How long do outboards last?

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As you might suspect, this is not a simple question to answer. There is no one correct answer to this question due to the many variables that may affect how long an outboard motor will last.

  • Brand
  • 2- or 4-stroke engines
  • gas vs. diesel
  • Horsepower
  • Fresh or saltwater use
  • How often its used and for how long each run lasts
  • How long it sits idle
  • How diligently the maintenance routine is followed
  • Following proper manufacturer winterization recommendations

This is by no means an exhaustive list.

Many Weigh In

It seems many have an opinion on how long an outboard lasts, and for every one answer, there are many others who can cite instances to the contrary. Some believe that a motor should get between 1,000 and 1,500 hours of life, and some cite 20 to 30 years of service. Others state that maintenance is key, while others believe regular use of the motor will provide thousands of hours of use in its lifetime.

In one blog, a poster mentioned that he knew of motors from the 70s and 80s still in use, while yet another said there are good years and bad years for motors.

While in another forum, piston travel, engine stress, wear factor equations and variables in materials and lubrication used were all listed as components that affect an outboard motor’s overall estimated lifespan.

Needs First

The bottom line is, to get the best from your outboard motor, know what your actual needs and expectations from an outboard motor are first, then read the reviews from both manufacturers and actual users to help narrow your choices, and look at manufacturer’s warranties.

Once you’ve discovered what you want, use OnlineOutboards.com filtering capabilities to select and buy the motor that meets your needs. We carry top-rated brands and models for nearly every outboard use—we do nothing but outboards. You’ll find the outboard motor that’s just right for you and that will get you out on the water faster.

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