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Do Jet Skis Break Down a Lot? (Important Insights)

Do Jet Skis Break Down a Lot? (Important Insights)

Jet skiing is one of the best ways to have fun while out on the water. Gliding across the deep blue as the water splashes up in a picturesque stream is an exhilarating experience that will make you buy a Jet Ski if you don’t own one already. Do they break down a lot? How much will you spend on maintenance per year? 

Jet Skis don’t break down a lot if they are well-maintained. They are no different from other similar engines. For the best results, you should get a professional tune-up following the approved schedule for your Jet Ski model. 

The rest of the article will cover all you need to know about Jet Ski breakdowns and common causes. We’ll also cover all you need to know about how to prevent future breakdowns while out on the water. 

How Regularly Do Jet Skis Break Down?

Jet Skis may break down 1-2 times per year if they are well maintained. Such breakdowns are usually minor problems that an average user can repair. Serious breakdowns are rare on new and regularly serviced units. 

Jet Skis run on water, but that doesn’t make them more susceptible to breakdowns. The engines on modern units are well-equipped to deal with the demands of running on water. 

What Are Common Types of Jet Ski Breakdowns?

Some of the common types of Jet Ski breakdown include the following: 

  • Failure to ignite. A Jet Ski won’t start if the battery is not charged. Recharging the battery or using a spare can bring it back to life. 
  • Misfired engine. Some of the factors that can cause a misfired engine include water in the spark plugs, water contamination in the fuel, clogged injectors, and a faulty ignition coil. 
  • Water leaks. A water leak is a major problem that can cause your Jet Ski to sink. Common causes of leaks include loose compression fitting, bad main shaft seal, and wrongly fitted drain plugs. 

The bulk of these common causes of breakdown is a DIY project for any handy jet-skiing enthusiast. Even when the repairs need professional expertise, it won’t take long to get your PWC back on the water. 

How To Keep Your Jet Ski Properly Maintained and Avoid Regular Breakdowns

Here are tips you can work with to keep your Jet Ski properly maintained. 

Flush the Engine After Each Ride

Regardless of whether you’re out riding in salt or freshwater, it’s important to flush your PWC engines after every ride. Flushing the engine is the perfect way to get rid of salt, weeds, algae, shells, sand, etc., from the engine to prevent corrosion and avoid damage (source).

Modern Jet Skis come with a hose connector which simplifies cleaning the engine. All you need to do is: 

  1. Attach a hose to the connector before starting the engine. 
  2. Once it’s turned on, allow the hose to run for a few minutes while the engine is turned on. 
  3. Twist the PWC throttle a few times to ensure you push out all the water from the exhaust. 

Check for Loose or Damaged Parts

Before you take your Jet Ski out to the water, you need to look at the throttle cables, trim, and all wires to ensure there are no damaged or loose parts. If you find any problems, replace the affected part before heading out to the water. Don’t start your Jet Ski if you can smell fuel to avoid starting a fire. 

Keep Your Batteries Charged

The battery is the power source for your watercraft. Keep it fully charged between rides to ensure longevity. A properly charged battery will also reduce the risk of sulfate crystals forming on your battery plates.

If you allow sulfate formation, your battery’s ability to maintain a charge will drop significantly. Keep a maintenance charger on hand and always clean your battery terminals if you notice signs of dirt or corrosion. 

Use the Right Fluid for Your Engine

If your Jet Ski has a two-stroke engine, you’ll need to use premixed fuel and oil. New four-stroke engines will take fuel and engine oil in separate tanks. 

You should also avoid storing your craft with fuel inside at the end of the season without pouring in some fuel stabilizer. If you forget to use some, always pour in some stabilizer or fuel cleaner before you start the engine for a new season. 

Schedule Regular Professional Maintenance and Repairs

While some of the tips covered above are important to keep your Jet Ski running without a hitch all year, you still need to schedule a professional service every year. Professional technicians can handle larger issues and ensure potentially costly problems are nipped in the bud. 

During professional maintenance and repairs, some of the services you can expect include: 

  • Pump oil replacement 
  • Engine and oil filter changes 
  • Seals and fittings lubrication 

What’s the Right Maintenance Schedule for a Jet Ski?

The right maintenance schedule for a Jet Ski is a session every 25 to 50 hours of use on the water. For a new PWC, you may need your first maintenance after 10 hours of use, depending on your manufacturer. 

Modern jet skis also have built-in timers, which will remind you when you’re due for maintenance. Older watercraft may not have such alerts, so you’ll have to manually keep tabs on the hour meter to know when you need to service your craft.

If you bought a used PWC, be sure to confirm that the hour meter is delivering accurate readings. 

Final Thoughts

Jet Skis don’t break down frequently. They run efficiently year after year as long as the engine and other vital parts are well maintained. Neglecting maintenance is a sure way to invite costly repairs. 

Stick to your manufacturer’s maintenance schedule for the entire watercraft and apply some of the personal use tips we’ve covered above to avoid getting stranded out on the water. Some manufacturers may also have a different maintenance schedule for specific components, such as the supercharger. 

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