks at the beginning of each season, you will save on the cost of repairs.
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