Take advantage of special offers for extended warranties on new outboards during boat show season.
Many outboard-powered boat owners stick with the same brand of power when replacing their existing outboards or buying a new outboard-powered boat. It’s human nature to stay with what’s worked in the past and satisfies one’s most important requirement: quick to start, easy to maintain, hole-shot performance, fuel economy, aesthetic profile, etc. The one aspect of purchasing an outboard motor that’s frequently overlooked, however, is the manufacturer’s warranty. And while you desire to never have to use it, if you find yourself in the unfortunate situation that you do, knowing the extent and limitations of your outboard manufacturer’s warranty can make the difference between a land-locked summer and one you spend pleasantly on the water, worry-free.
A standard warranty is offered with the purchase of a new outboard for a specific period of time. An extended warranty is generally considered a time extension of the original standard warranty and varies according to the manufacturer. In addition to peace of mind, the intrinsic value of the extended warranty depends on a number of factors including if you’ve purchased extended warranties with other products and found them to be a worthwhile investment.
Manufacturer warranty coverage—both standard and extended—differs from brand to brand. The consistent caveat is that most companies specify that the standard warranty applies to boats used only for recreation as opposed to commercial use or racing. (If you participate in poker runs, compete in fishing tournaments or participate in similar activities, make sure you read the fine print to ensure these activities do not exclude you from coverage.) Examples of other situations not covered by most warranties include accidents, abusive operation of the motor, improperly performed repairs or maintenance such as incorrectly flushing the motor, use of unapproved lubricants, customer-applied chemical treatments such as waxes, conditions resulting from modification or alteration of the product, and others that are included in the product’s warranty policy.
Powering your outboard with the wrong fuel can also void the warranty according to Lee Gordon, Director of Global Public Relations & Communications. “We do our best to educate our consumers on the best usage of their outboard engines. One of the biggest issues in the marine industry today that we are all working on is misfuelling and the lack of education surrounding E15. Consumers can use ethanol blends up to 10 percent, but once you go above that, it can cause serious damage to the engine, which could cause the warranty to become void.”
Owners who perform their own maintenance need to be especially diligent and are encouraged to bring their motors to an authorized service representative as soon as problems present themselves so that a minor fix doesn’t turn into a major overhaul. Manufacturers recommend retaining receipts and keeping a log of all maintenance performed, though Suzuki states in their Warranty Policy: “Suzuki cannot deny warranty solely for the lack of receipts or your failure to ensure the performance of all scheduled maintenance. As the outboard motor owner, you should however, be aware that Suzuki may deny you warranty coverage if your outboard motor or a part has failed due to abuse, neglect, improper maintenance or unapproved modifications.”
Below are the current standard and extended warranty programs offered by the major marine outboard manufacturers. For more detail on their programs, contact the local dealer or go to their website.
Standard warranty: 3 or 5 years depending on model; E-TEC G2 product line covered by 5 years incl. corrosion with no dealer-scheduled maintenance for 5 years or 500 hours. Extended warranty promotion: December 12, 2016 – March 31, 2017: 10-year, non-declining, factory-backed coverage on all Evinrude E-TEC and Evinrude E-TEC G2 engines; evinrude.com
Standard warranty: “True 5” warranty program; 5-year, non-declining, factory-backed coverage; No extended warranty; marine.honda.com
Standard warranty: 3 years limited warranty for outboards 350 hp and below.
Extended warranty promotion: January 1 – March 31, 2017: Additional 2 years free Mercury® Product Protection Gold in addition to 3 years standard warranty on all new Mercury outboards at participating dealers. mercurymarine.com
Standard warranty: 3-year limited warranty on all new outboards for recreational use. Extended warranty promotion: 3-year Extended Protection Plan at no extra charge on purchases of new outboards from 25 to 300 hp for a total of 6 years of product protection; suzukimarine.com
Standard warranty: 3 years limited warranty on all four-stroke outboards except F350C (5 years). Extended warranty promotion: through March 31, 2017 “Choose Reliability”: 2 extra years for 5 total years coverage OR credit of up to $1,500 (depending on model); yamahaoutboards.com
— By Liz Pasch, Southern Boating Magazine February 2017