Outboard Motor Winterising

What Is the Average Life of an Outboard Motor?

How long can you expect your outboard motor to last, and what practical measures can you take to make it last longer?

There are a number of factors that could affect the average life of an outboard motor. It’s estimated that most outboard motors can run for about 1,500 hours before they start encountering problems, but this can depend on how often you maintain it and also if you take care of it.

How Many Hours Should an Outboard Motor Last?

In general, the average outboard motor will last around 1,500 hours. Depending on how often you use the motor, this can last several years if you maintain it correctly.

Common Causes of Premature Motor Death

Here are some of the most common causes of premature motor death:

Missed Maintenance

Maintaining your outboard motor is important because it is often exposed to saltwater and debris. While this won’t cause major problems at first, failing to flush the outboard motor could lead to the motor corroding.


Corrosion can be a huge problem for boat engines, especially outboard motors which are often completely exposed to saltwater and similar conditions. While some corrosion is visible, there might be corrosion inside your outboard motor that you can’t see. Some boat owners even leave their outboard motors partially submerged in saltwater during storage. This is also concerning because metals are subject to corrosion if left in saltwater.

Electrical Problems

Electrical problems occur when there is a connection or board-related issue with your outboard motor. You may need to check components such as the battery to see if it’s been recharged, or if it’s been damaged. Electrical problems can also occur as a result of damaged connections.

Improper Installation or Prop Selection

Having the correct prop on your motor will ensure that it runs correctly. This requires a bit of trial and error because there are a number of factors to consider, such as pitch and Diameter of the prop. The best way to solve this problem is to speak with a local expert like the team at MB Marine. They can help you choose a prop with a pitch and diameter combination that works for your boat and your needs.

Bad Fuel

Bad fuel is a common reason for damaged outboard motors. Dirty fuels may not immediately reduce the average life of your outboard motor but can lead to expensive and frustrating maintenance bills if left unchecked. The main cause of this problem is leaving fuel inside an outboard motor which will slowly  deteriorate.

Fuel Flow

Fuel flow problems typically occur when there are leaks or blockages in the system. If an outboard motor continues to sputter and fails to start, then it’s possible that the fuel flow is interrupted and needs to be fixed.

Temperature Problems

An outboard is typically cooled by water. If the cooling system fails for whatever reason, then it’s important to stop using the outboard motor because it will quickly overheat and cause issues that may damage the outboard motor.

Average Lifespan of 2 Outboard Motor Brands

To give you a better idea of how long an outboard motor can last, here are some sample figures.

Mercury Marine Engines

Mercury Marine Engines offer a wide selection of outboard motors that range from 2.5 to 600 hp. With the right amount of care and maintenance, you can expect a new Mercury outboard motor to last up to 3,000 hours.

Suzuki Marine Motors

Suzuki offers lightweight outboard motors that can offer between 2.5 and 350 hp. With over twenty different models, there’s a huge selection for you to choose from. Despite the variations in specifications, it’s estimated that a Suzuki outboard motor can last anywhere from 1,500 to 2,000 hours, and longer if you maintain it correctly.

What You Can Do To Make Your Motor Last Longer

With the right level of care and maintenance, it’s possible to make your outboard motor last a lot longer.


Winterising your outboard motor means preparing it for colder conditions. Winterising will prevent damage caused by cold temperatures and corrosion, and can help you keep it in good condition for when the boating season begins again.

Regular Maintenance

Regular maintenance will ensure that your outboard motor will last for as long as possible. Looking after the components, storing them correctly, and keeping the fuel clean will contribute to your outboard motor’s longevity.

About MB Marine

MB Marine is a family-run business with over 50 years of experience in the marine servicing industry. Conveniently located in Ocean Quay Southampton, Mark and the team provide industry-leading outboard motor servicing, repairs, rigging, marine audio and approved parts for boat owners and trade across the South Coast.