10 Common Jet Ski Problems and How to Fix Them

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In this article, I’ll show you some of the common Jet Ski problems and ways to fix them.

I love my Sea-doo Jet Ski. It delivers one of the best cruising experiences on the water. Oswald, my 10-year-old son would do anything just to ride with me.

But these heavy-duty watercraft aren’t perfect. They have their challenges

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Jet Ski manufacturers share proper maintenance guidelines with their customers, but the ski’s parts will eventually wear out.

Jet Skis are equipped with strong but delicate parts which can cause headaches to the owner once they fail, due to improper care.

For Jet Ski owners to enjoy a long ride with their watercraft, they need to practice preventive maintenance along with proper repairs is a must.

Jet Skis parts and repair are potentially expensive.

Hence, most owners tend to investigate DIY blogs and videos online in an attempt to fix Jet Ski problems.

The good news is that you can extend the lifespan of your Jet Ski with the right tools.

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Kemimoto PWC Boat Fender Docking Protection Kit for Seadoo Jet Ski Waverunner

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  • Universal PWC Fender Mooring Protection
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While there are a few DIY repairs that may work due to the similarities between the Jet Ski and other automobile parts, most of the repairs like rebuilding the engine are complex and require expert skills.

An average handy person can find it difficult to address most Jet Ski problems, especially the mechanical parts that require assembling and rebuilding.

Whether you need to go in for the services or attempt a DIY repair on your Jet Ski, it’s important to beware of the common problems and how to best fix them.

Here are the 10 common Jet Ski problems and how to fix them:

Jet Ski Problem #1: Jet Ski Won’t Start

There are instances when the Jet Ski engine won’t start. Since the engine is connected to the starting system and the battery, they are the most common reasons the Jet Ski won’t start.

Before you get started with the repair, beware that the Jet Ski carries a high electric current which may hurt you. Consult a local mechanic shop if you don’t know what you are doing.

How do you know if the battery or the starter relay is dead? When you put the key on and/or press the starter button and nothing happens, the battery may be completely shot and needs replacement.

But, if you put on the key and the display of the Jet Ski turns on, then the battery is weak and it needs to be recharged.

You will know the starter relay is bad when you start your Jet Ski and all you get is a thud or one solid click.

Sometimes you may need to press the starter button several times for the engine to start.

In this case, you should visit a dealer to install a new one. Having a professional dealer do the installation could be worth it instead of attempting it by yourself.

Jet Ski Problem #2: Engine fires and runs irregularly

When the Jet Ski engine has running issues, you should begin with the basic check on the engine and the other parts linked to it to troubleshoot the problems.

First, you should get a service manual to help you to identify and replace defective parts. If the Jet Ski engine fires, there may be spark plugs that are fouled, worn, or are becoming defective.

Consider replacing with new ones. Another instance may be when water is in the ignition leads or inside the sparkplug causing the engine to run irregularly. Dry these parts out to remove water.

When the fuel level is too low or it is water contaminated, you should siphon out the fuel pump and refill the tank. Clean any clogged injector and replace faulty ignition coils to troubleshoot the engine problems.

Jet Ski Problem #3: Engine flooding with water

When the Jet Ski engine is flooding with water, the problem will result in a hydro lock.

This usually occurs when the watercraft flips upside down or you forget to secure the drain plugs and water fills the engine compartment.

Running out of fuel and impeller issues may force water into the engine cylinders.

When you are in such a mess, you need to visit your dealer quickly to service the flooded engine thoroughly. Delaying to service flooded engines may cause long-term water damage.

Jet Ski Problem #4: The Reverse gate won’t work

Reverse gates of Jet Skis are operated either manually with a cable or electrically depending on the brand.

Other brands like Sea-Doo have an intelligent brake reverse which is an auto-reverse operated system.

Sometimes, the reverse gate system can get jammed with objects; ensure you check it out regularly to remove these objects. If the reverse gate still does not work, your power fuse could be faulty.

Replace the fuse if it is blown. Other manual reverse gates can be stuck or broken, replace them if you realize the issue.

Jet Ski Problem #5: Top speed is not achieved

A Jet Ski can be slower than normal due to faulty configurations or faulty parts. Sometimes, things like rocks, rubbish, or ropes can be stuck in the grate making the Jet Ski slower.

If the intake grape is clear, check if the Jet Ski is set to use a learner key which restricts the engine from running to top speed. Similarly, check the speed mode and ensure it is sports mode instead of ECO mode.

A worn-out impeller or worn ring can reduce the top-end speed, be sure to check and replace it. If you cannot identify any issues, visiting your dealer to diagnose the Jet Ski could be better.

Jet Ski Problem #6: Spark plugs are hard to remove

Removing spark plugs can be difficult when they are covered by rust. This happens when a Jet Ski has not been serviced for a few years.

Rust makes Ski plugs bind into the engine head hence becoming difficult to remove. You need some penetrating fluid to help you remove the plugs.

When removing the spark plugs, use a long extension bar and the correct sockets to prevent them from breaking. Replace the spark plugs with a design that can be easy to remove nest time.

Jet Ski Problem #7: Start key is not recognized

Some Jet Skis such as Sea-Doo use are equipped with an intelligent system to recognize the true owner.

All the keys of the jet skies are programmed into the memory. This digitally encoded security system may help to secure the Jet Ski from theft.

Sometimes when the system does not recognize the key, you should try to push harder and adjust the angles to start the engine.

If the problem persists, consider replacing the key post because seawater may corrode the internal parts.

Jet Ski Problem #8: Jet Ski rope stuck in the intake grate

This is a common problem that Jet Ski owners come across when riding along rivers or lakes. It is not right to ride across a Ski rope just because the propeller is not exposed.

The rope can cause major damage to your Jet Ski.

Since the intake grate is designed to take a large amount of water by force, it may suck the rope and other materials that get wrapped around the jet pump.

To avoid damaging the bottom of your jet pump hull, don’t let the rope go to the rear of your watercraft.

Jet Ski Problem #9: Broken hinge in the front storage compartment

Most Ski Jets come with a hinged compartment for storing personal gear. Most people tend to pack more things in the compartment and slam the lid shut.

This makes the front hinge become weaker or makes the lid crack and break.

To prevent the hinge from breaking, do not apply much pressure when closing the lid.

Also, do not exceed the limit of the capacity provided in the compartment to prevent attracting unexpected expenses on a new hinge or lid.

Jet Ski Problem #10: Impeller issues

Impeller issues result from sucking sea materials into the jet pump.

Since the intake grate is underneath the hull, it’s easy to suck weed or even the rope which blocks the flow of water through the impeller.

Such debris limits the forward thrust of the jet propulsion system and the throttle response.

Blockages can also make the engine overheat, and become noisy. You can remove these materials from the impeller with a procedure that is outlined in the owner’s manual to avoid further damages.


The Jet Ski problems highlighted in this article will give you the knowledge and preparations for proper care of your watercraft.

The best way to fix the Jet Ski problems is with the use of the manual from your manufacturer as well as visiting your sealer to diagnose other significant damages.

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