How Much Does a Boat Engine Oil Change Cost? (2023)

Changing your oil on schedule is important for every four-stroke engine. Most manufacturers recommend every 100 hours of runtime and at the end of the season before winter storage. But what will this cost you each time?

If you change your oil yourself and have all the tools, it will cost you from $40 to $70 for an average sized inboard diesel engine. Paying someone else to do it may add another $100 or more to this cost. Outboard engines may cost a little less.

It's not a tough job on most boats, doing itself can save you a lot of money. So let's get into the details on the costs and some savings.

Cost Breakdown

Where you live, current oil prices, and the size of your engine will all affect your final bill every time. With a little upfront spending, some time, and a little careful shopping, you can cut that a bit.

Oil & Filters

Check your engine manual for the grade and weight of oil you need, as well as how many quarts or liters it requires. Oil is available in mineral and synthetic varieties. Mineral is oil from the ground. Synthetic oils often have longer life and better lubricating characteristics for older engines.

When selecting the correct oil, use only one brand and type of oil for each oil change. Oils have different additives, and different manufacturers use different compositions. Mixing brands or types of oil on a single oil change may reduce their effectiveness if additives aren't compatible with each other. Changing brands between oil changes is less of a problem, as there's little of the old oil and additives left after you drain the engine. So buy enough for the complete oil change and don't make up shortages with odds and ends.

Very few four-stroke engines require "marine" engine oil - it's the grade and weight which matter. If you buy the correct grade and weight at an auto store, you can save money. Buying a gallon jug is cheaper than quarts, and if you have a big engine, bigger jugs are even cheaper. Though these can be awkward to use in tight spaces, so they may not be worth the savings.

Oil weights and categories: Oil is graded by "Weight" as well as API (American Petroleum Institute) "Rating" or "Service." To find out the details, look for the round "donut" on the jug of oil, and it will tell you all you need to know.

Weight rating is a number, like 10W-30, or SAE 30. This refers to the viscosity of the oil, how thick it is and how easily it flows. Higher numbers are more viscous. If there are two numbers with a dash and a W, the first number refers to the winter (low temperature) viscosity in a multi-grade oil.

The donut also tells you if this is for gasoline or diesel engines. API service codes starting with "S" are always for gas engines, and "C" is for diesel. Higher service rated oils are always backwards compatible with older engines, but be careful using older oil with brand new engines..

When changing your own oil, dispose of the used oil responsibly. Do NOT pour it in the water or bury it somewhere. Most marinas have used oil facilities, and many service stations will accept used oil. In the worst-case scenario, you may have to pay a small fee to accept your oil, but this is uncommon.

Your engine manufacturer sells branded oil filters for your engine model. These are fine, but there are often third party filters which are just as good and may be a fraction of the cost. Look for a "crossover" chart to reference your OEM part number against other filters to make sure it's the right filter, or ask someone at a marine parts supplier if they have alternatives to the original engine brand. Using an $8.00 third party filter instead of the $35.00 filter with your engine maker's logo on will save you lots and pose no risk to your engine.

Tools

To change the oil on your engine, you'll need to get the oil out, get the oil filter off, and dispose of the oil. The primary tools you need for an oil change are a onetime expense, but they will pay for themselves quickly.

  • An oil extractor. Most boat engines won’t drain from below, so you’ll need a pump to pull the oil out - usually through the dipstick. Cost runs from $20 for tiny handheld or electric pumps with no tanks attached, to several hundred dollars for larger pumps with reservoirs for used oil. Integral tanks are easier to work with, faster, and less messy.
  • If you don't have a reservoir on your pump, you'll need an oil pan or bucket to collect the used oil. If you can make it work, the oil jugs from your last oil change are free and disposable with your oil.
  • An oil filter wrench to get the tight filter off. Available at any auto parts store, adjustable wrenches fit a range of sizes and cost less than $15.00.
  • Funnels. You'll want a clean funnel to fill your oil, and transfer used oil to jugs for disposal. These aren’t expensive.
  • Optional - oil change pads. Disposable oil change pads make the job a lot neater than catching spills on rags or cardboard, since they can absorb spilled oil before it can run off the edge. Save money buying a large package of these online or from an auto parts store, where they can cost less than $1.00 a sheet. One sheet can be good for several oil changes if you don't spill too much on it.
  • Rags. It can get messy. Red shop rags work really well, but absorbant rags from old t-shirts and cotton clothes also will do.

You can get set up to change a small engine for $40 to $100, and a larger engine for $200 to $300.

Hourly Labor

If you hire someone to change your oil, it adds considerable cost. Marine technicians charge from $55 an hour to $125 or more, and may have a minimum number of hours for minor jobs. And they may charge for travel time to and from your boat. When budgeting for an oil change, get a quote from your technician before you make an appointment. Changing the oil may only take an hour or two, but don't be surprised if the estimate includes more time.

There is a definite convenience factor in paying someone to handle these tasks, since they can be time-consuming and messy and it's not how you want to spend your weekends. Balance the costs out against your time - since it's only once or twice a season for most boaters, many opt to pay the extra and not do it themselves.

Outboard Oil Changes

Changing an outboard usually costs less than inboards. They're often smaller and use less oil, and they're easier to get to since they aren't inside the boat in a tight engine compartment.

Outboards run at higher RPMs than diesels and large gas engines, and may require more specialized marine grade oils because of the additives. Always check your owner's manual for specifics.

Two stroke outboard engines do not require engine oil changes. The oil mixed in with the fuel is their only lubrication, and there is no oil filter. They still need lower unit changes.

Portable Outboards

Small outboards are easiest to do on a sawhorse or engine cart. It's easier to do with the engine off the boat since you can't spill any oil in the water, and you don't have to work leaning over the water.

Even the largest portable outboards use less than two quarts of oil in a change, and the smaller low HP miles may use well under a quart and name-brand filters are small and relatively inexpensive.

Large Outboards

Very few sailboats sport outboards over 25 horsepower, but for those few that may (like the MacGregor 26 series) they are best changed with the boat out of the water if you can trailer it. Oil and filter costs may be more in line with smaller inboard engines.

Lower Unit Oil

It's often forgotten, but ALL outboards have an additional oil change - even two-strokes. Check your owner’s manual for the period, but the lower unit has an oil reservoir that you should change seasonally, at a minimum. Your costs may run $10.00 to $20.00 for a do-it-yourself change.

You can use the same drain pan to catch the oil for disposal, but you may need new o-rings for the drain plug and a reusable fitting to fill the oil (about $25.00). Lower unit oil is a special, higher viscosity oil specifically for gears. As of this article, it costs about $15.00 for a quart. Most small outboards use less than a pint of oil.

If you hire someone to change the crankcase oil, you might as well have them do the lower unit, especially if they have a minimum labor charge to visit your boat.


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FAQs

How much is an engine oil change? ›

An average oil change can cost anywhere from $20 to $60 or more, according to prices advertised by major retailers on Oct. 13, 2021. If you take your vehicle to a shop for an oil change, they will charge you for a variety of items, including: New oil filter: Cost can vary depending on your vehicle.

How often should you change oil in boat engine? ›

Frequent oil changes ward off breakdowns and extend the life of your boat engine(s) by thousands of hours. Engine manufacturers typically recommend an oil change every 100 hours, and at least once a year.

How much is an oil change on an outboard motor? ›

The schedule for engine oil changes varies depending on the outboard manufacturer, but plan for it after every 50-100 hours of use. For a typical 150HP outboard, you'll likely pay a mechanic between $160-$190 for an oil change when you factor in supplies and labor.

Why do oil changes cost so much? ›

There are valid reasons for this big span, mainly relating to your choice of oil. Conventional oil (made from fossil fuel) is the least expensive option. A blend of conventional and synthetic bases is the next step up. The most expensive oil is fully synthetic (especially used in luxury cars).

Is it cheaper to change your own oil or get it done? ›

So, is it cheaper to change your own oil? By doing this task yourself, you'll save between $25 and $75 per oil change, depending on the type of oil and filter you use.

How much does it cost to have oil changed on boat? ›

If your boat has a single-engine and you opt to change the engine oil yourself, it should cost you about $50 to $75. This depends on the kind of oil you need and also the oil filter. If you take your boat to a professional, they may charge you upwards of $300 to get your oil changed.

How much does boat engine maintenance cost? ›

A typical boat motor oil change costs between $160 to $190 (Boats 2021) Most boat manufacturers advise going for an oil change after 50-100 hours of use. The $160-$190 range is contingent on if you choose to hire a mechanic.

Why should a boat gas tank never be full? ›

It's important to never fill the tank of your boat beyond 90% full. This leaves room for gas to expand and avoids the potential for overflow. Ensure that all air vents and valves to the gas tank are open. After you're done fueling, tightly replace the gas cap.

How long does oil last in a boat? ›

Frequency. Most engine manufacturers recommend that you change your oil every 50-100 hours (check your owner's manual for your engine's exact interval requirements). This applies to both gasoline and diesel engines.

How often should outboard engines be serviced? ›

Annual Service

Most outboard, sterndrive and gasoline inboard engines require basic service every 100 hours or annually.

How often should 4 stroke outboard oil be changed? ›

Much like how cars should receive an oil change every thirty-thousand miles, your outboard lower unit oil requires changing every one-hundred hours the boat is in operating. Without regular lower unit oil changes, you run the risk of damage occurring in the engine.

How long can a boat motor run without oil? ›

Engines can work without oil, but the effect is so damaging they are only capable of running for less than 30 minutes until failing - and in most cases, it's a lot quicker than that.

How many gallons of oil do you put in boat? ›

Small speedboat (12–20 feet): 6–20 gallons. Sailing yacht (33–45 feet) : 30–120 gallons. Motor yacht (40–60 feet) : 200–1,200 gallons. Large tanker truck: 5,000–10,000 gallons.

How many hours should a boat engine last? ›

The average marine gasoline engine runs for 1,500 hours before needing a major overhaul. The average marine diesel engine will run for more than three times that long and log an average 5,000 hours under the same conditions.

Is $100 for an oil change a lot? ›

The cost of an oil change can range from $20 to $100 at a lube shop (and around $30 to $45 if you do it yourself).

How much should an oil change cost in 2022? ›

Conventional typically costs the least, while full synthetic is the priciest. As of May 2022, the average cost of an oil change based on six nationwide franchises is $31.66 for the most basic service with no extra quarts, and $75.32 for top service with no extra quarts.

What happens if you go too long without an oil change? ›

Skipping an oil change leads to the vehicle's oil thinning over time and catching a buildup of metal, dirt, and other particles. Over time the oil will become abrasive and wear down on vital engine parts. It is crucial to follow a maintenance schedule that fits both your vehicle needs and your driving style.

How can I save money on an oil change? ›

Stop getting oil changes every 3,000 miles

I have asked my oil change company to make my dash sticker say 7,500 miles until it needs it again. They also will do free top offs anytime if you feel you are getting lower on oil too. So by not getting your oil changed so frequently you can save up to 50% off.

Are expensive oil changes worth it? ›

In other words, findings suggest an expensive oil may not provide any additional benefit to the helping an engine last longer, despite additives. “When you look at the chemical breakdown of each of these oils, there's very, very little difference between them.

What is the best place to get an oil change? ›

Best Places to Get an Oil Change
  • Your Vehicle Dealership. In terms of quality, this is usually the top-of-the-line. ...
  • Big Name Service Station. ...
  • Lube Stop, Jiffy Lube, Pep Boys, Valvoline Instant Oil Change, Any Other 10-Minute Oil Change Service.
24 Sept 2021

How much is boat maintenance monthly? ›

The average maintenance cost will be roughly $255 dollars per month for boats under 30' or just under $3,000 per year. As you can see, most of these costs are longterm recurring maintenance costs. Some of these might not apply to your situation.

How long does synthetic oil last in a boat? ›

Synthetic oil is more commendable than the conventional one, specifically with boat engines that have the high horsepower.
...
Types of engines.
Type of engineIdeal oil change interval
Extensively used50 hours
New one20 hours (very first change oil) and 100 hours will follow
3 more rows
3 Nov 2022

How often does a boat need maintenance? ›

As a rule of thumb, you'll want to change the engine oils, engine oil filters, and fuel filters once a year or every 100 hours of engine runtime.

What is basic maintenance for a boat? ›

Generally speaking, boat maintenance involves keeping your boat clean and lubricated. Just as you wouldn't drive your car without engine oil, you wouldn't want to take your boat out for a ride without proper fluid levels. Likewise, you probably know weather and debris can damage your car's exterior over time.

How often should your boat engine be serviced and why? ›

External engine components, check bolts are tight on prop shaft couplings, every three months. Steering and propulsion, check for leaks and corrosion, every three months. Hydraulic systems, check level and top up oil, every three months. Steering and propulsion, check and adjust as necessary, every four months.

What does boat maintenance include? ›

What maintenance is necessary on a boat? Engine, hull and topsides, electrical, plumbing, HVAC, moving parts, and canvass and upholstery all need to be maintained on a boat.

How many hours on a boat is considered high? ›

Unless you are looking at a really high hour boat (2,000+ hours) there are typically very few drawbacks to the number of hours a boat has. In fact, a boat with normal hours (50-75 per year) will often time run better than a boat with low hours.

Should you fill your tank to the brim? ›

Filling up to the brim is fine but make sure not to overfill your gas tank past the fuel cap. There are some breather valves and drain holes near your gas cap to keep your fuel from getting contaminated with water and other debris.

What is the problem with using your boat's engine to drive it onto a trailer? ›

NOTE - While many people drive the boat onto the trailer, it isn't advised. Using the engine to assist trailering erodes the ramp bed, can lead to debris being sucked into the engine, and can cause an accident!

Can you use car oil in a boat? ›

Use the right lubricant —Marine and auto oil are not interchangeable. Although oil in a four-stroke marine engine performs the same function as it does in an automobile engine, passenger car motor oil should not be used in marine engines. The two primary reasons for this: water and wear.

Should I use synthetic oil in my boat? ›

It's a bit more expensive, but depending on how much you use your boat, synthetic engine oils can last an entire boating season.” As Becker mentions, another advantage of synthetics is extended oil life. With the greater durability of full-synthetic oils, boat engines can go longer between drain intervals.

How long can you leave fuel in boat? ›

Within three to four weeks unleaded fuel starts to degrade particularly in warm weather. The degraded fuel can clog the fuel system which is potentially costly to repair. The storage life of petrol in the tank is one month, but it can be extended occasionally by topping up with one-third fresh fuel.

What is a 100 hour service on a boat? ›

Service Description

This is probably a boat owners most important service, it helps keep your engine safe and running properly and it prevents further more expensive damage and repairs down the road. Most 100hr/yearly services include: Water pump kit / impeller. Spark plugs. Engine grease / prop shaft grease.

What does a 100 hour service include? ›

Basic Yamaha 100 hour maintenance consists of: Change Engine Oil. Change Engine Oil Filter. Change Fuel Filters.

What does a 100 hour service consist of? ›

100 Hour Service (Every 100 Hours or 1 Year)

Replace engine oil, oil filter, gear oil, spark plugs, and fuel filter. Replace boat-mounted fuel filter. Inspect/grease propeller.

Do I need to flush my outboard after every use? ›

A full flushing of the motors must be done after every use, and it's recommended every six weeks if it's been sitting in storage. It's important to run the motors long enough for the thermostat to open, allowing the fresh water to flush the salt from the entire powerhead.

Should you run outboard before changing oil? ›

Before changing oil, it's a good idea to run the engine a few minutes to let the oil warm up and flow, allowing any contaminates to move from the bottom of the pan. Let the engine cool before changing the oil, so you don't burn yourself on it.

How many hours is a 4 stroke outboard good for? ›

Petrol outboards will usually last a little longer. Some commercial operators getting 2000-3000 hours out of their four-stroke outboards, but these are usually the lower HP models. People often compare hours on an old boat with commercial operators.

How often should a boats oil be changed? ›

Frequent oil changes ward off breakdowns and extend the life of your boat engine(s) by thousands of hours. Engine manufacturers typically recommend an oil change every 100 hours, and at least once a year.

How long can a boat sit without running? ›

One of the most commonly-asked questions we get is, “Is it okay if my boat isn't running for a while in Fort Lauderdale, FL?” The answer is yes—but you have to do some maintenance beforehand. As long as it's well maintained before going into storage, a boat can sit for a few months, a few years or even a few decades.

How often should you check a boats engine oil? ›

Check the oil and fluid levels before every outing. Change the oil according to the owner's manual. As the engine ages, increase the frequency of oil changes.

What is the best oil to use for a boat? ›

  1. Quicksilver 4-Stroke EFI Marine Oil. $20.50 Amazon → Buy on Bass Pro → ...
  2. Red Line 40605 2-Stroke Race Oil. $86.21 Amazon → Buy on Walmart → ...
  3. Sierra 25W40 Boat Oil. $44.56 Amazon → Buy on Walmart → ...
  4. Mercury 4-Stroke Marine Engine Oil. $50.95 Amazon → Buy on Bass Pro → ...
  5. Lucas Oil Semi-Synthetic 2-Cycle Oil. $40.49 Amazon →
7 Oct 2022

How much is marine oil per gallon? ›

Converting to the U.S. System

How do you calculate the gas to oil mixture for a two-stroke boat motor in the United States? For a 50:1 ratio each gallon of gas requires 2.6 oz of two-stroke engine oil. For a 40:1 ratio each 1 gallon (gal) of gas requires 3.2 ounces (oz) of oil.

How much oil does a boat motor take? ›

Most procedures to do this are quite easy and will help in the longevity of your boat. Most gas inboards or I/Os will take anywhere from 4.0 to 7.0 quarts of oil and in some cases more. Check on the capacity of your engine from the owner's manual or tech pub.

Is 500 hours low for a boat? ›

How many hours is good for a used boat? A used boat powered by an outboard motor or gas inboard with less than 1000 hours is a boat worth considering a purchase. A diesel-powered boat with 3000 to 5000 hours that has been maintained well is also a boat that may be worth owning.

How far can a motor boat go 7 hours? ›

A motor boat can travel 30 km upstream and 28 km downstream in 7 hours.

How far can a motor boat go in 4 hours? ›

So the boat will cover 72km In 4hrs. Was this answer helpful?

How often does a car need an oil change? ›

On average, vehicles are estimated to need an oil change every 3,000 miles or every six months. This can vary based on your driving habits, your driving frequency, the age of your vehicle, and the quality of the oil you use. If you drive a newer vehicle, you might be able to safely wait a little longer between changes.

How much does it cost for an oil change UK? ›

In general, an oil and filter change costs about £100 but it can range from £25 – £200.

Are oil changes worth it? ›

Over the course of two years and 30,000 miles, assuming that your oil change costs $60 a pop, you could save $360 if you get it changed every 7,500 miles vs. every 3,000 miles. It's not just about miles: If you don't drive your car a lot, your oil still needs to be kept fresh.

Does full service include oil change? ›

A car service can involve up to 50 or more components, systems checks and adjustments including: An engine oil change and/or filter replacement. Checking lights, tyres, exhaust and operations of brakes and steering.

What happens if you don't change your oil for 2 years? ›

When oil has not been changed for a long time, it will begin to gel or solidify in an engine, eventually turning into sludge. When this happens, the oil will not be able to reach all parts of the engine, leading to oil starvation in the crankshafts, bearings, camshafts, and other valve train components.

How long can I go without an oil change? ›

Most vehicles will need an oil change every 5,000 to 7,000 miles. If you're using synthetic oil, the maximum oil change interval increases to about 10,000 miles. Keep in mind that those numbers are general guidelines and that the actual interval will depend on your car's make and model.

What is included in an oil change? ›

What Is Included in a Full-Service Oil Change? When you get a full-service change, an auto technician will change your car's motor oil with the type that it needs, which could be conventional, synthetic, synthetic blend, or high-mileage oil. You'll also have your used oil and oil filter replaced and recycled.

How long does an oil service take? ›

Usually, servicing a vehicle takes between 3 and 5 hours.

Can I do an oil change myself? ›

Changing the oil in your car is something that any DIYer can do. Although changing the oil might appear rather “duh,” there are still a lot of folks doing it wrong, making it an ugly chore. An oil change is the most important task you can do to make your engine last.

How much do oil changes cost 2022? ›

Conventional typically costs the least, while full synthetic is the priciest. As of May 2022, the average cost of an oil change based on six nationwide franchises is $31.66 for the most basic service with no extra quarts, and $75.32 for top service with no extra quarts.

Can you tell a difference after an oil change? ›

“Your car gets several noticeable benefits from an oil change. You'll likely notice that your car gets better gas mileage due to better engine lubrication. It also boosts compression and reduces friction, which can make your acceleration slightly better, as well as your overall driving.

How often should spark plugs be changed? ›

Spark plugs are designed for long-term durability, meaning that they only need to be replaced between every 80,000 and 100,000 miles. However, they can become damaged earlier than expected and require replacements to avoid pricey engine repairs.

How long does a full service take? ›

Typically, a full service (or master service) will take around 3 – 4 hours to complete. An interim (Short) service is often half the time – usually around an hour and a half.

How much does 50000 mile service cost? ›

Assuming 5,000 miles per oil change, this gives us the cost of maintenance required per mile).
...
$0.00.
How Do Maintenance Costs Vary With Mileage?
MileageTotal Maintenance Costs per 25k Miles
0- 25,000$1,400
25,000 - 50,000$2,200
50,000 - 75,000$3,000
6 more rows
21 Jul 2016

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