Yearly Jet Ski Maintenance
There are few things more enjoyable in life than spending a day on the water having fun. A jet ski lets you have high-speed fun in the sun, but there are a few maintenance tasks you need to keep up with to ensure the fun goes on for years. Let’s take a look at the main yearly jet ski maintenance tasks needed for a well-maintained machine.
1. Check the owner’s manual
The biggest tip in yearly jet ski maintenance of any sort is to check the owner’s manual before you undertake a task. While all jet skis serve the same function of riding on water, they are all different in important ways and you might end up damaging your vessel if you go against the owner’s manual. For example, the manual will tell you the exact steps you should take when doing important tasks such as oil changes, the proper ratio of fuel to oil for engine fluids, and other elements of maintenance specific to your make and model. If you do not have an owner’s manual because you bought the ski used, you should still make an effort to find the maintenance suggested for your year and model to the best of your ability.
2. Get/perform an oil change
An oil change is essential to the overall life of your vessel and should be a top priority. While an oil change should be done at a minimum of every year, it will also depend on how often you ride the jet ski. The general rule of thumb is to get an oil change every year or every 100 hours of riding or whichever comes first. Obviously, the matter of how often you ride it will determine how frequent your oil changes should be so keep this in mind. While you are doing an oil change, you should also check the filter. If there are signs of damage on the filter, replace it promptly. If the filter is dirty, you should definitely clean it because there is no sense in doing an oil change and keeping the filter dirty.
3. Maintain engine fluids
The engine is the heart of this fun vessel and requires special care to ensure a long life. The engine fluids should be checked yearly, if not more often depending on how much you ride, to avoid your engine locking up or taking on damage. If you have a 2-stroke engine, the engine most likely requires a mixture of oil and fuel to a ratio specified in your owner’s manual. If you have a 4-stroke engine, it most likely will not require a mixed solution. A 4 stroke will still need to have the oil and fuel levels checked as they are both closely related to engine performance and health. You should also check coolant levels if your model uses coolant.
4. Check for damages
One of the most important yearly jet ski maintenance tips is to check for damages or loose parts. If you have damaged areas, loose wires, or stripped nuts, this can lead to a host of issues such as accidents, loss of power or failure, or being stuck out on the water with a dead jet ski. Part of a yearly checkup is checking for any signs of wear and tear such as extensive wear, damages, or missing parts. You want to check important elements such as throttle cables, trim, wires, bolts, and any exterior aspects such as body damage, footboard wear, and seat damage. You should also check for other signs of trouble of a deeper nature such as a fuel smell, shuddering, or strange noises when you start it up. These can all indicate a mechanical problem requiring attention before your next ride.
5. Check all seals/bearings
You should add lubricant to all O-rings and bearings at least once a year. This will ensure a longer life for the seals and bearings while also ensuring everything works the way it was intended. You also want to check that all nuts and bolts are properly tightened down to avoid any issues or loose parts. If you find any broken rings or missing bolts, you should promptly replace them before your next ride.
6. Do a deep clean
A jet ski spends a lot of time in the water. From the salt water of the ocean to the algae of a lake, there are a lot of ways for a jet ski to get dirty. While you probably rinse your ski off after every ride, it still needs a more intense deep clean at least once a year, if not more often, depending on how much you ride it. A deep clean should be focused on removing all the buildup on the hull and floorboard as well as detailing areas such as handles, seat, port, and any hardware areas with buildup. This will help prolong your machine by preventing erosion and rust caused by buildup or moisture in metal areas. Make sure you check the owner’s manual for the right way to clean your jet ski and always thoroughly dry it to avoid any rust.
7. Go over the preseason/winterize checklist
Part of maintaining your ride for the year is to make sure you have a checklist for the two most important times of the year. At the start of winter or off-season, you should have a list of maintenance tasks similar to the ones listed here which you perform prior to storing the jet ski. At the start of a new riding season, you will have a second checklist of maintenance tasks related to getting back out on the water. The checklists may have overlapping tasks, but you can decide when to perform them in terms of the start or end of the riding season.