Boating Tips


Posted 4/9/2009

Consumer Delivery Experience

Buying a new boat and Yamaha outboard is an exciting experience. It's also accompanied by a dizzying blur of paperwork -- sign this, don't forget that, any questions? – then you hitch up and drive away with your pride and joy. By the time you get home, it could be tough to remember half the things the dealer told you and when you finally hit the water, you probably have even more questions. Not to worry, we're here to help.

Although Yamaha dealers are required to fill out a Predelivery Inspection/Checklist, including a Customer Delivery Checklist, the Yamaha Customer Relations team handles hundreds of customer questions that were probably discussed during the initial delivery. To help you remember some of the key points covered during the purchase and delivery process, we've created this cheat sheet. Take it with you to the dealership to make sure you get all the info you need to enjoy your new Yamaha outboard.
Yamaha Buyer/Dealer Discussion Points

Promotions: Are you getting the most for your money? Are all available rebates and discounts being applied to your purchase? Do the numbers make sense?

Warranty: Your dealer should submit your new engine's warranty registration to Yamaha when you pick up the boat and/or outboard. Ask the dealer to verify that the engine's warranty has been registered, and that the effective date matches the date of the sale.

Have the dealer clarify what is covered under warranty and what isn't. Also, seriously consider investing in a Yamaha Extended Service (Y.E.S.) plan – Y.E.S. goes above and beyond the factory warranty, and it's transferrable if you sell the engine. Y.E.S. provides a nearly painless way to protect your investment; we highly recommend that you ask your dealer about it.

Operation: Do you understand how to use your Yamaha outboard? Do you know how to check the oil and fluid levels? Do you know how to start the engine (using the choke, if applicable) and the importance of using the engine stop lanyard? Are you familiar with how and when to use the power trim function? What instrument readouts should you pay the most attention to and what to do if you see a potentially hazardous gauge reading (overheating, low oil pressure, etc)? Do you know what the warning buzzers mean and what the engine will automatically do if it detects problems?

Service and Maintenance: Your Yamaha outboard will give you years of loyal performance if you simply follow the service and routine maintenance schedule in the owner's manual. Have the dealer explain why breaking-in the engine properly followed by a service session is critical to the outboard's longevity.

Review the maintenance schedule with your dealer and pick up a copy of the pamphlet "Maintenance Matters" while you're at it. The care and feeding of your Yamaha is your financial responsibility. Remember, factory-recommended service isn't covered under limited warranty or provided gratis by the dealership. You can do a lot of these things yourself with basic hand tools, saving a chunk of change if you're willing to get your hands dirty.

Make sure you know what kind of oil goes into your engine (2-stroke, 4-stroke, recommended brand/type), what other lubricants you'll need (greases, gearcase lube), suggested fuel treatments, as well as the location(s) of the fuel filter(s), what fuel filters to use, and when to change them.

Propellers: Have the dealer show you what size propeller is on your engine (diameter and pitch), and how to change the prop (on the remote possibility you hit something and need to replace the propeller).

Ask the dealer what kind of performance you should expect from the propeller (RPM at full throttle, top speed) and what the dealer thinks might be a good propeller upgrade or an auxiliary prop. You really need two propellers – a primary and a spare. You have a spare tire in your car; it just makes sense that you ought to have a spare propeller (and related hardware) on board your boat.

Troubleshooting: Despite the fact that Yamaha outboards are amazingly dependable, sometimes things go awry, usually at the most inopportune times. More often than not, the problem isn't with the engine, it's with the boat – electrical malfunctions (low battery, blown fuses, corroded connections) or fuel issues (old gas, debris in the fuel system, water in the fuel, clogged fuel filters).

Sometimes, what seems to be an engine problem is operator error, for example, trying to start the engine with the shifter in gear or the safety stop lanyard isn't connected properly. Check the simple things first, before declaring a calamity.

Talk to your dealer about how to diagnose and fix typical malfunctions on your own. Ask what spare parts and tools you need in your boat's tool bag. A little bit of foresight now could save a great deal of expensive inconvenience later.

Looking Ahead
We'll be delving into these and other topics in greater detail in future editions of The Boater's Log – your source of unadulterated, accurate information you can use – from Yamaha Marine.