Have you got all your gear ready for a float on the water, only to find to your embarrassment that your boat won't start? Don't worry! As with any modern motor, there are simple steps to follow to determine the root cause of the problem and start fixing it. With the help of these common outboard engine starting fixes, you will be able to identify and fix the problem immediately.
If the engine doesn't turn over at all, turn the key to the on position and check that the other lights and gauges are working properly. If everything else is dead too, check the main outboard fuse.
If your battery is fully charged, there may be a problem with the cables or connectors. Check and clean the battery terminals and connectors to remove any corrosion build-up. Check the cables for any cracks, corrosion or other visible signs of wear that could affect their performance.
Most outboards will not turn if the boat is in gear. If the engine will not turn but other lights and gauges are working properly, check that the gear change is in neutral.
If the engine turns slowly or does not turn at all, your battery may be dead or low. Use a voltmeter to check the condition of the battery. If the voltmeter reads less than 12 volts, your battery is probably the problem and may need to be jumped or replaced.
If your boat has an emergency shut-off switch, check that the cover is securely seated, otherwise the engine may not start.
If you experience difficulty starting the engine, engine hesitation, loss of power or reduced acceleration, the spark plugs may be faulty. Check the spark plugs for signs of damage. Any spark plug that contains moisture or black soot is an indication that it is damaged and should be replaced.
If there is fuel on board, check your bottom paint to ensure that fuel is getting to the engine. If your boat has a primer bulb, pump the bulb to make sure it is full of fuel and feels solid after a few squeezes. If not, check that there are no visible signs of leaks or that the primer bulb itself does not have a bad valve.
If you have completed this checklist but your engine still won't start, you may have a blocked exhaust or a lack of compression in the engine. We recommend taking the boat to a certified mechanic at this point to help solve the problem. Or contact our experts to help you figure out.