Boats are designed to operate in one of the harshest environments possible: the ocean. A marine environment combines a whole range of things that can cause issues in a motor, including saltwater. Because of this, boats require a little extra care, such as frequent servicing and thorough cleaning.
Yet even with this, outboards can still fail. So how can you tell when it is time for a service? There are a few things that indicate issues with your motor. If you are experiencing any of the following, then you need to get your boat serviced.
#1 You’re Having Trouble Getting it Started
The most obvious indicator that your boat needs a service is when you’re having trouble starting it. Every boatie has been in this position. If you go down to the boat ramp on a Saturday morning, then chances are you’ll see it firsthand. There are many possible causes for engine failure of this nature. Some of them are as simple as a dirty node on your battery. However other times, it can be more complicated. Spark plugs, starter motors, dirty fuel, and many more can all contribute to this problem. Of course, you should always check and make sure the kill switch is in before you panic!
#2 It’s Blowing a Lot of Smoke
Different outboard generate differing degrees of exhaust. Some older two-stroke engines create what almost resembles a plume of blue smoke, while newer four stroke models create almost none. Knowing your outboard is vital when it comes to identifying issues like this. If your outboard is blowing more smoke than usual, then it probably has a problem. A lot of the time, this can come down to oil leaks or an overly rich mix of fuel and oil. The only way to get it diagnosed definitively is with a service.
#3 The Water Intake is Not Working
The water intake of your outboard is a simple yet vitally important component. Without a functional water intake, your motor could sustain irreparable damage. Fortunately, it is very easy to tell when it is not working. Simply look at the engines while it is running and make sure that there is a steady stream of water being expelled from the engine. Water intakes rely on an impeller.
This is a small rubber component that is positioned in an offset way. Without the impeller, the water pump will fail. Because it is offset and rubber, the impeller can fail easily. If you leave your boat for a long time without turning the engine over, the impeller will almost certainly deteriorate. A good service is important to prevent this from happening.
#4 There is Rust on the Outboard
Rust is a tell tale sign that your outboard motor needs some attention. Rusty components simply cannot work. They are also likely to get worse. If you see rust on any part of your outboard, then you should get it serviced promptly. The longer you leave, the more effort will be required to remove the part. Sometimes, rusty parts can seize altogether, causing serious damage.
#5 It’s Struggling to Plane
If your boat is finding it hard to get on a plane, then you might have power issues. This can be caused by a number of things. It could be an issue with your cylinders, fuel injection system, or any number of other things. If this is an issue that you are having, then you should try and get it fixed quickly. You simply can’t rely on an outboard that is exhibiting these types of issue, and out at sea reliability is everything. A good service will uncover the cause of your issues and restore your engine to its full capacity.