How Much Does an Outboard Motor Tune Up Cost?

Written by: Staff
Last Updated:  August 15, 2018

An outboard motor tune up consists of a series of adjustments, inspections, and parts replacement that will enhance the performance of a motor.

Once in a while, you will need to tune your outboard motor to make sure it stays in good working condition.

Serious power on this lifeboat by paulpiltdown, on Flickr
Serious power on this lifeboat” (CC BY 2.0) by  paulpiltdown

How much does an outboard motor tune up cost?

On average, a basic outboard motor tune up should be between $80 and $250+ for just the labor, not including the parts.  The cost will all depend on the inclusions, who you hire and the type of motor they are working on.  Most will base their estimates on the motor and the number of cylinders.

Size of EngineEstimated Costs
2 - 5 h.p.$75 + materials
5 - 35 h.p.$90 + materials
35 - 125 h.p.$115 + materials
135 h.p+$135 + materials

NOTE:  For parts, depending on your situation, it’s best to average an additional $150 to $200, but it could be much more, depending on the condition of your motor.  Refer to our “extra costs” section below., for instance, lists its prices on its official website.  A minor engine tune up, for example, would cost $85.  This service would only replace your spark plugs and the ignition system would be inspected.  This wouldn’t include the necessary parts.  A major engine tune up, which would cost $255, again, not including the parts, would include replacing the spark plugs, cap, rotor, points, condenser and wires.

On this forum thread, members said the cost of a tune-up would depend on the “type” of tune-up you needed.  With no cut or dry answer, the prices would depend on the number of hours on the engine, what’s included and the hourly rate your mechanic is charging.   In the, a basic tune-up, with new spark plugs and filters, could cost less than $200, but if you were to receive a new water pump, housing, oil change, diagnostics test and more, it could be more than $450.

What are the extra costs?

Additional repairs or parts may be required during the tune up.  For example, a battery change could cost $25 to $35, not including the part.  A boat prop repair could cost $75 to $175, while a new water pump impeller housing could cost $500 or more.  Another popular repair such as rebuilding the carbs could easily cost $100 to $150 per carb.

In most cases, a tune-up won’t include an oil change, which can be an additional $150+, depending on the size of your motor.

Tips to know

A basic outboard motor tune up, at a minimum, should include a compression and spark test, a spark plug replacement, new water pump impeller, new fuel filter, newly greased fittings and the cylinders will be decarbonized.  The sync, link timing, and carburetor should all be set/checked as well.

When storing your motor in colder weather, always refer to your owner’s manual for optimal storage.  If you were to have fuel in your motor, for example, then you may want to mix some sort of fuel condition to help keep the motor in tip-top shape come boating time.

How can I save money?

As with any professional service, try your hardest to get as many quotes as possible.  As long as you have your engine’s specifications, most can offer a “ballpark” estimate over the phone.

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Average Reported Cost: $185

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Was it worth it?  

  1. Fred (Minneapolis,  Minnesota) paid $185 and said:

    Local charged $185 for 15 HP tune up. It needed a small repair as well.

    Was it worth it? Yes

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