It should go without saying that regular and thorough maintenance of your jet ski is essential to its continued smooth running and your ongoing safety. However there are some essential maintenance tasks that are too often neglected. We give some advice on how to maintain your jet ski.
Jet Ski Maintenance Schedules
All jet skis should come with an operating manual which includes details of the manufacturer recommended maintenance schedule. This will include maintenance tasks and explain when they are due, for example pre-season, yearly or after a certain number of operating hours. We recommend setting calendar reminders to prompt you when scheduled maintenance tasks are due.
- Unless specifically instructed otherwise, always turn off the engine before starting maintenance.
- Be aware that maintenance involves moving parts, hot parts, chemicals and other hazards.
- Always replace locking devices should these need to be removed during maintenance.
- Always supply water to the exhaust system while running the engine.
- Never run the engine out of the water for more than 2 minutes.
- Only check coolant levels when the engine is cold.
- Exhaust system flushing should only be completed in a well-ventilated area.
Jet ski fault codes should never be ignored and are particularly important during the pre-season maintenance check.
As well as being undertaken as part of the pre-season maintenance schedule, these pre-ride inspections should be completed before each jet ski ride and include: battery charge, starting ability, bungs, engine oil, fuel levels and seat integrity.
Engine Oil Level and Oil Filter Replacement
The engine oil check should be ongoing throughout the season but is also an essential part of the pre-season maintenance schedule. Refer to the manufacturer’s operating manual for guidance as to recommended engine oil. Whilst it is possible to check oil levels with the craft either in or out of the water, remember that the ride plate can become very hot if the engine is operated while the jet ski is out of the water.
The engine oil and oil filter should be replaced every year during the jet ski pre-season maintenance checks.
Spark Plugs and Ignition Coils
Check the spark plug and ignition coils and replace as necessary. Before removing the spark plug from the ignition coil, disconnect it from the wiring harness to avoid issues with flammable gases in the bilge. Always check that the contacting surfaces of the spark plug and cylinder head are clean before installation.
An anticorrosion lubricant should be sprayed onto metal parts contained within the engine compartment. NB As well as being part of the pre-season maintenance, this should be done every 10 hours when the craft is used in salt water.
The exhaust system should be inspected for loose hoses or clamps and any leakage. NB The exhaust system requires regular daily flushing with fresh water if the craft has been used in dirty or salt water.
It is important to check the engine coolant’s density before deciding whether or not to replace it. Check the manufacturer’s manual for suggested coolants; these should always be ethylene-glycol based antifreeze with specific corrosion inhibitors for aluminium internal combustion engines. Only mix brands or grades of coolant if you are completely flushing and refilling the system.
Check the coolant system for leaks and complete a visual check of the hoses and fasteners.
Fuel stabiliser helps to keep the jet ski fuel system protected from varnish deposits. Manufacturers recommend that fuel stabiliser is used during storage and prior to engine lubrication. Check the fuel system for leaks and always ensure that there is no water in the fuel tank.
The electrical connections and fastening should be carefully checked. This should include fuse boxes, starting systems and the ignition system.
The bilge should be drained through the appropriate drain plugs. The engine compartment should be cleaned thoroughly with bilge cleaner or detergent and hot water and Sea Doo lube should be sprayed over any metal components.
Body and Hull
Only use a mild detergent with water on the body of your jet ski and never use salt water to rinse it. After cleaning, check for bodywork damage (this should be referred to your authorised dealer) and a suitable marine wax can be applied to the body of fiberglass craft . If possible, store your jet ski inside or if outside using a fitted canvas cover.
The jet pump housing requires inspection for damage and the jet pump should be cleaned and then lubricated. The engine should NOT be running for this procedure.
The following checks should also be completed according to the manufacturer’s maintenance manual:
- Inspect and lubricate the throttle body, the intake manifold and their connecting socket.
- Check for damage on the air intake hoses and clamps.
- Inspect the bushings on the jet pump housing.
- Inspect the drive shaft rubber boot and the carbon ring.
- Measure the impeller and impeller wear-ring clearance. Check the condition of both and that the impeller has adequate shaft radial play.
- Check and lubricate the drive shaft and impeller splines.
- Inspect the iBR protective guard.
- Check the iBR gate backlash.
- Check the iBR gate, the VTS trim ring and the reverse support.
- Check the engine rubber mounts.
Planning and sticking to a regular jet ski maintenance schedule is vital if you want to ensure the continued enjoyment and safety of your jet ski. If you are not confident about performing any of these checks then ask a member of our service team for advice and a quote.
Russell Powerboats can make your Jet Ski maintenance as easy as you would like it to be. For more information about maintenance, servicing, hull repairs and much more please contact Russell Powerboats on 01252 877337