Starting your outboard, fueling and transporting

Starting your outboard, fueling and transporting

A petrol outboard motor will take you on some unforgettable trips with your boat. To make sure yours lasts as long as possible, there are some things to keep in mind when using your outboard motor. In this guide, we look at what’s important before starting up your outboard, which petrol is best for outboards, how to protect your outboard and the best way to transport it.

8 points to consider before starting your outboard motor

Checklist before each engine use:

  1. Check you have enough fuel for your outboard and open the tank ventilator.
  2. If the engine has not been started for two weeks or more, replace petrol to avoid damage from oxidation and water deposits. Damage to the injection system, such as rusted nozzles, can be caused by impurities such as water in the petrol.

    SVB Tip: A full tank and additional stabilisers minimise the risk of oxidation and condensation. Stabilisers preserve fuel, minimise the risk of corrosion (oxidation) & condensation throughout the fuel system and keep the octane rating high.
  3. Ensure that the oil tank is sufficiently filled. Depending on the model, the oil level can be checked by using the dipstick. You should be able to see if there is enough if oil reaches inside the min and max markings on the dipstick. Alternatively, you can check the oil level through the sightglass. Here, too, there are markings that show the oil level of your outboard.
  4. After a long period of engine stoppage, check engine oil for small drops of water. These can be found on the oil filler cap and the dipstick, among other places, and are visible to the naked eye. A sign of water in the oil is an emulsion on the oil filler cap. If you notice anything like this, don't start the engine under any circumstances! Doing so can cause serious damage to your outboard motor.
Oil level
  1. Check that the clamps on the engine mount are securely fastened.
  2. See whether the water absorption point is clean and free of dirt and deposits.
  3. Inspect the outboard propeller. Are there any fishing lines wrapped around the hub? Do you notice any irregularities that could cause the boat to be unbalanced and thus lead to expensive damage?
  4. Deal with any issues and go and enjoy your boat!

What petrol should I put in my outboard engine? Read on to find out what is the right fuel to use.

To protect your engine, outboard petrol with only a little ethanol is recommended. A stabiliser can be added to prevent fuel from ageing and becoming oxidised. We offer a range of products in our online shop, including Liqui Moly petrol stabilisers.

The type of petrol you should use for your outboard motor depends on the make and type of outboard motor. Refer to your outboard motor's manual or instructions to find out exactly what you need.

What petrol should I put in my four-stroke outboard?

4-stroke outboards run on petrol, which is normally available at petrol stations or water filling stations. 4-stroke engines also need engine and gear oil.

What petrol should I put in my two-stroke outboard?

2 stroke outboards require a mixture of petrol & 2 stroke oil. Check the engine manual or instruction booklet for the correct mixture for your outboard engine. The most commonly used mixes are 1:50 and 1:100. 2-stroke engines also require gear oil.

Gear oil and motor oil for outboards - we help you choose the right one

Your outboard needs gear oil and engine oil to run properly. Oil is used for lubrication, to reduce friction, noise and wear of the engine parts. You can find out which types of oil you should use in the manual for your outboard motor.

What type of gear oil should you use for your outboard?

Gear lube (GL) is a special oil for the gearbox and also serves to protect against wear and corrosion. Outboard motors, whether 2 or 4-stroke, need gear oil. You can buy gear oil from Honda and Liqui Moly in our online shop. Refer to the product descriptions to find out which engines and mechanical components the gear oil is particularly suitable for.

What gear oil should I use in my Mercury outboard?

We recommend 80W-90 gear oil for Mercury outboards. For Mercury outboards from 75 HP and up, Marine High Performance gear oil 85W-90 from Liqui Moly is particularly suitable.

Gear oil Use
Liqui Moly
SAE30 Motor and Gear Oil
- Older motors
- Petrol and diesel motors (where SAE30 mineral oil is required)
- Boats that require the specifications or original spare part numbers MAN 270 and Volvo VDS
Liqui Moly
Marine Gear Oil 80W-90
- Outboard and inboard gearboxes
- Z-drives and windlasses
Liqui Moly
Marine High Performance Gear Oil 85W-90
- Mercury outboards from 75 HP upwards and MerCruiser sterndrives
- High Performance Gear Lube with SAE90 viscosity 
Liqui Moly
Marine ATF Gear Oil
- Boat gearboxes that require a high-quality lubricant
- Drive wheels of different classes and reversing gears
Honda
Marine Gear Oil 90GL4
- All outboards / drives

We supply high-quality gear oil for boat engines from Liqui Moly and Honda.

What kind of motor oil do you put in an outboard motor?

To run smoothly, outboards need engine oil. It lubricates mechanical components, reduces friction between moving parts and keeps engine wear to a minimum. Make sure you choose a suitable, high-quality engine oil for your outboard motor so that it can work as it should.

What motor oil do I need for my 2-stroke outboard?

Special 2-stroke oil is required for the mixture of petrol and engine oil for 2-stroke outboards. Liqui Moly 2-stroke oil is available from us. When using it, make sure you follow the correct dosage, as described earlier in this guide in the section "What petrol should I put in my two-stroke outboard?". In the SVB online shop, motor oils for 2-stroke outboards are shown with '2T' in the name.

What motor oil do I need for my 4-stroke outboard?

For 4-stroke outboards, 10W30 engine oil is standard. We offer 10W-30 from Honda and Liqui Moly. Engine oils for 4-stroke outboards are shown with '4T' in our online shop. Check your outboard manual to find out which engine oil is best suited to your outboard. The amount of engine oil you need depends on your outboard motor.

Tip: Always keep a spare few litres of motor oil for your outboard motor.

Note: Gear and engine oil must be changed at regular intervals. You can find information about oil changes in our winterising outboard motor guide.

 Motor oil

Protect your outboard against theft - with special locks!

Outboard motors can be easily protected against theft with special locks. Covering your boat with a tarpaulin also makes it more difficult to get to the boat and to remove and steal your outboard motor. It is a good idea to register your outboard motor with the harbour police. If stolen, the code can be used to allocate your engine to your boat. In addition to coding, it is recommended to document and register permanent, unique features with pictures. Coded and registered engines are of little interest to thieves, as they cannot make profit from them.

What's the best way to transport an outboard?

Outboard motors must occasionally be taken ashore. Usually, this is necessary at least once a year for winter storage. The best way to transport your outboard motor depends on the model. If you have to transport your outboard with it lying down, our SVB experts recommend laying it temporarily on the side of the tiller arm, with the cylinder block positioned higher than the propeller. This is important to ensure that no engine oil can leak out during transport.

Some motors have stickers on them that show which side should go up during transport.

You can also find information about how to transport outboards in respective instruction manuals. To move them to a car or trailer, there are special carrying straps, transport stands and transport trolleys for outboards that save you a lot of trouble.

Mercury 4 Stroke

2-stroke outboards can be transported on both sides, but it's better to transport them lying on the tiller side. 4-stroke outboards should only be transported lying on the tiller side. For longer breaks in use and for wintering, outboards should be stored upright, for example using a transport stand for outboards.

Written by our SVB (technical) experts

Written by our SVB (technical) experts

Our team of SVB technical experts is there to give our customers professional advice on all matters relating to technology on board. Their expertise is the result of regular training and many years of experience.