Boston Outboard Motor Repair

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How much does it cost for outboard motor repairs? In the greater Boston area, annual outboard maintenance can cost anywhere from $75 to $180 on average. Major outboard motor repairs can range up to $680 dollars on average. A couple tips for keeping costs down:

  • Buy second hand parts for older engines yourself. Older outboard motors are difficult to find parts for and it’s difficult to find mechanics that know how to service them. Try to buy parts you may need online before you actually need them. That way, you can equip your outboard mechanic with the necessary parts and you won’t have to pay a markup on them. Over time, these parts will get harder and harder to come by, so it’s good to find as many spares as you can, while you can.

  • Find a mobile outboard mechanic for regular repairs. For regular outboard maintenance, find a freelance outboard mechanic that you trust. He will be able to fix your outboard motor at a considerably reduced cost most of the time because he doesn’t have the overhead of a big boat repair shop. These mobile boat repair companies are very common in the boat repair industry, but you have to be sure you find outboard mechanics that are certified, tried, and true. For major repairs, it’s worth consulting a larger boat repair shop that can draw on the expertise of a larger staff and has more equipment.


Obviously, the first place you look for outboard motor repair is the boat dealership where you bought your boat and motor. However, oftentimes the dealership has a backlog and can’t service your outboard engine for weeks. In that case, you’ll need to look elsewhere. If you're outside of Boston, you can check out outboard mechanics near you on Mariner Exchange. Every boat mechanic claims to know their way around outboard motors, but there are a few tricks to finding quality outboard mechanics without breaking the bank:

  • Outboard engine manufacturer certifications are a must. Outboard engine manufacturers offer training courses on servicing their engines. Look out for a manufacturer badge that denotes this certification. If the boat repair shop is a dealer for Yamaha outboards, Mercury outboards, or any other manufacturer, then the chances are that they are certified to repair them as well.

  • Friends don’t always know best. Most of us get referrals from friends when looking for outboard mechanics, however, this only works if your friend’s outboard engine is similar to yours. If your engine is older, for example, your friend’s outboard mechanic may not be the best person for the job. You should also consult the dealership, your marina, and the customer service department of your outboard engine manufacturer.

  • Where to look? The best outboard motor repair shops, and boat repair shops in general, are south of Boston in towns like Quincy, Hingham, Cohasset, Scituate, and all the way down to Duxbury. These are recreational boating hubs before you get out to Cape Cod where there are also lots of outboard mechanics and boat repair shops.

  • Research online, but also call. While you should do your due diligence on outboard mechanics online, don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and call around. Mariner Exchange has the largest database of boat mechanics in the country, but still not all boat repair shops are online. Furthermore, many outboard mechanics are older and not as tech savvy. Some of them, frankly, don’t want more business than they already have, so they won’t respond to your emails. If you call, you have a better chance of getting your outboard motor repaired.


The best thing you can do to stay out of boat repair shops and on the water, is to be sure you don’t neglect your outboard motor service. Perform annual maintenance on your outboard motor and get problems addressed quickly. Regular maintenance can be the difference between a $75 repair bill and a $600 repair bill. Here are a few things to watch for so that you can get ahead of any issues with your outboard engine:

  • Watch out for propeller damage. A propeller that has been bent or damaged can have a severe impact on your outboard motor’s performance. Consult an outboard mechanic if you notice this.

  • Lubricate to prevent rust. If you’re about to put the boat away for the season, make sure to lubricate moving parts like the steering grease points, shift mechanism, carb valves, etc so that they don’t rust.

  • New spark plugs are needed periodically. If your outboard engine won’t start, there’s a good chance it’s a fueling issue or that you need a new spark plug. To prevent getting stuck in this situation, watch for slow revving or excess fuel burning as this could suggest it’s time to change the spark plug.

  • Fuel/fuel lines are critical. After the boat has been sitting all winter, it’s possible that your fuel line could be blocked. Also, make sure that the fuel line is not leaking at all. Clean fuel is essential to the health of your outboard engine so make sure that water and other contaminants don’t get in the fuel.

  • Water pump impeller maintenance. The water pump impeller is critical to cooling your outboard engine. You should replace the impeller every year or two and make sure the area is clean before you install the replacement. Make sure the water coming out of the outboard engine is not too hot and has good pressure.

  • Oil check. No surprises here - check the oil, make sure there’s enough in there, and change the oil filter if necessary.