Avoid Boat Engine Repair with These Critical Maintenance Tips

Avoid Boat Engine Repair with These Critical Maintenance Tips

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Four out of five new powerboats sold have an outboard engine. If you just bought a new boat, there are a few key maintenance tasks you can do to prolong the life of your boat and engine. By neglecting your engine, you’re setting yourself up for a costly boat repair.

Keep reading to learn about these critical regular maintenance tips for your boat engine.

Outboard Boat Engine Repair

Outboard boat engines are the most popular type of engines on boats. They range in size from 60 horsepower all the way up to 550 horsepower. A full range of boats have outboards, from small flats boats to 40-foot offshore fishing boats.

Regular boat engine repair involves basic maintenance, including protecting, cleaning, and oil changes.


The cowl is the plastic cover that goes over your engine. The purpose is to keep water out of your engine. Periodically, check the rubber seal around the base.

This basic check will ensure water stays out of the engine. Saltwater in your engine can cause corrosion.


Changing the oil is one of the most important things you can do for regular boat engine repair. Just like your car, your boat engine uses oil to function efficiently.

Two stroke engines use oil injection. Check the oil reservoir and add oil as needed. Periodically clean the filter screen if needed.

Four stroke engines use oil and oil filters that you need to change regularly. You’ll also need to adjust the valves to maintain efficiency.


You took your boat out for a fun day on the water. Now you’re back at the dock rinsing everything off. Don’t stop at rinsing the boat.

Take a few minutes to flush the motor of salt water. Most boat engines have special ports for you to attach a garden hose. The purpose is to rinse the internal cooling spaces with fresh water without ruining the engine.

The other common method of flushing involves running the engine on idle. You attach a garden hose and run fresh water through the engine to flush away any salt that remains.

Salt is the enemy of a well-running motor. It’ll corrode the metal and cause moving parts to seize.

Throttle and Shift

The majority of boats today have digital throttle and shift systems. However, there are still many boats that use a cable system.

If your boat uses the cable system, you’ll need to check the cables and periodically lubricate them. Pay close attention to the connections of the cable located in the control box and the engine.

Fuel Additive

Boat engines today are designed to use gas with less than 10 percent ethanol, known as E10 gas. Many boat owners choose to use ethanol free gas.

Ethanol free gas can be expensive though. Another solution is to use an additive with E10 gas.

Additives prevent the separation of the gas and water in the engine. By preventing separation, it stops water from building up in your engine.

In conjunction with an additive, regularly change the filter every 50 hours to catch any particles and keep them from getting into the engine.

Know When to See a Professional

It’s important to know when it’s necessary to bring your engine to a professional. If you see blue smoke or the engine is struggling to start, it’s time to bring your engine in for service and repair.

Can’t bring your boat to us for boat engine repair? No problem. Schedule dockside service today.

Orange County Dockside Service is based in Newport Beach, CA and serves the Orange and Los Angeles Counties from Dana Point to Marina Del Rey. We specialize in mechanical repair, topside maintenance, fiberglass repair and restoration, bottom cleaning and antifouling, electronics installations, rigging, and much more.