The Ultimate Guide to Buy a Used Jet Ski

Used Jet Ski For Sale In Oslo

New & Used Jet Ski For Sale In West Virginia. Ahh, summer time. The time of year for outdoor adventures and lasting memories with family and friends. Trips to the lake or ocean is always a good time regardless of what you do once you get there, but people like you are looking to spice things up.

A personal watercraft purchase promises a good time. Most people’s eyes widen in shock when they see the new jet ski prices. Others can afford it, but would rather get more for their money. That’s why the used personal watercraft market is massive! Here’s what you should know before signing your name on the bill of sale.

Hours Are Just a Number 

It’s true. Do not let the number of hours on a ski be the only reason that deters you from getting it. The four strokes these days are much more reliable than the old two-stroke motors that only lasted a few hundred hours.

In most cases, hours are truly just a number with little meaning. The hour gauge alone does not reflect the reliability of the ski much like some cars with higher miles tends to run for decades with proper servicing and maintenance.

It’s better to focus on the upkeep of the ski from its previous owner or service that the dealer has done. Many times you will see jet skis with higher hours outperform a jet ski with relatively low hours.

To put this into perspective, purchasing a 10-year-old ski with 300 hours may seem risky considering its “high hours” but the average rider puts around 50 hours a year on their jet ski. At 10 years old the jet ski really should have around 500 hours on it. 

Don’t get caught up in the articles that say the full life of a jet ski motor is around 300 hours. Those are about old two strokes. Don’t worry. We will get to those in a moment.

Avoid Old 2 Strokes Jet Skis – New & Used Jet Ski For Sale In West Virginia

During your jet ski search, you may come across some really low price older skis out there. You may think “Let’s just pick up one of these cheap ones to see if we like it”. We hate hearing this because we don’t want anyone to have a bad PWC experience and with an old two stroke, that is highly likely.

People call shops around the country every day asking for help fixing their 20-year-old 2 stroke jet ski. We hate to break it to you 2 stroke owners, but the parts are being discontinued leading to dealerships strictly prioritizing  4 strokes. It’s a dying breed due to its continuous maintenance, loud noise, difficulty to start, and their pollution to the environment.

The 2 strokes require you to fill both an oil tank and gas tank or premix oil and gas so this is one way to identify them. Also, they stopped making two strokes in 2005. Essentially, two-stroke skis are cheap to buy but ultimately create more issues rather than a good times. 

Damages – Expected but Shouldn’t Be Extreme 

You are buying a used jet ski, so slight damage should be expected but nothing too extreme! Here are some things to look for:

  • Fiberglass, Rust, and Corrosion

Docking a watercraft can be a difficult task for novice drivers. It takes time to get used to the minimal steering at low speeds and controlling the reverse. New & Used Jet Ski For Sale In West Virginia

Unfortunately, this often leads to fiberglass damage. A little fiberglass damage is not the end of the world. Don’t fret about the small stuff, but be on the lookout for major hull damage.

Check the bottom for any exposed holes because this is the area that ultimately results in an issue. Water seeping in from the bottom leads to rust, corrosion, and worst case, sinking your new watercraft. 

  • Cavitation

If you ever hit the throttle on your jet ski and it revs up high, but you are hardly moving, that is called cavitation.

The jet skis of today are powerful, they rapidly suck up water from underneath and push it out the back to propel it’s self forward. If you are in shallow water, the ski will suck up sand, dirt, rocks, sticks, and things like that from the bottom. Everything you suck up runs through the wear ring, impeller, and pump before exiting the ski. 

These things essentially shave down the plastic wear ring causing the clearance between the wear ring and impeller to increase. Once you have too much clearance, cavitation occurs.

The cost of repair depends on the extent of the damage. The minimum repair needed is a wear ring job. This will cost you the price of the parts and a couple hours of labor time. We don’t recommend trying this at home. It can be extremely difficult to replace the wear ring.

The worst case scenario is the wear ring, impeller, and the entire pump having to be replaced. This is rare, but if you suck up something bad enough, you may have to foot the bill for this costly repair.

Upkeep and Maintenance

If you’re going to spend your hard earned money on a PWC, take care of it so it will last for decades! Like a car, these machines require regular maintenance. Luckily, four strokes do not require much regular maintenance.

New or used – jet skis require a yearly service. The main maintenance on a four-stroke is an oil change and tune-up at the beginning of the season and a winterize at the end of the season.

From our experience, the majority of major motor issues are caused by not changing the oil for extended periods of time or having too much or too little oil due to improper oil changes.

Winterizing is vital during the coldest season; it prevents water and fluids in the motor from freezing. Freezing fluids in the motor could leave you needing a new motor.

  • Superchargers

One of the biggest topics in the used jet ski world is superchargers. All skis 185 horsepower and up have a supercharger. Supercharged jet skis have a top speed between 63 – 70 mph, but the biggest difference is the acceleration. These skis accelerate drastically faster than non-supercharged skis.

The only catch is added maintenance. For Seadoos, the supercharger is due to be rebuilt every 100 – 200 hours. For Yamaha, the superchargers last longer, but eventually, the supercharger clutch tends to go out. Both of these services are around $800-1,000.

When you buy new, it will cost thousands of dollars more to buy a supercharged ski, but when buying used, most of the time you can get a supercharged ski for the same or less than a non-supercharged ski.

Save time and money with a trusted dealer

Private sellers may list a great deal, but it’s not always what you think. Many buyers opt to search sketchy craigslist ads vs. checking out a reputable dealer.  Everyone looking for a used jet ski just wants a ski that will run great for years to come. New & Used Jet Ski For Sale In West Virginia

Most of the variables needed to achieve this result have to do with the seller. Every seller should offer benefits, comfortability, and a promise to their customer! The simple reason to trust a dealer over a private seller: Dealers have a reputation to keep up between their customers and products.

Before buying from a dealer, be sure to check their Google Reviews to read about their previous customer’s experiences

  • Test Ride

Nobody wants to be stuck in the middle of the lake on their first jet ski ride with no reason as to why it’s not running properly. A good dealer will offer the customer a lake test.

As a buyer, it should be common sense to want to take this opportunity so you can assure there are no existing issues and learn as much as you can about owning your new PWC. 

Additionally, this is the time to experience the ear to ear smile often caused by taking off full-throttle! Trust me – a test ride is just the start of many good memories to come. Immediate joy flows through your body as jet ski instantly takes off.

If this instant take off doesn’t happen, there might be an issue but that’s okay because this is what the test ride is for! The dealer should offer to fix the issue (it’s likely something simple), swap you to another ski, or give you your money back.

  • Warranty

Another perk to buying from a dealer is the likelihood they will offer a warranty. Manufacturers offer a warranty when buying new, but like any warranty, it eventually comes to an end.

It’s never a bad thing to check on newer used skis and see if they have any manufacturer’s warranty left, but most used skis will not have any manufacturer’s warranty remaining, leaving it to the dealer to decide if they want to offer a warranty or not.

A reputable dealer will offer at least a 30-day warranty on almost any four stroke jet ski. During the first 30 days, try to ride the jet ski as much as possible. Any problems you may have will most likely arise in the first 30 days.

  • Proper Paperwork

After purchase, there are a few things to be sure you walk away with besides the jet ski! Your used jet ski should include all the paperwork you need to get titled or registered. This will vary by state. For personal watercraft, you have title states and non-title states. New & Used Jet Ski For Sale In West Virginia

 Dealers handle the confusing part of the paperwork by simply giving you everything you need to get registered or titled. All you are required to do is take the paperwork and get it registered or titled in your state.

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