Engine Maintenance

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Regular engine maintenance is essential to ensuring your engine will provide you with years of trouble-free operation. Mercury Authorised Dealers have the expertise and training to handle all of your engine maintenance service and needs.

Marine engines can often be used for extended periods at wide open throttle (up to 6000rpm on some models) in harsh salt water and sun, then sit in storage over winter for up to 6 or 7 months without any use.

Sometimes, infrequent use may not alert you to minor maintenance requirements that could eventually lead to starting or reliability problems right in the middle of your valuable recreational boating time.

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Problems like a minor oil leak or fuel system contamination can lead to expensive repairs if not attended to in a timely manner.  That's why it's important to have your engine inspected and serviced at an authorised dealer at least once a year - even if you haven't reached 100 hours.  It does not mean that the normal service and maintenance items are only designed to last 12  months, it means that your authorised dealer can attend to any tune-up, service or warranty issues to ensure you get maximum pleasure and carefree running out of your engine.

Mercury Engine Care Poster - For all your engine care requirements

Recommended Service Intervals for Your Engine

It is important to follow a regular service interval period (eg once every 12 mths) because in many cases you may clock up less than 100hrs of running during a year.  Most engines (cars, boats, lawn mowers, etc) are designed to be used regularly and many mechanical components will begin to deteriorate with lack of use.

To ensure your confidence in the reliability and durability of your engine, much of the recommended maintenance is designed to be preventative - instead of waiting for components to be worn out or close to failing, it makes much more sense to ensure your engine starts and runs reliably when you're ready to go boating.

The months/hours specified for service intervals are in relation to the engine purchase date and are recommended for:

3 mths (from Purchase Date)or 20 hrs

12 mths(from Purchase Date) or 100 hrs

2 yrs (from Purchase Date)or 200 hrs

3 yrs(from Purchase Date)or 300 hrs

4 yrs (from Purchase Date)or 400 hrs

5 yrs(from Purchase Date)or 500 hrs

Service intervals

Before Each Use

  • Check engine oil level
  • Check lanyard stop switch stops the engine
  • Visually inspect the fuel system for deterioration or leaks
  • Check outboard for tightness on transom
  • Check steering system for binding or loose components
  • Check propeller blades for damage

After Each Use

Flush the internal water passages of your outboard with fresh water after each use in salt, polluted or muddy water.  This will help prevent a build up of deposits from clogging the internal water passages

IMPORTANT:  The engine must be run during flushing in order to open the thermostat and circulate water through the water passages

  • Place the outboard in either the operating position (vertical) or in a tilted position
  • Remove propeller
  • Thread water hose into the rear fitting.  Partially open the water tap (1/2 maximum).  Do not open the water tap all the way as this allows a high pressure flow of water

IMPORTANT:  Do not run engine above idle when flushing

  • Shift outboard into neutral.  Start the engine and flush the cooling system for at least 5 minutes.  Keep engine speed at idle
  • Stop the engine.  Turm off the water and remove the hose.  Reinstall the propeller

Replacement logbooks are available from your Authorised Mercury Dealer

Outboard Service Logbook

MerCruiser Service Logbook


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