Preseason Outboard Maintenance

Seaswirl 2301

50 percent of engine problems could be avoided by annual preventative maintenance on your outboard.

In early May, I asked my buddy Lee if he had launched his 2005 24 foot Seaswirl with its 250 hp Yamaha outboard yet.

“Not yet,” said Lee. “I’m bringing it in to have the engine serviced this weekend, then weather permitting, it’ll go in next week. I don’t want to have any problems once the season starts.”

I’m pleased and surprised by this reasonable approach to preventive maintenance, since I’ve known Lee for over twenty years and always thought he was rough on his vehicles.

So I asked him what the service entailed.

“They change the oil, fuel filter, and spark plugs, and every two years they swap out the water pump,” said Lee. “They go through it with the computer diagnostic, check the throttle and shift cables, and lube and grease everything. Why are you so  interested?”

I confessed: I wanted to write about it.  And since I have always been a proponent of preventive maintenance, I was wondering what the Yamaha authorized service covered and how much it cost.

“It’s a couple hundred bucks, but I can tell you it costs a lot less than one tow service would,” Lee said.Yamaha outboard

I believe him, since I know he had to use a tow service when he went aground and ripped the lower unit off the engine last season… but that’s another story.

I think Lee is on the right track, and that having preseason preventative service by an authorized service tech on your outboard is good advice. It should give him peace of mind, the confidence to push his boat during many offshore fishing trips, and a season of uninterrupted, hassle-free use – that’s worth every penny.