Boat Maintenance, Outboard Repair | Yamaha Outboards

Maintenance Matters

Outboard Maintenance Matters


Reliability you can trust

Regular maintenance is critical for the continued proper operation of any engine. Add in the fact that an outboard operates under some of the harshest environmental conditions imaginable, and maintenance becomes even more critical. High load, high-RPM operation, extreme temperatures, high moisture, and periods of non-use all take a toll on your outboard.

Following simple maintenance procedures, sticking to a schedule and using recommended products will help to enhance the performance and extend the life of Yamaha outboard.

The Importance of Maintenance
| Usage-Triggered Maintenance | Maintenance Schedules | Care & Maintenance Products | Oil/Filters | Fuel System/Filters | Lower Unit | Power Trim & Tilt | Electrical System | Propellers |
External Care | Equipment | Extended Storage

Maintenance means better performance

Top 3 Reasons To Maintain Your Outboard

  • Reason

    It's easier (and more cost-efficient) to maintain than to fix.

  • Reason

    Your boat will be ready when you are.

  • Reason

    You'll have more hours of trouble-free enjoyment on the water.

Yamaha's network of 2000+ dealers across the U.S. stand ready to help you maintain your outboard's reliability. They offer our full line of Genuine Yamaha components and Yamalube oils and care products. They also have factory-trained technicians who can handle everything from regular maintenance to part and accessory installation.

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Usage-Triggered Maintenance

Freshwater Flushing

Freshwater Flushing

WATCH THIS VIDEO to learn more about the benefits and methods
of freshwater flushing.

Fresh water flushing is the single most important maintenance procedure a boater can perform to prevent corrosion in an outboard motor. It dislodges any buildup of mud, sand or silt ingested by the outboard’s water pump. Left unchecked, that debris can accumulate in an outboard’s cooling passages, restricting the amount of water available to cool the engine. An improperly cooled engine also encourages exhaust system corrosionbecause it increases exhaust temperatures.

Add years to the life of your outboard by keeping your engine clean and properly cooled. Freshwater flush after every use in salt or dity water.

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Review maintenance requirements


Maintenance Schedule

Choosing quality maintenance products will only get you so far. For optimal performance and long engine life, you have to use those products consistently and follow the recommended maintenance schedule in your Yamaha Owner's Manual.

We'll help you stay on top of outboard maintenance with:

Service interval reminders. Yamaha lets you know when it's time to service your outboard.

Engine hour meter

Engine hour meter. Easy to install, Yamaha engine hour meters track engine operating hours, so you know the minute it's time for maintenance. Our Command Link® or Command Link® Plus gauges even feature built-in reminders, eliminating an extra gauge.

Color-coded maintenance and care products. Yamalube Lubricants, Quality Care, Maintenance, Fuel Additives and Adhesives are all color-coded by category for easy selection.

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Care & Maintenance Products

Why choose Genuine Yamaha components and Yamalube® care & maintenance products?

Yamalube oils and Yamaha filters

Performance. The same engineers who design Yamaha outboards consult in the development of each component and care product. As a result, nothing will protect your outboard or enhance its performance quite like Yamaha and Yamalube® products.

Reliability. Genuine Yamaha components and care products are engineered specifically for your Yamaha outboard, and are manufactured to Yamaha's exacting standards for quality. They'll work, fit and wear better, and have been proven to provide the ultimate in performance and reliability.

Protection. Yamalube® oils and care and maintenance products are formulated using proprietary specifications, to provide the advanced protection your Yamaha demands.

Peace of Mind. Never wonder if your Yamaha outboard is properly maintained or protected. Choose Genuine Yamaha components, made to fit it perfectly and Yamalube care and maintenance products, formulated to protect it properly.

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Oil & Filters

Yamalube® marine oils are formulated and tested by many of the same engineers who design Yamaha outboards. These oils are "built around" the operating characteristics of our outboards, and feature a proprietary blend of anti-wear additives, shear-stable polymers, corrosion inhibitors, detergents, dispersants and viscosity index improvers.

No other oil will protect your Yamaha outboard's advanced engineering, enhance its performance, improve its efficiency or extend its life quite like Yamalube. But don't take our word for it.

Proven Two Stroke Protection

Proven Four Stroke Protection

The National Marine Manufacturer's Association (NMMA®) has either FC-W® or TC-W3® certified each of our Yamalube marine formulas. Oils that earn NMMA certification have passed rigorous testing, and have been proven to provide the performance and protection demanded by today's advanced outboard technology. They stand up to extended full-throttle operation, high loads and the salt and moisture-rich air found in a harsh marine environment.

Two Stroke Marine Oil

Yamalube® 2M TC-W3®
This premium two stroke blend delivers superior lubrication and anti-wear/anti-rust protection, while combatting ring stick. It is NMMA® TC-W3® Certified.

Full Synthetic Four Stroke Oil

Yamalube® 4M Full Synthetic Four Stroke
This full synthetic oil is our highest-performance, four stroke outboard formula. It increases lubricity for lower friction levels and can improve fuel economy. It is NMMA® FC-W®-Certified.

Four Stroke Marine Oil

Yamalube® 4M FC-W®
A top-tier, mineral-based oil, 4M protects your investment from cold starts, hours of trolling and high-load, high-speed operation, with special anti-corrosive additives particularly suited for a harsh marine environment. It is NMMA® FCW®-Certified.

Yamalube and Genuine Yamaha oil filters—a dynamic duo.
Genuine Yamaha oil filters are manufactured to Yamaha's exacting standards for protection and performance. They're also engineered specifically to work with Yamaha outboards. That means they'll work, wear and fit better.

Ratio Rite for precise pre-mixRatio Rite® Yamaha two stroke outboards 25hp and down require a 100:1 pre-mix of gasoline and oil. Get the measurement just right with our Ratio Rite.

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Fuel/Water Separating Filters

Fuel & Fuel System

Regular maintenance is necessary to help keep your fuel system in peak condition. From hoses and connections to proper filtration and the use of fuel additives, time spent maintaining your fuel system will pay off.

Check on-engine filtration. Yamaha outboards have a system of fuel filters built into the engine. Know the location of these filters and clean or replace them at the recommended intervals.

Yamaha provides better filtration

Use Yamaha 10-micron filters. They provide an added layer of defense, filtering out debris and separating water from fuel ahead of on-engine filtration.


Check fuel system components. Check the condition of the fuel hoses and connections for any signs of leaks or cracking. Also, if your primer bulb (which is essential for proper cold-engine starts) does not become firm when squeezed prior to starting the engine, replace it.

Clean your carburetor. Carburetors have small passages that can easily become clogged. Our Carburetor Cleaner Dip helps to remove corrosion. Use at full strength or diluted with warm, soapy water. 

Have your outboard de-carbonized. Yamaha Internal Engine Cleaner is a product applied at the dealership. It's the most effective way to clean out carbon build-up inside of your outboard. Follow up with regular Ring Free PLUS use to maintain the results.

Spill-proof gas cans

Use the right gas can. Gas cans featuring a spill-proof spout cut off flow once the tank reaches capacity. This is not only critical for safety, but is also required by the California Air Resources Board (C.A.R.B.).

Attack ethanol head-on. Ethanol-enriched fuel may help to protect the environment by lowering emissions, but it can also wreak havoc on an outboard. Here's how you can protect your outboard from the negative effects of ethanol:

Yamalube Ring Free Plus

ETHANOL ISSUE: Its sulfate salts corrode fuel system metals and its solvent properties cause hoses and gaskets in older model engines to shrink or become brittle over time. This can cause leaks.

YAMAHA SOLUTION: Ring Free PLUS. This fuel additive protects fuel system metals from sulfate salt corrosion. It also fights carbon and provides superior deposit control, cleaning fuel injectors, carburetors, intake valves, intake ports and combustion chambers.

Filters trap impurities

ETHANOL ISSUE: It loosens corrosion. This can result in clogs and negatively impact efficiency.

YAMAHA SOLUTION: Genuine Yamaha 10-micron filters. They trap impurities down to 10 microns in size (1/20th of the diameter of a human hair), particles lesser filters would miss.

Fuel Conditioner & Stabilizer

ETHANOL ISSUE: It attracts water. When ethanol bonds to moisture, it separates from fuel and drops to the bottom of a tank. This is called "phase separation" and it causes two problems. 1. Because ethanol boosts fuel octane by about two points, when it drops out, it leaves fuel that is below the recommended octane for your outboard. This results in hard starts, poor acceleration and loss of power. 2. It can actually create a situation where your engine is forced to run on water—not good.

YAMAHA SOLUTION: Yamalube Fuel Conditioner & Stabilizer PLUS. This alcohol-free fuel additive fights moisture, preventing oxidation and phase separation in ethanol-enriched fuels. Its metal filmers also protect steel and aluminum components. Used continuously, it keeps fuel fresh and free of gum and varnish for up to one year of storage.

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Lower Unit

Your outboard's lower unit is vital to its overall performance. Simple maintenance procedures, regularly performed, will mean hours of trouble-free enjoyment and increased value.

Maintain lower unit

Regularly inspect the lower unit following these steps:

  • Remove the prop and apply marine grease to the prop shaft.
  • Remove the lower drain plug and check the color of the lubricant, if you notice any entanglement around the propeller shaft. If your lubricant is white or milky in appearance, water has entered your gearcase. Your lower unit should be disassembled and inspected, and its seals should be replaced before using your outboard again.
  • Change the gear lube. The extreme pressures exerted inside an outboard's lower unit eventually break down a lubricant's effectiveness. Use Yamalube® Gearcase Lube (Gearcase Lube HD for V8 models) according to the schedule in your owner's or service manual to protect your investment. Your dealer can do this, or it's easy to do it yourself. For DIY-ers, be sure to replace the vent and drain screw seals each time.
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Check regularly for peak efficiency

Power Trim & Tilt

From hole shot to wide-open throttle operation, the power trim and tilt (PT&T) adjusts the thrust angle of your outboard for maximum performance. Simple checks on your PT&T unit will help keep it operating at peak efficiency.

Check the hydraulics. A PT&T unit is electro-hydraulic, meaning an electric pump moves hydraulic fluid, which moves the outboard. This simple, reliable system needs only minimal maintenance under normal conditions.

Grease the rams. Periodically lubricate the tops of the rams and their contact points using Yamalube® Marine Grease. It's formulated to withstand extreme pressures and resist corrosion and "wash-away," even in saltwater environments.

Check the rams. They should be free of corrosion and show no signs of fluid leaks. If leaking is present (which usually causes the outboard to return to the "down" position by itself over time), have your authorized Yamaha Marine Dealer check the system.

Check fluid levels and top off. Periodically check the fluid level in the PT&T unit, and if low, top it off with Yamalube® Performance Power Trim & Tilt Fluid. Non-foaming, it resists the intense heat and pressures found in PT&T systems, providing smooth operation and reduced wear. It's also excellent for use in marine power steering systems.

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Follow battery specifications

Electrical System

A marine environment can be tough on your electrical system components and connections. This is one of the most vital systems on your boat, so maintain its reliability by outfitting it with Yamaha-recommended components and protecting it with Genuine Yamalube® maintenance and care products.

The battery. Use only the size and type recommended in your owner's or service manual (see chart for general specifications).

The connections. Make sure that all battery/cable connections use self-locking nuts (not old-fashioned wing nuts).

Yamashield and battery terminal cleaner

NGK spark plugs recommended

Accessory-only batteries. Also referred to as "house batteries", they power only accessories, reserving main battery power for starting and other engine functions. Most large Yamaha outboards (150hp and up) have separate battery isolator/charging leads specifically for this purpose.

Components and care products. Yamaha recommends NGK® spark plugs, and offers a complete range of electrical system care products, including: Yamashield™ Protectant and Lubricant, Yamalube® Battery Terminal Cleaner and Protector and Yamalube® Contact Cleaner.

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Propellers require regular care

For optimal efficiency and performance, your propeller must be correct for your horsepower and designed for your application. Once you've selected the right propeller for your boating style, a little maintenance will ensure a lot of efficiency.

Remove it. Periodically remove your propeller to check for fishing line.

Grease it. While you have the propeller off, grease the propeller shaft with Yamalube® Marine Grease.

Check it. Inspect the blades for nicks, cuts and bends and have it repaired or replaced if necessary.

That's it. For being one of the hardest working components on your outboard, it requires surprisingly little maintenance.

Yamaha offers a full line of propellers, catering to a variety of boating styles. To see our selection, and learn how to select the right propeller for your horsepower and application, visit the propeller section of our website.

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Maintenance and cleaning products

External Care

Maintain the value of your Yamaha with Genuine Yamalube® care products. Our complete line is formulated to help protect and preserve your outboard.

Yamalube® External Engine Cleaner. If you've already cleaned your engine inside—do the outside, too.

Yamalube® Spray Polish and Instant Detailer. Quickly restores a lustrous shine to paint, chrome, glass and smooth plastic surfaces. Anti-static properties repel dust.

Yamalube® Silicon Spray Protectant. Conditions and protects neoprene, rubber, and other surfaces from environmental effects. Helps protect metals from rust and corrosion.

Yamalube® Yamaclean. Effectively cleans most boat and outboard surfaces of dirt, oil, grime and insects.

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Check equipment before setting off


To ensure the safety on the water and the ability to troubleshoot if necessary, never set sail without conducting a systems check and confirming you have all the right equipment.

Check the bottom of the boat. Make sure there are no stress cracks, barnacles or other marine growths on the hull. Also, check your engine's sacrificial anodes and replace them if more than 50% of their material is gone. They're critical for preventing corrosion of metal engine components.

Check the electrical system. Verify tight connections on all batteries and that bilge pumps and navigation lights are all operative.

Check the safety equipment. A few of the items you should have include:

  • Life jackets of the correct type available for all passengers
  • Flashlight
  • First aid kit
  • Boat horn or other signaling device

Check the engine oil and all fuel lines. They should be tight and proper. Also, make sure you have sufficient oil (including extra) on board.

Check on-board maintenance supplies. You should have:

  • Metric tool kit
  • Spare spark plugs and a wrench
  • Spare wire, connectors and crimping pliers
  • Spare fuel filters
  • Spare propeller and a propeller wrench

Check your flushing attachment. For a cleaner engine, make sure you have and use the correct flushing attachment upon return.

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Preparing properly for extended storage will ensure your rig will be ready to run when you return to use it. Yamalube® offers a full line of storage prep products to help protect and preserve your engine until next season.

Fog engine for storage

Fog your engine. During periods of inactivity, use Yamalube® Stor-Rite Engine Fogging Oil to coat vital internal engine components with a thick petroleum-based lubricant. This prevents components from rust and corrosion and protects them during start-up when the outboard is returned to service.

Keep it dry. Condensation can collect in your fuel system during extended storage periods. Ethanol fuels can also draw water directly from the atmosphere through the tank's vent. Run Yamalube® Fuel Stabilizer and Conditioner PLUS through the entire fuel system at all times, but especially prior to extended storage. Also, always store with the tank nearly full of fuel to help prevent over-accumulation of condensation. If stored outside, make sure to lower the engine fully or place a tightly sealed plastic bag over the lower unit to help keep out moisture. Never plug or cap the fuel tank vent, as this allows for natural expansion and contraction within the fuel system.


Do annual maintenance or upgrades. Prior to extended lay-up is an excellent time to perform routine annual maintenance or make upgrades. This can include things like replacing the water pump or installing a new depth finder or radio system.

Prep for next season. Now's the time to check the anchor, chains, dock lines, fenders, etc. Replace any worn or damaged items now so you'll be ready to hit the water next season. Also check the boat for any loose items that need repair. Many of these items can easily be secured with one of our exclusive, Yamalube® Yamabond® formulas.

Yamalube Marine Grease

Trailer your boat safely

Check trailer and lift components. Replace loose, sagging or rotted bunks, straps or rollers. Check trailer wheel bearings for signs of water intrusion and repair as necessary.

  • Yamalube® Marine Grease works great for trailer bearings and lift roller
  • Yamalube® Yamashield™ is perfect for lubricating winch cables.
  • Yamalube® Brake and Contact Cleaner helps restore proper boat and trailer light connections, and also cleans trailer brakes (if applicable).
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