In order to keep your marine motor running smoothly and efficiently, it’s essential to perform a full-scale tune up at least once a year. This guide to annual tune ups is not intended to be an absolute authority on how to do your maintenance work but rather as a series of suggestions. As previously discussed, each individual outboard comes with a specialized maintenance schedule courtesy of the manufacturer. Adhere to that schedule first and foremost.
Just as you would with your daily or weekly maintenance routine, begin this one with a visual inspection – and not just a simple once-over, either. By scoping out potential motor issues and stumbling blocks ahead of time, you ensure that repairs can be made in a timely manner. Turn the motor off before commencing the inspection. Then remove the cowling so that the power head is visible.
Scanning from the propeller upward, check the motor’s vicinity for signs of leakage. If your boat has been in storage for any significant period of time, it’s possible that a leak exists without any visual clues; for example, the leaking fluids may have drained out of the motor and evaporated over that extended time. Remember that a bit of oil around the propeller and on the side of the gear housing is normal. Anything more than that – e.g. a large, dark slick of Evinrude oil running down the propeller, it could be time to consult a professional mechanic.
We’ll continue our visual inspection and begin to get our hands dirty in the next installment.