Why Won't My Outboard Start?

Author: Stuart Buckingham   Date Posted:21 April 2017 

Blog Why won't my outboard startThere's nothing more frustrating than getting to the boat ramp to find that your outboard won't start. We've all been there before and we'll probably all be there again one day too. The following is a small checklist of some of the obvious areas to check if you're experiencing troubles.

1. Kill Lanyard

Just about every engine has a kill switch and from that comes a red safety lanyard. If the lanyard isn't connected correctly, or at all, the engine won't start, so it pays to check this first.

2. Primer Bulb

Without fuel, your engine won't run. Make sure you squeeze the primer bulb sufficiently (with the arrow on the primer bulb pointing upwards) until the bulb becomes firm. If it's not getting firm then you may have a problem with your fuel system.

3. Fuel

Questions you should ask yourself... When did I last fill the fuel tank? And, how much fuel do I have? Fuel can go off after extended periods and can also draw in moisture resulting in reducing its quality. Always ensure you have fresh fuel in your tank. 

4. Throttle Position

Most engines have a protecting switch that won't allow you to start your engine in gear. So make sure your engine is in neutral.

5. Battery

If you can't hear your starter motor crank over then it's likely you have a flat battery. There's not much you can do about this other than getting a replacement battery for the interim and ensuring that in future you keep your battery monitored by charging it every so often or keeping it on a trickle charge.

If your engine still won't start after you've tried the above your problem may lie deeper so I'd suggest taking your engine to get looked at by a marine mechanic. Hopefully, you've found this helpful but remember, prevention is better than cure so try and run your engine at home the day before.


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