How to Assess a Used Outboard Motor

It can be hard for an inexperienced person to decide whether a given used outboard motor is sound or not. Such a person may end up passing over a good deal or paying more money than is necessary for a given outboard motor. This article discusses some tips which one can use to be certain that he or she is buying a used outboard motor which is in a good condition.

Go On a Sea Trial

One of the best ways to assess a used outboard motor before you buy it is by taking it for a test while it is still on the seller's boat. It is best to arrange for this test when the engine hasn't been started and warmed before you arrive. Start it cold and see how easily it responds. Engines in a good condition will not have any issues starting cold. Increase the boat's speed to cruise level for several minutes (10-minutes, for example) and then idle the engine. A good outboard motor will idle smoothly after running at cruise speed for long. Take note of any strange sounds which you may hear during this test. Investigate anything unusual before you close the deal.

Check the Paint

It is also wise to observe the paint around the head of the outboard motor. Peeling paint in this area is an indicator of an engine that has been running hot. Avoid buying such an engine because it may have weakened. Faded paint is okay because it is an indicator of normal wear as the engine ages.

Observe the Oil

Don't buy a used outboard motor until you have conducted a lower unit check. Remove the drain plug on the lower unit of the engine and look at the engine oil. Does it look milky? Milky oil indicates that water has infiltrated the engine. You may, therefore, have to perform some repairs to the seals in case you go ahead and buy that outboard motor. Make sure that no metal particles are evident in the oil.

Ask for a Warranty

The biggest vote of confidence in a used outboard motor should be the endorsement of its previous owner. Ask that person to give you a written warranty about the performance and condition of the outboard motor. This document will assure you that you will have some recourse in case a significant issue develops shortly after you purchase the used outboard motor.

It is better for you to hire an expert to inspect and test the outboard motor in case you feel that you aren't skilled enough to address the issues raised in the discussion above.