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Jun 30, 2020

Make your routine fluid changes as painless as possible.

With any maintenance procedure, the easier it is to do, the more likely it is to get done. So rather than put off changing your engine oil or transmission fluid, take a few moments to master the procedure so you'll stop dreading it in the future. Such tasks are necessary, of course, to keep your systems running, but routine fluid changes can also provide opportunities to spot signs of potential problems, such as wear or contamination, before they can morph into catastrophic failure — and equally catastrophic repair bills.

Part of your oil-changing routine should be inspecting the old oil once it's drained. Oil that's milky in appearance is an indication that water, antifreeze, or fuel is present, which could mean anything from a blown gasket to a cracked block. Rub a little engine oil between your fingers. If it feels abrasive or has a burnt odor, be concerned about bearing wear, although it could also simply mean that the oil hasn't been changed in a while.

The specific steps for your outboard will be outlined in your manual, but the basic process is: Drain, Change, Replace, Fill.

  • Photo of removing or installing oil drain screw
    Photo of draining oil into catch pan

1. Drain the old. This Suzuki has a drain plug you can access easily. Other models will require an oil extractor that goes through the dipstick.

2. Pass the working end up through the overhand loop as shown.

  • Photo of removing lower cowl from Suzuki engine
    Photo of removing oil filter

3. Change the oil filter. On this engine, part of the cowling needs to come off to get at the oil filter.

4. Remove the old filter carefully to minimize spills.

  • Photo of installing a new oil filter
    Photo of adding new engine oil

5. Replace with a new filter. Lube the O-ring at the top with a bit of new oil. Replace the drain plug if you removed it.

6. Add new engine oil. The amount and type are specified in your manual.