How to change oil in a four stroke outboard

If you tried changing your fuel filter, or the oil in your lower unit, you should have no problem changing the oil in your four stroke outboard.  Changing the oil in your four stroke outboard is as simple as changing a tire.  Once you change your own oil for the first time, you will wonder why you ever paid to get it done in the past.

The first step in changing your oil is to have the right tools.  You will need a ratchet, a strap wrench, and an oil funnel.  You will also need a quart or two of oil (the exact amount should be in your owner's manual) plus an oil filter (again, in the manual or go to a dealer).

Once you have your supplies and tools, you will be ready to change your oil.  To start the process, you should run your motor for a couple minutes using muffs or the bottom submerged in water.  This will help the oil heat up so it flows out of the engine better.

Once the engine has ran for a bit, you will need to locate the bolt that you need to take off to empty the oil.  This will be found in your manual.  I have a Yamaha outboard and mine was at the back of the motor.  I simply used a ratchet with a half inch attachment and the oil was flowing in minutes.

Be careful doing this part because the oil will flow fast-- Use cardboard underneath to make sure oil doesn't go all over.

Make sure to dispose of used oil properly- We don't need any more pollution in our soil or streams!

Once the oil has drained completely (there will always be a little dripping out), you can put the bolt back in the hole it came from and tighten it back up.  Congrats!  You have successfully completed the first part of changing the oil in a four stroke.

Now that the oil is drained and the plug is back in place, it is time to change the oil filter.  This can be one of the hardest parts unless you own a strap wrench.  I looked high and low for something that would assist in taking of the oil filter but most attachments are made for cars and are too big for the task.

So simple I can use one!

This is where a strap wrench comes in handy.  To use a strap wrench, you simply put the strap around the filter, tighten it up, and the oil filter will come off with a turn or two.  Make sure when doing this you do not turn it too much or the oil filter can break which will cause a big mess.  Also, be prepared to deal with the oil coming out of the oil filter.  This means a rag underneath and maybe some cardboard on the ground.

This is what it should look like with the filter off.

Once the oil filter is off, it is time to put the new one back on.  To do this, take the new filter out of the package and rub some oil on the rubber on the bottom part of the filter.  Once you have done this, simply put the oil filter back on and tighten it by hand until you cannot turn it anymore.  Once you cannot turn the filter by hand, use the strap wrench to turn the filter about a turn and a half.  Make sure when turning the filter you do not go to far or you will dent it.  This would not be good!

New filter ready to be lubed up.

Now that the filter has been replaced, it is time to add the oil.  This is a pretty simple step as long as you read the manual to figure out how much oil to add and where to add it.  My motor took 1.9 quarts of oil and had an opening at the back of the motor to add the oil.  I used an oil funnel to make sure I didn't get oil all over the place when adding it in.

New oil going in

Make sure to add the right amount! Mine took 1.9 quarts so I had a bit left over.

Now that you have fresh oil in your motor, the next step in changing the oil in your four stroke is to run the motor so the oil can run through it for a bit.  You always want to run the motor to make sure the oil levels are correct so you don't go out on the water and burn up your motor.  The filter will soak up some of the oil so you may not have added enough originally.

Once you have run the motor for a couple minutes, locate the dipstick on your motor and check to see if it is in the optimal range.  You want the oil to be somewhere within the checkered portion of the dipstick.  Once you are satisfied with where the oil levels are at, you are done!

ready to rock and yes that is a baby burp cloth!  You have to recycle right?

Hopefully this tutorial will show the beginner to boat maintenance that you don't have to spend an arm and a leg paying a specialized mechanic to do it for you.  Changing your own oil in your four stroke outboard is so easy you will be doing it every year from now on out.

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