How to buy a jet ski

Don’t forget to get the accessories you’ll need with your Jet Ski!

Some of these sites did offer some good advice but from all the years of selling and working on Jet Skis I’ve complied my own list of things I look out for when selling or buying a Jet Ski that will be very useful to you. I’m not going to say I know everything about selling and buying a Used Jet Ski but I have sold and bought a few hundred so I do have some pointers and tips that you might find useful.

Don’t Buy 2-Stroke Jet Ski
I made this the first one because its got to be the most important one. Some manufactures still to this day make 2-sroke Jet Ski’s but that does not mean you should consider one. 2-Stroke Engines are being phased out since they pollute so much more than 4-Stroke Engines. Parts are getting harder to find which means shops are less likely to work on them.

About the only thing 2-Stroke Jet Skis are good for is parts. Just about every 2-Stroke I run into these days has low compression or something else major wrong with it.

If you’re wonder what a 2-Stroke Jet Ski looks like is to check to see if it has a dip-stick. A 2-Stroke Jet Ski will not have a Dip Stick since it burns the oil instead while a 4-Stroke will have a dip stick.

Engine Hours Don’t Really Matter
When reading the News article they said a Jet Ski is made to last for only 300 hours. I burst out laughing when I read this. Yes 300 hours is quite a lot of hours but I’ve seen Jet Skis with over 300 hours last longer than some with under 50 hours.

Would I buy a Jet Ski with 300 hours on it? Probably. It really all depends on the shape of the craft, the compression, the pump, the hull, and many other factors.

Tip: Buy a Compression Gauge to check compression of each cylinder. You want the compression to be above 100PSI and each cylinder to be close to each other.

When a watercraft has 300 hours on it that tells me that they had 300 enjoyable hours. Someone with that many hours has really taken care of the Jet Ski to be able to achieve that many hours.

I’ve seen a couple low hour Jet Skis blow up because it was never taken care of. So what I’m really trying to say is that don’t base your buying decision on engine hours as there is many more important factors to consider such as maintenance, hull condition, and water testing.

Water Test It!
This should be common sense, never buy a used Jet Ski unless they let you water test it. When Water Testing it make sure the watercraft takes off instantly. It doesn’t usually matter the power of the Jet Ski as they all take off like a rocket. Also check the RPM’s, you want something over 7000 RPMs but this can be different for every ski.

Basically when you go full throttle with the Jet Ski it should put a smile on your face!

Check For Damages
The first thing I check is the seats on a Jet Ski. If the Seats are tearing it means that the person never really kept a cover on the watercraft. If you’re too lazy to put a cover on a Jet Ski then that also means you’re too lazy to regular maintenance.

Slight tears on the seat is not that bad. There’s going to be some tears on seats of jet ski’s 8 years or older. This is due to people riding it and bouncing up and down when they ride. It’s when you have chunks of seat missing is when you need to worry, not tears where people sit. You can always get a seat cover to replace the old seat. Seat covers may need a upholstery person to install it.

Fiberglass damage is to be expected on used Jet Skis. No one is perfect and docking can be hard to do on a watercraft so do expect some damage. I don’t usually sweat the small stuff like fiberglass damage smaller than a quarter but I do concern my self with fiberglass damage on the bottom of the ski. You’ll have some marks on the bottom of the watercraft from someone beaching it but if you have chunks missing from the bottom of the watercraft then run very far from that deal.

Check for Rust around the engine and pump. If the paint on the engine is flaking off I would avoid the craft as it just a matter of time before you have some issue. When it comes to rust you’ll get some electrical problem in the future due to the grounds getting corroded and giving you crazy errors on your gauge.

Make sure you get your local dealer to check it out before you write the check. Your dealer will know about all the quirks about that particular model and can tell you things that you might have over looked. Your dealer can also check the compression and pump for any damage. Low compression means the engine is blown and you should avoid any watercraft with a blown engine.

Consider New
Why are you buying a used watercraft? Price? Did you know Seadoo makes a new Jet Ski that starts at $5,199 in 2016? Its called the Spark and it really has hurt the used market. You get a new Jet Ski with a warranty for the price of used jet ski. The Spark is half the cost, half the weight, uses a third of the gas of a normal Jet Ski.

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