Used Jet Ski Buying Checklist

Best place to buy jet ski online guide

Best place to buy jet ski online guide. Jet Skis are synonymous with hot summer days at the beach and having a great time. Compared to seaworthy boats, they cost a fraction of the price and are much cheaper to maintain. A jet ski doesn’t have to be kept in the marina and can easily be towed on a small trailer.

This guide’s goal is to teach you how to purchase a used Jet Ski that has been well-maintained and runs without problems. There are many significant factors to consider that you may not find on a car or a motorcycle, so let us go through the used Jet ski buying checklist.

Exterior – Best place to buy jet ski online guide

The first thing to look at is the overall condition of the Jet Ski. Do this on land, preferably on a trailer where you can get sufficient access to the hull. Run your hand over the surfaces and look for imperfections. The rubber bumper should be relatively intact, and you don’t want to see cracked or missing pieces. 


Some scraping of the hull can be expected from aggressive landings and improper lifting on the trailer, but punctures are not tolerable. Whereas scrapes can be buffed out, punctures should be left to a professional. 


When seat upholstery cracks, water can quickly ruin it from the inside out. Depending on the degree of damage, the seat can still be usable. However, take into account how much reupholstering it would cost you. 

Storage – Best place to buy jet ski online guide

The front of the Jet Ski is usually reserved as a storage area. The cover should fit perfectly and easily open and close. Remove any clutter to get to the walls of the storage compartment. Excessive water, mud, and overall uncleanliness of the storage compartment signify neglect, poor cover seal, or even capsizing. The same ideology can be applied to other storage compartments.


Move the steering bar from side to side to see if there is any slack or binding. The motion should be evenly represented by the movement of the impeller and flaps. Ask the seller or your friend to handle the steering while you check the back. 

Hull Interior

Take off the seats to gain access to the engine bay and the inside of the hull. Punctures and holes may not be noticeable on the exterior, but they are rarely well-covered from the inside. Look for signs of oil spills that would leave a lasting mark on the hull. 

Engine – Best place to buy jet ski online guide

Compared to every other vehicle, Jet Ski engines have a very short lifespan. While a car can easily cross 100,000 miles without a problem, most Jet Ski engines can only operate for a few hundred hours. But don’t let this deter you from the purchase, as the average annual use doesn’t surpass 30 hours. 

Service Book

Maintenance logs are essential for every vehicle. However, when it comes to Jet Skis, they are absolutely necessary. Given the relatively low service life of the engine, maintenance must be performed on time and preferably by a professional. 

Running Hours – Best place to buy jet ski online guide

There are a few ways to determine how much a Jet Ski has been used. Nearly all modern Jet Skis have an hour gauge, but the maintenance logs can provide the figure if not. Taking the Jet Ski to a mechanic and running the diagnostics is the last resort, as it can be costly. 

Since the average lifetime of a Jet Ski engine is 300 hours, anything above 100 hours is considered high mileage. Depending on the budget, you could go with a model that runs for 200 hours, as long as it is 5-6 years old and has a complete service history. 


One of the most important decisions you will have to make is whether you want a Jet Ski with a supercharger. While it offers significantly more power, it also raises the price of the Jet Ski and has a lifespan of 100 to 200 hours. 

If you have decided to go with a supercharged Jet Ski, consult a professional before you purchase and ask for the documentation of the last rebuild. Otherwise, seek models that have less than 100 work hours. 

Oil And Coolant – Best place to buy jet ski online guide

Older, two-stroke engines can still be found, but they should be avoided in favor of the modern four-strokes. As four-stroke engines have oil, you need to check its level and quality. Look for signs of water, which make the oil look like a milkshake. Coolant needs to be clear and free of residue. Dark flakes indicate a sign of a worn gasket. 

Intake Grate & Impeller

You can inspect the intake grate for sticks, rocks, and other signs of poor maintenance from underneath. Jet Skis use an impeller that operates on different propeller principles, but this is irrelevant for the inspection. What matters is that the impeller doesn’t show signs of wear or dents, as it is an expensive component to replace.

Test Ride

Problems with the throttle, steering, or reverse on land can be a deal-breaking factor. However, even if everything seems operational, you should still do a test ride. The engine should easily overcome the resistance of water and the added weight of the rider. 

Try out different riding speeds, and listen carefully to engine noise as you accelerate to full speed. Jet Skis are all about subjective feelings. So even if it is fully functional, a test ride will tell you if it is the right model for you.

Summary – Best place to buy jet ski online guide

When making inquiries to inspect the Jet Ski in person, only consider options with detailed and legitimate service history. The short lifespan of the engine means that you should purchase a model that is less than five years old or used for less than 100 hours.

Your ability to properly gauge the quality of a Jet Ski will increase significantly after reading this guide. If you find a model that satisfies all of your criteria, we still recommend asking an experienced friend or a professional appraiser for a second opinion.

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