Boat Outboard Motor Repair in Los Angeles
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OUTBOARD MOTOR REPAIR SHOPS IN LOS ANGELES
Outboard motor repair in the greater Los Angeles area will be very easy to find. The area is full of boat repair shops to support the vibrant boating culture in the Pacific. Newport Beach and Marina Del Rey have a large boating economy as does Long Beach, but Long Beach tends to be more commercial. You have to be careful with who you hire, since very often the cheapest option is not always the best. Since boating is year round in the Los Angeles area, there are plenty of outboard mechanics to meet that demand. When you’re looking for the right outboard mechanic, keep the following in mind:
- Ask your friends with similar outboard engines. Remember, boat motor repair is not a uniform field where any mechanic can service any engine. If your friends have a similar outboard engine, the chances are that the competency required for repairs is comparable. Ask them for an introduction to their outboard mechanic to see if he fits the bill. It’s also worth asking your marina and even the engine manufacturer for recommendations for outboard motor repair.
- Manufacturer certifications are a must. Make sure the outboard mechanic you’re considering is certified by the manufacturer of your engine. Yamaha outboards are different from Evinrude outboards or Mercury outboards. Each manufacturer has idiosyncrasies that can only be learned through their certification training programs.
- Call around, don’t just email. The internet and websites like Mariner Exchange are the logical first step in your research. However, boat repair is a field that currently has a dearth of young talent, so many outboard mechanics tend to be older. These mechanics prefer phone calls and oftentimes that’s the best way to get their attention.
OUTBOARD MOTOR REPAIR COST IN LOS ANGELES
Outboard engine repair in Los Angeles should cost anywhere from $80 to $660 depending on what service is required. Labor is typically the biggest expense on a bill unless you need a major part replaced. If you are trying to save money, you can always buy the parts for repairs yourself. Parts are available online for most any manufacturer. It’s always good to keep a reserve of spare parts. If you have an older outboard engine, this can inflate the cost of repairs and make it more difficult to find an outboard mechanic that can do the work. For older engines, the manufacturer may no longer carry the parts, so you’ll have to rely on used parts. Manufacturers want people to buy their newer engines, so after a while, they no longer support parts or service training for older engines.
HOW TO TAKE CARE OF OUTBOARD MOTORS
Given that the greater Los Angeles area has saltwater boating, you’ll need to make extra effort to maintain your outboard engine. The best way to avoid costly outboard motor repair is to have a mechanic perform annual maintenance. Other than that, there are plenty of things to watch out for so that you can head off an engine catastrophe before it happens:
- Flushing outboard motors. Your outboard mechanic will recommend that you flush your engine after every use in the salty waters in and around Los Angeles. This will extend the life of critical engine parts significantly. Buy an apparatus that attaches to the lower unit to which you can connect a garden hose. When you turn on the boat motor, it should engage the water pump impeller and get fresh water flowing through the cooling system. This will clear corrosive salt out of the engine and help preserve parts. Watch the water pressure and heat of the engine to make sure this is being done correctly.
- Propeller. Make sure the propeller doesn’t have any damage and isn’t bent.
- Lubricate mechanical parts. Lubricate steering grease points, throttle cables, the engine tilt and any other exposed mechanical parts to keep them from rusting.
- Spark plugs. If your engine won’t start, it could be a spark plug issue. The spark plug is what actually ignites the fuel during the internal combustion process, so without it, you’re dead in the water. Wear and tear can happen over a few years and you may start to notice increased fuel burn as well as slow revving. These are signs that a spark plug change may be in order.
- Impellers. The water pump impeller is what takes water up into the engine so that the engine can cool. Your outboard engine should dispense water, and if it doesn’t you should shut it off immediately. This means water is not flowing through the cooling system and that the outboard engine could overheat. There could be debris blocking the water intake so clear that away before restarting. Given the saltwater environment, you’ll likely have to replace your impeller every year or two.
- Make sure you have clean fuel. Clean fuel is essential so make sure to have your fuel cleaned if the boat has been sitting for a while. It’s very easy for water to get in your fuel tank which can completely destroy your outboard engine. This becomes a little trickier with two stroke outboard engines which require the mixture of gas and oil. The processing of mixing can increase the chances of getting debris in the fuel. This won’t be an issue for four stroke outboards. The best thing you can do is never leave fuel sitting in the tank for long periods of time.
- Oil changes. This is an easy one for four stroke outboard motors. Make sure to change the oil and the oil filter when necessary.