Common Problems With Outboard Motors


No one likes to be stuck at sea or in the middle of river with an outboard motor problem, but it could happen. You can wait for help to come while stopping thoughts of any further unfortunate things to happen, which would be quite hard to push aside especially when you are in the middle of nowhere.

The good news is, there are a few things you can do to lessen any chance of having outboard motor problem. Unless you’re an experienced mechanic and have the tools at hand to perform emergency or makeshift repairs, the chances are you will have to call someone to come and repair or tow your boat away.Not only is this time consuming and frustrating, it can also be expensive.

The first thing you can do to minimise the chances of your outboard motor breaking down is of course to buy a high quality one in the first place.You may have to shop around but it is well worth it. For example, BBMS Swanwick has quality outboard motors for sale and are authorised main dealers. Not only will high quality outboard motor specialists sell you the best products on the market, they will also give you a few tips of what you can do to temporarily repair the engine and get the boat to shore. They will also usually advise you of what tools to use and perhaps even include an essential motor repair kit with your purchase.

Common Breakdown Problems Associated With Outboard Motors

Anyone who uses an outboard motor will at some time experience one or more of the issues detailed below. In many cases, it’s not the problem itself that is the main inconvenience, but how the problem is addressed. It may be wise to take a basic mechanical repair course before getting out on the water to ensure you don’t get stranded.


  • Overheating – Usually a temporary problem that can be resolved with waiting, but other more serious causes can includelow oil and coolant level and a blockage in the water intake. Although a blockage in the water intake is hard to avoid, running low on oil or coolant can be avoided with a cursory check before setting off.
  • Engine Won’t Start -It is every skipper’s nightmare. It can be caused by a dead battery, wet plugs, fuel supply, starter or ignition. A trained mechanic should be able to pinpoint the problem quickly by performing a series of tests.
  • Propeller Problems – Causes include getting tangled up in weeds or fishing line or mechanical problems that will need expert assistance.
  • Spluttering And Power Loss – Possible causes include problems with fuel delivery system or compression issues. A trained mechanic’s services will probably be needed to rectify this type of issue.
  • Sudden Death – Usually caused by running out of fuel or oil, don’t let this happen! If fuel levels are ok, try turning off ignition for 5-10 minutes and starting again. Repeat as necessary but don’t run the battery down.

Although a few of the above problems can’t be avoided, you can take easy steps to ensure the other problems don’t arise. Make sure you have enough fuel and take an essential tool kit. A more effective way to negate the risk of outboard motor problems is to arrange a regular maintenance schedule. Your authorised dealer should be able to provide more details.