Boating Tips

Outboard care: Keep your outboard ticking over like clockwork

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Regular outboard maintenance is important, allowing you many years of hassle-free boating. If tinkering with your outboard motor is not for you, then farm the maintenance out to a dealer who can undertake the more diffcult tasks such as checking important seals, servicing and pressure testing. The simple maintenance tasks you can take care of yourself. Let’s look at what you can do with relative ease.


It is imperative to flush your outboard motor after each outing, even when used in fresh water. Place flush muffs over the intake holes and flush out by connecting a hosepipe. Make sure there is good water flow when flushing. The water being released during the flushing process will get warm but should not get excessively hot. If the water is getting very hot, it might mean that there is a blockage somewhere in the outflow tubes or it might mean that the water pump needs replacement. A piece of wire can be poked down the outflow tube to dislodge any debris that might have got stuck, preventing the proper outflow that is required. With the debris removed, cooling will immediately improve.

Keep your outboard ticking over like clockwork
Keep your outboard ticking over like clockwork


Open up the engine cowling and do a thorough inspection for any water or fuel leaks. If any leaks are detected, your servicing dealer should sort out the problem. Using an anti-corrosion spray to protect your engine from moisture buildup is important and lubricating moving parts to reduce friction is equally important.


Check your fuel lines for cracking and wear as fuel lines can become brittle over time with constant exposure to the sun. Also check the primer bulb as this can also become brittle and start cracking. Check the fuel line clamps for corrosion and replace any clamps that are showing rust and wear.

Invictus 240 CX 151
Invictus 240 CX 151


Boat motors typically need an oil change every 100 hours. Replacing the oil regularly in an outboard motor reduces the buildup of micro abrasive particles that cause wear to the engine components. The longer you leave dirty oil in the motor, the more damage it will do, so sticking to regular oil changes will definitely extend the life of your outboard. If you are technically minded, you can change the oil yourself.. However, if the outboard is still within its manufacturer’s warranty period, then oil changes must be left up to an authorised servicing agent.


Check all belts, cables and pulley bearings, for wear, cracking and excessive bearing noise. Belts should fit snugly on their pulley bearings. If the belt shows signs of being too loose, it should be tightened. If cable casings are showing signs of swelling, this might indicate underlying rust problems which are beginning to attack the cable itself.



Regular propeller inspection should be undertaken to check for dents, dings, nicks and tears. This type of damage will impact negatively on the fuel efficiency of the motor. Damaged propellers tend to vibrate and place added stress on the bearings and seals. If there is damage to the propeller, take it to your propeller specialist for repair.

The motor is an integral and important part of the boat and needs to be looked after with constant, regular maintenance for it to perform at its best, ensuring a hiccup-free journey on your future boating adventures.


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