BoatingLAB Tests: Outboard Ownership Costs

Discover the true cost of owning an outboard.

BoatingLAB Tests: Outboard Ownership Costs

BoatingLAB Tests: Outboard Ownership Costs

Discover the true costs of owning and running, including fuel and maintenance, outboard motors from a variety of manufacturers.Boating Magazine

Outboards grow more popular every day, and the 150 hp outboard may be the most popular on the water. It’s ideal power for the 19- to 21-foot boat range, and in twin applications it’s plenty of power for boats to 26 feet.

So when we wanted to pencil up the costs of owning an outboard, it was natural to choose from a variety of manufacturers’ versions in this popular, efficient and commanding power range.

Here’s what they cost to run and own.

How We Tested
We calculated our maintenance costs by using the manufacturers' maintenance schedule. Dealers may, and often do, need more time and greater frequency for various procedures.

Labor cost (estimate): $100/hour

Time Allotted for
Oil change: One hour
Gear case lube change: Quarter-hour
Water pump change and related service: Three hours
Valve inspection and/or adjustment: Three hours

We calculated fuel costs by choosing comparable motor/hull combinations as closely similar in size and weight as possible. Fuel consumption on these test models was calculated by approximating the International Council of Marine ­Industry Associations’ (ICOMIA) outboard running cycle standards established by the Environmental Protection Agency to closely estimate the running speeds and loads over a 300-hour life cycle. ­ICOMIA testing is actually done on a dynamometer, and our estimates are likely to vary from actual test results considerably.

We calculated a fuel/oil ratio of 68.9:1, or roughly 70 gallons of fuel per gallon of oil for Evinrude’s E-TEC two-stroke.

We did not calculate costs for changing ­anodes or winterizing because these depend entirely on conditions of use.

BoatingLAB Tests: Outboard Ownership Costs

BoatingLAB Tests: Outboard Ownership Costs

Evinrude E-TEC 150
Evinrude stands behind its 300-hour service interval, but some dealers overrule it, ­encouraging customers to change gear case lubricant every 100 hours. Total Maintenance: $648.94 Fuel Cost + Oil: $4,834.80 + $604 Total Cost: $6,087.74
Boating Magazine

Evinrude E-TEC 150

20 Hours
Oil Change: $0
Gear Case Lube: $0
Fuel Filter: $0
Total: $0

100 Hours
Oil Change: $0
Gear Case Lube: $0
Fuel Filter: $0
Total: $0

200 Hours
Oil Change: $0
Gear Case Lube: $0
Fuel Filter: $0
Total: $0

300 Hours
Oil Tank Filter: $38.00
Gear Case Lube: $54.98
Fuel Filter: $34.96
Spark Plugs: $146.00
Water Pump: $375.00
Total: $648.94

Total Maintenance: $648.94

Fuel Cost + Oil: $4,834.80 + $604

Total Cost: $6,087.74

BoatingLAB Tests: Outboard Ownership Costs

BoatingLAB Tests: Outboard Ownership Costs

Honda BF150
The oil/gear case change regimen is unusual, and some dealers opt not to recommend twice annual oil changes due to the cost/benefit. Total Maintenance: $1,604.00 Fuel Cost: $4,822.80 Total Cost: $6,426.80
Boating Magazine

Honda BF150

20 Hours
Oil Change: $153.38
Gear Case Lube: $32.36
Total: $185.74

100 Hours
Oil Change: $153.38
Gear Case Lube: $32.36
Spark Plugs: $63.68
Total: $249.42

200 Hours
Oil Change: $153.38
Gear Case Lube: $32.36
Spark Plugs: $63.68
Water Pump: $370.00
Valve Inspection/Adjustment: $300.00
Total: $919.42

300 Hours
Oil Change: $153.34
Gear Case Lube: $32.36
Spark Plugs: $63.68
Total: $249.42

Total Maintenance: $1,604.00

Fuel Cost: $4,822.80

Total Cost: $6,426.80

BoatingLAB Tests: Outboard Ownership Costs

BoatingLAB Tests: Outboard Ownership Costs

Mercury 150 FourStroke
This motor's valve train needs no adjustment, substantially lowering 300-hour service fees. Total Maintenance: $1,206.59 Fuel Cost: $5,156.40 Total Cost: $6,362.99
Boating Magazine

Mercury 150 FourStroke

20 Hours
Oil Change: $0
Gear Case Lube: $0
Fuel Filter: $0
Total: $0

100 Hours
Oil Change: $170.76
Gear Case Lube: $39.75
Fuel Filter: $36.83
Total: $247.34

200 Hours
Oil Change: $170.76
Gear Case Lube: $39.75
Fuel Filter: $36.83
Total: $247.34

300 Hours
Oil Change:
$170.76
Gear Case Lube: $39.75
Water Pump: $355.67
Fuel Filter: $36.83
Spark Plugs: $67.32
Alternator Belt: $41.58
Total: $711.91

Total Maintenance: $1,206.59

Fuel Cost: $5,156.40

Total Cost: $6,362.99

BoatingLAB Tests: Outboard Ownership Costs

BoatingLAB Tests: Outboard Ownership Costs

Suzuki DF150
Our dealer sources say valve shims are seldom needed upon the 300-hour inspection, but skipping the inspection is unwise. We'd change the oil filter every time we changed the oil, but it's not required. Total Maintenance: $1,608.40 Fuel Cost: $4,627.00 Total Cost: $6,235.40
Boating Magazine

Suzuki DF150

20 Hours
Oil Change: $191.00
Gear Case Lube: $41.00
Total: $232.00

100 Hours
Oil Change: $168.00*
Gear Case Lube: $41.00
Total: $209.00

200 Hours
Oil Change: $191.00
Gear Case Lube: $41.00
Water Pump: $362.00
Valve Inspection/Adjustment: $300
Total: $894.00

300 Hours
Oil Change: $168.00
Gear Case Lube: $41.00
Spark Plugs: $64.40
Total: $273.40

Total Maintenance: $1,608.40

Fuel Cost: $4,627.00

Total Cost: $6,235.40

BoatingLAB Tests: Outboard Ownership Costs

BoatingLAB Tests: Outboard Ownership Costs

Yamaha F150
Our calculations did not accrue service procedures that fall outside a 300-hour/three-year service window, so Yamaha's 500-hour valve train adjustment, or a fraction of it, is not reflected in calculations. Total Maintenance: $1,588.00 Fuel Cost: $4,826.40 Total Cost: $6,414.40
Boating Magazine

Yamaha F150

20 Hours
Oil Change: $173.75
Gear Case Lube: $46.50
Fuel Filter: $64.00
Total: $284.25

100 Hours
Oil Change: $173.75
Gear Case Lube: $46.50
Fuel Filter: $64.00
Total: $284.25

200 Hours
Oil Change: $173.75
Gear Case Lube: $46.50
Fuel Filter: $64.00
Total: $284.25

300 Hours
Oil Change: $173.75
Gear Case Lube: $46.50
Fuel Filter: $64.00
Water Pump: $366.80
Spark Plugs: $84.20
(Valve Inspection/Adjustment at 500 hours)
Total: $735.25

Total Maintenance: $1,588.00

Fuel Cost: $4,826.40

Total Cost: $6,414.40