Miami Outboard Motor Repair

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Outboard motor repair is by far the most populated field of any boat repair category. Furthermore, in South Florida, areas like Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Jupiter (and any other south eastern coastal Florida town) will be teaming with outboard motor repair shops. However, just like any other boat repair category, you can still end up hiring the wrong outboard mechanic who could do more harm than good. Here are some tips for finding the best outboard motor mechanics in South Florida:

  • Make sure the mechanic is certified by the manufacturer of your outboard motor. What kind of outboard motor do you have? Is it a Yamaha outboard? A Mercury outboard? An Evinrude ETEC? These manufacturers have certification courses that outboard mechanics can take to learn how to properly repair their outboard motors. The dealer you bought the engine from should have certified mechanics, but often the dealer is too busy to repair your outboard motor quickly during the season so you may have to look elsewhere.

  • Don’t just ask your friends for referrals, call the outboard manufacturer too. Whether you have a Yamaha outboard, a Mercury outboard, an Evinrude ETEC, or any other outboard motor, that manufacturer likely has a customer service department. These manufacturers don’t just stick up a sign that says “outboard motors for sale” and then leave you out to dry. Outboard motor manufacturers want your engine to work well so that you come back in a few years and buy another one from them, so they are incentivized to make sure you receive great service from an outboard mechanic. As such, these manufacturer customer support teams have a rolodex of high quality outboard mechanics to handle any issue with your outboard motor.

  • Research online and offline. The boat repair world is still murky and many of the best boat mechanics still don’t have an online presence. Researching the best outboard mechanics on websites like Mariner Exchange is a start, but you should also consult your marina manager or anyone else that may have their ear to the ground on who the best outboard motor mechanics are in your area. Again, in South Florida, there should be a plethora. Boat motor repair is especially important, so you’ll want to consult at least 3-4 sources on the quality of an outboard mechanic you’re considering. Also, many boat mechanics in general tend to be older and thus old school, so don’t just email them - CALL them as well. We cannot emphasize this enough. Placing a phone call into your outboard mechanic could save you weeks of frustration and bump you up the priority list.


The cost to repair outboard motors varies widely, but annual maintenance like checking for leaks, checking the impeller, new sparks plugs, etc. should only cost around $160. Annual maintenance is critical to avoiding major outboard motor repairs which could cost up to $750. A couple tips for keeping costs down:

  • Search beyond the dealer. In all likelihood, you bought your boat motor along with your boat from a dealership. That dealership may also have outboard motors for sale, in which case they probably provide outboard motor repair services. A dealership that is selling boats and doing boat repair is a pretty big operation with a lot of overhead. Not to mention, during the season, they will probably be slammed with boat repair work and won’t be able to staff a boat mechanic to your boat for weeks. You can save money by going outside the dealership and finding an outboard mechanic that doesn’t have to cover the costs of a big boat repair shop with tons of employees. Of course, you need to make sure that the outboard mechanic has the right certifications as you don’t want to sacrifice quality.

  • Watch travel costs. Many outboard mechanics will have to travel to provide you boat repair services. When speaking with them beforehand, be sure to ask if they charge for travel. When you receive the outboard motor repair bill, you don’t want to be surprised to see a huge surcharge for travel.

  • Get the parts yourself. If you know outboard motors well but you aren’t quite confident enough to do a boat motor repair yourself, then you can at least buy the parts ahead of time. If you’re able to diagnose the issue, you can order the parts online or from the manufacturer but let an actual boat mechanic do the repair. Yamaha outboards, Mercury outboards, Honda outboards, Evinrude outboards - they all have new and used parts available from the manufacturer or online in the secondary market. If you get the parts yourself, you avoid the surcharge that a boat repair shop or freelance outboard mechanic would add to the bill.


Machinery and saltwater don’t mix. In fact, machinery and freshwater don’t mix particularly well either. Thus, it’s no surprise that outboard motors require a lot of repair and maintenance. The best thing you can do is take the outboard engine for annual maintenance, but there are also a few things you can do yourself:

  • Check the spark plugs. Regularly checking your spark plugs can save you from being stranded on the water with an outboard engine that won’t start. If you notice your outboard engine is burning more fuel than usual or is revving slowly, it may be time to change the spark plug. Of course, if your outboard engine won’t start, that’s a good indicator as well.

  • Check the impeller. The impeller is part of the outboard motor’s cooling system and is what circulates water through the engine to cool it. It’s a good rule of thumb to replace the water pump impeller at least every two years but if you are on the Florida coast in salty ocean water, then you should probably change it every year. Make sure to clean out any dirt or debris before replacing it. Make sure your outboard engine is dispensing water after you replace it.

  • Check the fuel/fuel line. Make sure the fuel line is not leaking or worn in any areas. You’ll want to check the fuel line clamps and fittings for leaks, as well as the primer bulb to make sure it is pliable. Very often, clogs in the fuel line can be the culprit so you want to make sure you're running fresh fuel through your outboard engine. Fuel can easily get contaminants in it like water or debris which can damage the outboard motor’s internal combustion process.

  • Check the oil. Change the oil in your outboard motor and make sure to check the oil filter. Not changing the oil regularly can lead to costly outboard repairs.

  • Flush the outboard engine. Your engine can intake debris and corrosive materials while you run it on the water. Boat mechanics will tell you that one of the best ways to avoid costly outboard motor repairs is to flush the engine with a hose after you run it. You can attach a hose to the lower unit and turn on the engine to get fresh water flowing through the cooling system. Make sure the water coming out of the outboard engine has a strong flow and is not too hot. If it is, then shut the engine off.

  • Look for propeller damage. Propeller damage can reduce your outboard motor’s power output. If your propeller is damaged, consult an outboard mechanic or general boat repair shop to get it fixed.

  • Lubrication. Make sure the steering grease points and the engine tilt are lubricated to keep them from rusting.