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Buying a Used Jet Ski – Essential Considerations

3 minutes read
20 Jul, 2023
News & Advice
By Bryony Edwards

10 Essential Considerations When Buying a Used Jet Ski for sale

Buying a used jet ski can be a daunting task, especially if you're new to the world of jet skiing. With a plethora of options available, it's essential to be well-informed before making a purchase. The team at Burton Waters are on hand to advise you with your new or used jet ski purchase and have a variety of new and used jet skis for sale. If buying a jet ski privately from a direct vendor, then there are certain things you will need to keep in mind. From potential hidden issues to ensuring optimal performance, here are ten crucial things to look for when buying a used jet ski:

1. Check Hours and Service History

Just like a car has its mileage, a jet ski has its operating hours. On average, a jet ski's lifespan varies dependant on engine type. A 2 stroke engine is between around 200-300 hours and a 4 stroke is between around 300-500 hours, which translates to several years of use for most recreational users. Ensure you inquire about the number of hours the jet ski has been used. Moreover, request access to the service logbook to assess its maintenance history. Regular servicing is vital for the jet ski's overall condition and performance.

2. Inspect for Water in the Hull

A small amount of water in the hull is normal, but if you find a substantial amount, it might indicate potential issues like leaks or poor drainage. Ensure the hull is adequately drained and inspect for any structural problems that may require attention before purchasing.

3. Check Security Features

Jet skis are often targeted by thieves, so inquire about the security measures in place. Different models have various anti-theft features such as security tabs, immobilizers, or pin/fob protection. Understanding the security level will help you assess the risk involved with the purchase.

4. Examine the Top Deck and Seats

Inspect the top deck and seats for wear and tear, especially in older models with higher usage. Look out for any signs of botched repairs or mismatched paintwork, which could indicate underlying issues. Check the seats for rips or loose stitching and inquire about any previous repairs or refits.

5. Perform a Water Test

Always take the jet ski for a water test to assess its performance firsthand. Check for warning lights, consistent RPMs, braking efficiency, fuel consumption, and the general feel of the engine, steering, and acceleration. A water test will provide valuable insights that might not be apparent during a static inspection.

6. Evaluate the Trailer

Don't forget to inspect the trailer's condition as well, if that is included in the sale. Look for signs of corrosion on the frame, check if the fittings align properly with the jet ski hull, and ensure the tail-lights are functional. Strength-test the straps and jockey wheel, and assess the condition of the tires. If the trailer is nearing the end of its typical 8-10 year lifespan, factor in the cost of a new trailer or necessary repairs into your overall budget. Our friends over at SBS Trailers offer incredible galvanised steel jet ski trailers with a lifetime guarantee, so speak to our team today about our inclusive jet ski and trailer offer!

7. Consider Additional Costs

Understand that owning a jet ski involves more expenses beyond the purchase price. Factor in costs for insurance, trailer maintenance, accessories, and routine maintenance and repairs. Being aware of these expenses will help you make an informed financial decision.

8. Know the Engine Type

Different jet ski models come with varying engine types, typically 2-stroke or 4-stroke. Familiarize yourself with the basics of these engines as they impact factors like weight, repairability, noise level, and longevity. Knowing which engine type suits your needs will influence your final decision.

9. Check the Bilge Pump

The bilge pump is crucial for removing excess water from the hull and preventing the jet ski from sinking. Ensure it works properly and ask the seller about its maintenance history to ensure safety and avoid potential problems.

10. Compression Test

Consider performing a compression test on the jet ski's engine to assess the condition of critical components like valves, valve seats, and piston rings. While these tests can be complex and need to be executed by a professional, they provide valuable insights into the engine's health, helping you make an informed decision. By keeping these ten points in mind, you'll be well-prepared to navigate the used jet ski market and find the perfect watercraft for your needs without falling prey to hidden issues or unscrupulous sellers.

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