Quick Service Tips
Quick Service Tips
For a boating newcomer, your first time out on the water can be nerve wracking. With the weather getting warm and the public boat ramps starting to get busier each weekend, a novice boater may feel rushed while launching a boat the first couple trips out. The questions and tips below may help with the learning curve of a new boater!
Common Boat Launch Issues
Q: I'm getting ready to head to the boat launch for the first time pulling my new boat. Is there anything that I am forgetting?
A: Getting to the boat launch safely is half the battle in having a great enjoyable day on the water. Here are some suggestions from our friends at boats.com on safe trailering!
Q: My engine does not crank over/start, any ideas?
A: There are a couple things that may cause an engine not to crank over. The first issue may be a battery switch in the "OFF" position, if the boat is equipped with one. A second cause may be a gear shift that is not in the "Neutral" position. The third most common issues could be a dead battery, causing the motor to not turn over.
Q: There is an alarm going sounding, what should I look for?
A: The first thing to do would see if it is a motor alarm, or if it is a boat alarm. If your boat is equipped with a depth finder, make sure that the depth finder is not sounding an alarm saying that you are in too shallow of water. If that is the alarm, shut the depth finder "OFF", or wait till you get into deeper water, and the alarm will quite. If the alarm is sounding on the motor, then we must look at the possible causes here. If you have a Mercury inboard/outboard motor, then the gear oil lube monitor back on the engine may be low. This will cause the "low oil alarm" to sound off, even with the key on, engine off. If there is low or no oil pressure, the warning alarm will sound with the motor running. If your motor has been running for some time, then the motor could be overheating and the overheat alarm could be going off. Make sure that your motor is pumping water, the overheat alarm could be the cause for the alarm.
Q: There is water coming in by boat, why is my boat sinking?
A: Every boat has made the mistake of forgetting to install the drain plug prior to launching the boat, it is a right of passage! Make sure that you installed the main drain plug in your boat before launching! If the drain plug is in and the boat is a stern drive, the possible cause could be from a hose, transom or engine leak. If the engine was not properly winterized, the water leak could be coming from a crack in the engine block and/or manifolds.
Q: Are there any trips or tricks for launching and pulling my boat out at the boat ramp?
A: With the crazy busy atmosphere at the public boat ramp, here are a couple tips for helping make your experience at the boat ramp an stress-free experience!
Common Service Questions
Q: When should I change the oils on my motor?
A: We suggest that all engine, transmission and gear oils be changed at the end of the boating season annually. The best time to change the oils is during your winterization of your boat. The oils should be drained and examined for any moisture, debris and quality. This is the perfect time to address any issues seen throughout the off-season. Lubricants naturally accumulate moisture, combustion by-products and other contaminants during use. You need to service your boat, just as you would service your vehicle. In the spring, the motor is ready for use without having the hassle of servicing your motor.
Q: Since my oil change is due on my outboard, is it something I can do myself?
A: Changing the engine oil on your outboard is somewhat similar to changing the oil on your car. You need to drain all the oil out and replace the oil filter. Then the motor needs to be refilled with fresh engine oil and checked for leaks. Below is a video that may help you with the service.
Q: Since I was able to change my engine oil, how do I change my gear oil on my outboard?
A: Changing the gear oil is generally easier than changing your engine oil. You again will drain the gear oil out of the motor, replace your drain plug seals and refill your lower unit with fresh gear oil. Always refer to your owner's manual for your specific model motor. Below is another short video of how to change your lower unit oil.
Q: I like to boat into the late fall season, when do I need to winterize my motor by?
A: The boating season is short and we encourage our customer's to use their boats as much as possible. Outboard motors are for the most part, self draining and will not "free and crack" like stern drive motors. If it is late in the boating season, we suggest that you pull your boat up out of the boat ramp and then "trim" the motor down, to allow all the water to drain out of the engine. Tilting the motor to the full down position, helps allow all the trapped water to escape out of the power head and cooling passages throughout the motor. Stern drive (inboard/outboard) motors, as well as regular inboard motors and personal watercraft (PWCs), need to be winterized prior to the first freeze of the season. In our area, this is generally the case before the last week of October. If temperatures dip below freezing for more than 24 hours, then this is when serious damage can be caused to your engine. Be proactive, get your motor winterized before the freezing temperatures cost you money!
Q: Should my outboard or stern drive be stored in the up or down position?
A: We suggest that you store your outboard or stern drive in the full down position during storage. Storing a stern drive in the "up" position may cause the rubber bellows in the transom area to become permanently deformed and fail prematurely. By storing the outboards in the down position, it is easier on the hydraulics of the trim unit on the motor, as well as allowing any trapped water to drain freely through the motor.
Q: Do I have to have an authorized Suzuki dealer perform the service on my motor to have it covered under warranty?
A: You do not need to have a Suzuki dealer perform the warranty on your motor in order to keep it compliant for warranty. However, it is suggested that you do keep all the receipts for all the parts that you installed on your motor during routine maintenance. It is also suggested that you keep a maintenance record of when you performed the services. We also suggest that you use OEM maintenance replacement parts.
Q: How often do I have to service my Evinrude E-TEC?
A: Evinrude E-TEC is the outboard that has the longest maintenance intervals in the marine industry. The Generation I E-TEC only needs to have the engine fully serviced every 3 years, or 300 hours, whichever comes first. The new Gen II E-TEC motors have a service interval of 5 years, or 500 hours, whichever comes first. At that time, each generation needs to have a completely factory recommended maintenance. We do suggest that each motor have the gear oil inspected for any water intrusion, to prevent any freeze damage by water that could have entered the gear case.
Q: How do I perform the Auto-Winterization feature on my Evinrude E-TEC?
A: The E-TEC winterization proceed is literally "as easy as it gets!" This is one of the many advantages of a new Evinrude E-TEC. Watch the video below and find out that it's as easy as 1, 2, 3!
Q: My new Suzuki outboard has an oil pressure light flashing, it only has about 20 hours on it, what is going on?
A: Suzuki outboards have a built in maintenance reminder. This oil pressure light will come on at 20 hours, as well as every 100 hours during the life of the outboard. Check out the video below to clear the code for the maintenance reminder, but remember it's time to service your motor at this time! If for some reason the light does not go out after clearing the code, you might have more going on that just a maintenance reminder and it's time to get it checked out!
Q: What fuel should I use in my boat?
A: The majority of the motors on the market today, require regular 87 octane fuel. Today's fuel quality is questionable at best and it starts to deteriorate the moment you get it. It is highly recommended that you run a good quality fuel stabilizer, an example would be STA-BIL Marine by Gold Eagle. In addition, if you can find ethanol-free gasoline, this will help prevent any issues that may arise from the devastating effects of ethanol.
Q: Since I trailer my boat everywhere I go, what do I have to do to help prevent an issue on the road?
A: We suggest annual maintenance on all trailers to help prevent a costly and possibly dangerous breakdown on the side of the road. It is no fun sitting on the side of a busy highway waiting for a tow truck to pick up your boat and trailer. Wheel bearings and trailer lights are something that should never be overlooked and a vital part of providing a safe boating experience. Below is a short video of some suggestions to keep you safe on the road!
Q: I hit something in the lake and now I need to replace my prop, do I need to bring the boat in to replace it?
A: Changing a propeller is easier than you think. It is a simple procedure that you can probably handle in a couple minutes. Take a look at the video below on what to do!
*** The above questions and answers are suggests that are acquired from factory recommended service procedures supplied from the manufacturers in which we sell product for. and/or represent These are only suggestions and each motor may require it's own maintenance practices. If for any reason you are not comfortable performing your own maintenance, feel free to drop your boat, motor or trailer off and schedule to have it done by one of our factory certified technicians!