How is the usage time measured on an outboard motor?

Outboard motors are an essential part of any boater’s equipment, providing the necessary power to push their vessel through the water. However, it’s important to keep track of how long your outboard motor has been in use, as it will indicate when the motor needs to be serviced, and when the next oil change is due. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at how usage time is measured on an outboard motor.

There are several ways to measure usage time on an outboard motor, with the most common methods being hours of operation and tachometer readings.

Hours of Operation

The most straightforward way to measure usage time on an outboard motor is by tracking the number of hours it’s been running. Many modern outboard motors feature an hour meter that automatically records the operation time. These meters typically work by monitoring the electrical supply to the motor and will start ticking away as soon as you switch your motor on.

If your motor doesn’t have an hour meter, you can use a stopwatch to manually log the time. Start the stopwatch when you first start the motor and stop it when you finish your boating session. Make sure to keep a record of your readings, as they’ll provide valuable information for servicing and maintenance schedules.

Tachometer Readings

Another way to measure usage time on an outboard motor is by using a tachometer. A tachometer measures the number of revolutions per minute (RPM) that the motor is making, and this can be used to determine how long the motor has been running. Different outboard motors have different RPM ranges, so it’s important to check your user manual to determine what your motor’s RPM range is.

To use a tachometer, simply connect it to your outboard motor’s spark plug. Start the motor and watch the tachometer. It will display the RPM of the motor, and by referring to your motor’s user manual, you can determine how many minutes the motor would need to run at that RPM to accumulate an hour of operation.

There are several ways to measure the usage time on an outboard motor, but they all come down to measuring how long the machine has been running. Whether you use hours of operation or tachometer readings, keeping track of your outboard motor’s usage time is essential for ensuring it’s running in top condition and is serviced and maintained correctly.

Have something to add or correct? Please let us know by clicking here.
* See disclaimer in the footer of the site for use of this content.

Related Questions


Latest Posts

Don't Miss

Our Newsletter

Get the latest boating tips, fishing resources and featured products in your email from!