When purchasing an outboard motor there are many decisions to be made and choices to select from to ensure you are getting the perfect motor for your needs. There are obvious factors to consider, such as the right horsepower, two or four stroke, etc., but the outboard motor’s warranty can be something that is overlooked and can be a very important factor in selecting which motor would be best.
Not all of the outboard warranty choices are the same and there are options available from almost every manufacturer. Once you have narrowed down your selection of outboard motors and manufacturers a good look at the warranties offered may help decide one over the other.
The length of the warranty is probably the first factor to consider. Many manufacturers will offer a “standard” warranty for a certain period of time and then offer extensions to the factory warranty. It is important to keep in mind that if the motor is being used for commercial purposes or racing the standard warranty could be different from that of a motor that is being used for recreational purposes.
There is great debate as to whether extended warranties are worth the cost and it becomes a personal decision or judgment call. Reliability of the motor (known history of issues with that particular model), maintenance regime (or lack of one) and use of the motor could all play a part in determining if an extended warranty is worth the cost. If you decide it is for you then one could start with a three-year (common with a lot of manufacturers) standard warranty and pay extra for an extension of one, two or three years.
Generally speaking, if any of these additions are selected the cost increases but when broken down the longer the warranty purchased the less the cost of coverage per year. The length of the extension varies by manufacturer so take a look at the lengths offered and decide which works best for you. Factory extensions are not always necessary, such as with Honda Marine which offers a five-year warranty standard with its motors.
If you are considering obtaining an extended warranty it can be possible to shop for it. Manufacturers are almost always offering some kind of incentive with the purchase of a motor, such as a free warranty extension if purchased within a certain period, or cash back with a purchase. Good timing (and/or planning) could save you money and add to your warranty. If a deal doesn’t exist make your own. Negotiating the extended warranty could be a selling factor for your dealer.
If you are having a boat built for you or are not planning on using the motor right after the time of purchase you may find yourself with a shorter than stated warranty. It is important that your dealer works with you and does not register the motor with the manufacturer until the engine will actually be used. Most manufacturers consider the start of the warranty period the date that the motor is registered with them through the dealer. If the motor is purchased and registered three months prior to the boat being completed you just lost three months’ worth of coverage.
If you plan on getting an extended warranty or not it is important to consider the warranties offered by the manufacturer as they do differ from one to the other and are not all equal in their coverage. Does the warranty cover all engine parts? Is it a non-declining warranty or declining (when it is pro-rated over time)? Is it transferable if you decide to sell the boat? Is it a factory direct warranty or issued through a third party? These are all questions you should be considering.
The hope is you will never have to use the warranty and with the modern outboard maintained correctly the chances are you won’t have to. But if you do and you have done your homework first, you can get back out on the water with your wallet intact.