Checking Oil in Outboard Engines

Oil is the lifeblood of any outboard engine. It keeps internal components cool and moving smoothly. It is for these reasons that oil levels should always be checked and filled as needed before operation. Two common types of outboard engines are two-stroke and four-stroke designs and they have different procedures for oil checking and filling.

Two-stroke outboards use oil mixed with their fuel. This mixture passes through the engine’s moving parts before getting burned in the cylinder. Some engines have an oil injector system that mixes oil and fuel automatically. These systems have a separate oil reservoir that must always have oil in it when the engine is operating or catastrophic engine failure could result. Other two-stroke outboards require that fuel and oil be mixed together before going into the fuel tank. Plain fuel must never be added to these engines without first mixing it in the proper ratio with oil.

Four-stroke engines have a dedicated lubrication system. The oil is usually contained in the crankcase and a dipstick is used to visually gauge the oil level. These engines do not consume this oil, but a small amount does get burned in operation, so the level must still be checked before operation.

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