Mercury Outboard Maintenance and Warranty
Many Mercury outboard owners prefer to service their own engines, but the big questions is whether or not doing so voids the warranty.
Before you start wondering whether servicing your outboard yourself affects the warranty, you need to be sure your outboard can actually be covered by a warranty. Mercury makes what the process for its outboards to be eligible for warranty coverage very clear.
The outboard must have been originally purchased from a Mercury dealer:
“Warranty coverage is available only to retail customers who purchase from a dealer authorized by Mercury Marine to distribute the Product.”
It also must have been inspected and documented:
“Warranty coverage is available only... after the Mercury Marine specified predelivery inspection (PDI) process is complete and documented.”
Finally, the outboard must be registered as sold by the Mercury dealer:
“Warranty coverage becomes available upon proper registration of the Product by an authorized dealer.”
Owner’s Maintenance Responsibility Under Mercury Outboard Warranty
When it comes to whether performing your own maintenance on your Mercury outboard invalidates the warranty, the following guidelines clear that up.
Mercury states that it is the purchaser’s responsibility to:
“Perform all regular maintenance in compliance with the schedule in the applicable Operation and Maintenance manual.”
So maintaining your own Mercury engine won’t void the warranty. In fact, Mercury goes on to stipulate that the purchaser:
“Maintain records of service and maintenance performed on Mercury Marine Products. Mercury Marine reserves the right to make warranty coverage contingent upon proof of proper maintenance.”
What this all means is that for the warranty to be valid, the outboard’s owner must ensure all the service and maintenance work listed in the maintenance schedule in the owner's manual is carried out at the prescribed intervals. The owner then must be able to prove to Mercury that this service and maintenance work was completed in a competent manner.
Outboard Maintenance Work You Can Do Under Mercury Warranty
What you need to be wary of when servicing your own outboard is whether you can prove to Mercury that “proper maintenance” was done.
In effect, what Mercury says is if you have the ability to complete a maintenance task to the same standard as a qualified marine mechanic, feel free to do so. However, if you don’t have the skill or ability to complete the task to that standard, leave the work to a professional.
Exactly which maintenance jobs you’re capable of doing yourself will vary according to your skills and the tools available to you. As a general rule, any maintenance work on the exterior of the powerhead or lower unit that simply requires removing and replacing a part would be considered maintenance work anyone can do themselves.
Any internal maintenance work requiring dismantling part of the powerhead or lower unit would be considered better suited to a more skilled DIY outboard owner or a qualified mechanic.
External outboard maintenance work includes:
- Inspect/replace fuel lines
- Grease zerks
- Inspect propeller nut
- Inspect/replace propeller
Internal outboard maintenance work includes:
- Inspect water pump
- Replace impeller
- Replace VST fuel filter
- Clean/replace fuel injectors
- Replace lower unit driveshaft seals
- Replace lower unit prop shaft seals
When you have any maintenance work completed by a mechanic, you’ll be given a breakdown of the work performed, invoices, etc. However, if you do the work yourself, keep receipts of any replacement parts and any other relevant documentation. It’s also a good idea to take photos or video as you go to provide visual proof that the work was done correctly.
Of course, once your Mercury outboard’s warranty expires, you can do whatever you want to your motor. Until then, follow the guidelines provided by Mercury and stick to them!