“Oops” is a dirty word when it comes to outboard engines, especially if you’ve just made one of these three common but deadly mistakes. You want your boat to run trouble-free for years on end? Of course you do, so make sure to NEVER:
1. Run the engine without a water supply. Some guys figure this is related purely to overheating issues, so they don’t hesitate to run the engine for 10 or 20 seconds while dry. Big mistake. The neoprene impeller in your lower unit requires water for lubrication, and if you send it spinning while dry, there’s a good chance you’ll crack or break the vanes. Then the next time you run the boat, an overheating issue is all but guaranteed.
2. Wrapping fishing line around the prop. How could a strand of 10-pound test kill a 250-horsepower beast? Easily: if you fail to remove every scrap of line, when the prop spins it can pull the line up against the rubber seal. That thin line can then cut into the seal, and allow all of your precious lower unit oil to leak out. Next on the agenda: catastrphic lower unit failure.
3. Late oil changes. In outboards, oil breaks down more quickly and dramatically than it does in automotive applications. Extended idling (think about how much you troll, or putt through slow-speed zones) leads the oil to accumulate fuel in many cases, and this reduced the oil’s viscosity. In cars the higher running temperature tends to boil off any excess fuel – but not so in an outboard. If you’ve ever heard of an outboard “making oil,” (and we’re pretty sure you have) this is one potential reason why. And it leads to engine wear, in the long run. So make sure you change the oil at the recommended intervals and not one or two or five trips later.
Your outboard is more than a motor – it’s your ticket to freedom in your boat. So make sure you avoid these engine errors, and keep your running strong for years to come.