Most of you have probably seen many articles about buying a used boat. Most of them offer advice concerning price. For instance, "buy at the end of the month when the salesman's quotas are not filled", or "buy at the end of the year to get a good price on last year's models." Most of the comments here will not be concerning the price of a boat because it is my opinion that price is not the most important consideration in boat buying. If you believe that price is important in buying a used boat tell me in which of these two examples the buyer got a "better deal".
- Buyer pays $1000 less than book value for his boat and every time he walks by it in the garage he says to himself "I wish I had never bought that piece of xxxx, it doesn't do what I wanted and I don't think it has ever run right.
- Buyer pays $1000 more than book value for his boat and every time he walks past his boat he says "I'm glad we bought that boat, my family loves it and it does everything we expected of it. I don't see how we could ever get along without it now." In my opinion, Buyer 2 got a much "better deal" than buyer 1, even though he paid $1000 more than book value for his boat. The purpose of this example is to show that things like quality, service, suitability for the intended use, and condition are much more important that price alone.
You just bought your first boat and want to establish a good relationship with a mechanic. Or, your outboard is displaying some unwanted symptoms; you want to get it checked out, but you're not sure where to go or what to look for in a mechanic. You are right to assume that you are about to make a very important choice. A good outboard mechanic is sometimes hard to find and if you, yourself, don't know anything about outboard motors, that just makes the choice harder. After all, you need a mechanic you can trust to do good quality work at a fair price and will be available when you need him.
There are several things to consider when looking for the right mechanic:
There is an on-going debate about aftermarket (hereafter referred to as AM parts) versus original equipment parts from the manufacturer (hereafter referred to as OEM parts). Discussions can be seen on the internet and heard around the table at marine conferences in any part of the country. Regardless of the location, the debating parties are saying about the same. The OEM seller says that his parts are higher in quality and the AM seller says his parts are equal in quality but lower in price. Neither if these statements is true all the time. Let me start by saying that I do not have a dog in this fight. On my web site we give our customers both the numbers of the OEM parts, and we also give them any aftermarket cross reference numbers so they can buy OEM or aftermarket from us or anyone else. In my dealership here in Parsons, Kansas we also offer both parts.
The first issue is quality. OEM wins here, but the quality difference varies greatly between AM companies. While the quality from one AM company is nearly equal to the OEM’s, other AM parts will be far below the OEM quality. It would be almost impossible for the average consumer to find out which AM company makes high quality parts and which does not. Also understand that an AM company that sells good oil seals may sell low quality water pump impellers. One other factor to consider is that OEM parts are “over engineered”. This means that the average impeller should be changed every 2-3 years, but the OEM impellers are tested to go 10-20 years. Is it necessary for you to buy an impeller that may last 20 years if you change yours every 2 years?
Add a water separating filter between your fuel tank and your engine. There are two reasons for this addition. First is that a 10 micron filter helps keep debris out of your engine’s fuel system. A fuel injector that becomes clogged with dirt or debris means that cylinder can run lean possibly causing a catastrophic engine failure. Second, with the increased amount of ethanol in fuels this filter will remove the water/ethanol before it reaches your engine.