Maintenance Matters: Outboard Operator Inspection and Service Overview

May 25, 2020
Welcome to our first installation of the Maintenance Matters series on our new My Yamaha blog! This series will offer maintenance tips for all your Yamaha products, from snowblowers to sport boats! If you have article ideas or questions for our experts, please email us at 

Waking your Yamaha outboard in the spring is a relatively easy process, provided you followed the correct storage procedures last fall when the weather turned cold. Did you complete all the steps below during winterization? If not, perform these tasks now, well before you put your boat in the water – and remember this for next winter!
  • Flush engine with fresh water and spray exterior with a corrosion inhibitor
  • Change engine and gear oil
  • Treat fuel with Yamaha Fuel Stabilizer/Conditioner + (to help preserve fuel and protect fuel system components)
  • Drain VST or carburetor (where applicable)
  • Grease lubrication points (as per manual)
  • Grease propeller shaft and torque nut to specification 

Fouled water intakes will result in overheating and damage. Keep lower units clean. 

Of course, your owner’s manual is always the best resource for a full list of recommendations that applies to your particular motor. You can also visit your authorized Yamaha dealer to take care of winterization for added peace of mind. Either way, it’s highly recommended that you perform these tasks PRIOR to storage in order to ensure you protect your investment.  

You’re not quite ready for the water yet. There are a few more tasks to complete before you splash for the season: 
  • Fully charge battery
  • Top up tank with fresh fuel 
  • Use primer bulb to get fresh fuel to the motor
  • Check lubrication levels to be sure they’re correct
  • Check fuel connections for leaks 
  • Ensure all battery connections are clean and tight

Your motor’s first line of defense from contaminated fuel is its filters. Check them for water and replace as recommended in your owner’s manual. 

Prior to heading out, remember to confirm all required safety equipment is on board and don’t forget about your trailer! Make sure your tire pressure is correct, the bearings on the hubs are greased, and the hitch, safety chains and brakes are all functioning properly. Finally, check that transom plug, and remember to remove the transom straps before you launch. 

The first time you use your boat for the season, it’s always a good idea to start up the motor once the trailer is in the water and check the cooling water telltale is present. 

An annual inspection of your water pump is essential for reliability and longevity.

Remember, proper service and maintenance are key to reliability and engine life. Your Yamaha dealer is always ready to help you with any issues that arise and provide the right products to keep your motor all Yamaha. 

Happy boating!