Outboard Motor Care

Regular maintenance will keep your motor running well for years to come. The following are general guidelines. Be sure to check your owner’s manual for manufacturer’s recommendations/procedures particular to your boat.


  • Flush out engine (applies to both fresh and salt water boating)
    • Slip “rabbit ears,” (two flexible rubber seals connected with a clamp), onto water intake and attach a garden hose
    • Start engine and let water pump do the rest
  • While flushing motor, check water pump flow
    • Feel water stream with your finger; it may be warm but should not be hot
    • If output is weak, shut down engine to prevent overheating/damage
    • Check outflow tube for debris; insert wire and work it back and forth
    • Restart engine/recheck output; if still weak, water pump may need to be replaced
  • After flushing, disconnect fuel line and allow engine to burn all the fuel in the carburetor
  • Turn off key and battery switch (if you have one)
  • Remove engine cowling; check for fuel or water leaks (Consult mechanic if you find any leaks)
  • Wipe motor down and spray with an anti-corrosive like WD-40 or Quick-Lube
  • Replace cowling and wipe down. Cover motor with a canvas or plastic cover
  • Always use fresh fuel; End-of-season maintenance should include draining your tanks and proper disposal of fuel


  • Check fuel line for cracks and worn spots periodically
  • Inspect fuel primer bulb for cracks; make sure it is pliable
  • Ensure fuel line fittings seat properly and don’t leak
  • Inspect clamps on the fuel line for rust or corrosion
  • Check the tank vent to make sure it aspirates properly
  • Regularly check for water in the fuel