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Tips for Buying a Used Jet Ski – Part II

In ” Tips for Buying a Used Jet Ski – Part I ” we discussed five important useful tips for you, here are five more tips for buying a used jet ski.

wet-bike-2-874391-mThe last thing you want when operating your jet ski is for it to stop at inopportune times, leaving you stranded in the water and in need of a tow. This can happen because of loose wires. If you’re planning to buy a used jet ski, ensure the terminals are secure on the battery. Be sure to look for any bare wires hanging out that could cause the jet ski’s electronics to short out. This could fry out your starter, ignition and electronics. Wires should be properly taped. Look for any corroded wires which could cause the jet ski to not run well or at all.

Check used jet skis for any sign of overheating. Overheated jet ski motors turn the color of the head a different color. So if the motor is white but the head is tan or light brown, the motor overheated at one time and probably has engine damage. The same is true of the exhaust’s color. If it looks like it’s been toasted, it’s not the jet ski for you. Have a mechanic you know and trust evaluate the jet ski’s cylinder, exhaust system and head.
If you plan to buy a used jet ski, be prepared to crawl around the jet ski so you can examine the pump and impeller. Bring a flashlight so you can see clearly into the pump. You shouldn’t see any rocks or debris. Inspect the stationary vans in the pump housing to make sure they are in good condition. On the other side of the pump is the impeller. Be sure there aren’t any plastic bags, tow ropes or fishing line wrapped around it. The impeller looks like an outboard blade that’s tucked inside the pump. Make sure the blades don’t have any chunks missing or any chewed edges. If this is damaged, the jet ski won’t go very fast or run as efficiently. Use your flashlight to inspect for proper clearance around the impeller inside the pump. If the pump and impeller has to be replaced it can cost a few to several hundred dollars.

When it comes to inspecting the hull, don’t forget to examine the bottom. Big chunks of missing gel coat or places where the fiberglass is coming through is a big concern. This could indicate a weak spot in the hull. A weak spot can crack or fail while you’re riding it. Even when the jet ski is in the water, the motor needs to stay dry. This is why it’s important to look at the entire jet ski. Older jet skis will show wear along the keel of the hull. What you don’t want to see are any holes or major cracks. If the hull appears to have been repaired in the past, make sure the repair has been done right. Car bondo is fine for a car fender but not when it comes to fixing a jet ski.

Finally, be sure you understand how to operate the jet ski you plan to buy. You need to know how to start and stop the jet ski. You should also know if the jet ski is one that has reverse and how it works. Know where the kill button is. You should know how to turn it upright if you flip it over in the water. Ask the seller if it has a fire extinguisher and safety flag. Some newer models have security tethers that are programmed (keyed) to the jet ski to prevent others from starting the jet ski without the keyed tether. Make sure the security tether works. A replacement security tether is very expensive and only can be provided by a authorized jet ski dealer.
If all this checks out and the price is right, make an offer. The summer and good weather won’t last forever!