How to Check Hours on Jet Skis (Everything You should Know)

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Since Jet Skis are very expensive, many people prefer buying on the used market when they have a tight budget.

For the beginner, things might get a little confusing because certain specs need experts to look out for the best option. One of the major considerations that potential buyers prioritize is Jet Ski hours.

While many buyers tend to stick to Jet Skis with low hours, others may be okay with high-hour skis. Sometimes, the Jet Ski hours might not always tell the full story.

[Checkout How Much Does A Used Jet Ski Cost (With 10 Examples)]

The easiest way to check hours on Jet Ski is to insert the key in and tap the start button while ensuring that the Accessory mode is turned on, then push the red button under the Accessory mode and you’ll see the hours on the screen.

While the average lifespan of a Jet Ski is around 300 hours, 150 hours or more can be considered high. This is according to the general rule of thumbs.

However, this does not provide a true reflection of how good the Jet Ski is or how much it should cost.

Factors that affect Jet Ski Hours

Among the important questions potential buyers ask when making a buying decision based on the number of Jet Ski hours are, is 150 hours high on a Jet Ski?

How about 200 hours?

Does the model make and year of manufacture matter?

Unfortunately, these questions do not always have direct answers. Somewhat, the Jet Ski buyers may have different answers depending on their opinion.

Take a look at the following factors and how they affect Jet Ski hours:

1. Jet Ski manufacturer

Jet Ski
Jet Ski

Jet ski riders usually have their preferred manufacturers. Most of them will make arguments that will favor their favorite manufacturer when commenting on Jet Ski hours.

Seasoned riders are likely to suggest that their favorite manufacturers produce jet skis that can handle more hours compared to others.

While this is largely dependent on individual opinions, the Jet Ski manufacturer is a factor worth taking into consideration.

Some manufacturers such as Polaris, Honda, Tigershark, Wetbike, and Arctic Cat brought many models to the market but they no longer exist.

New manufacturers are coming up and each one of them shares a different history of their existence in the market.

Considering that some manufacturers have been in the business longer than others, the standard for high hours should be different.

While some people may cherish the older models and their high hours, others would never bother to buy from these manufacturers.

Manufacturers who are still in production have a valid point to which their models should handle high hours the best.

Some reputable companies have set a high benchmark for engine life and they tend to get away with more hours on it.

2). Jet Ski year

The year that a Jet Ski model was manufactured is somewhat a common consideration that most buyers take into account when determining high hours.

For instance, a Jet Ski that has generated 100 hours when it is only 2 years old, is considered to be a high-hour ski.

On the other hand, a Jet Ski that has 120 hours yet is 7 years old, would be considered a low-hour Jet Ski.

A jet ski should have an average of approximately 30 hours per year.

If the Jet Ski passes the average limit, it would be considered to be a high hour. Those personal watercraft that have less than 30 hours in a year are normally low-hour Jet Skis.

When considering the hours, put into account that not all hours will be equal. Other things such as proper maintenance with regular servicing play a crucial role in the Jet Ski hours.

Even the low-hour jet skis can sometimes be bad. This implies those Jet Skis that were not used for a while in between uses.

3). Jet Ski model

Jet Ski models differ diversely even when they are produced by the same manufacturer. Some models can last longer compare to others; however, this depends on the Jet Ski in question.

For instance, if you compare a 2-stroke and the 4-stroke engines of jet skis, they are different when determining high hours.

Another thing to compare between various models is whether or not the engines are supercharged.

According to a general view, the Jet Ski with a standard engine is going to last longer compared to those with a supercharged engine.

The supercharged engines require more attention to maintenance. If perhaps the previous owner of a jet ski did not maintain it properly, it will begin to experience problems during low hours — although the same can be said about the Jet Skis with standard engines too when they are not taken good care of.

People who tend to be okay with high hours usually prefer the entry-level jet skis to those which are advanced.

This is because the standard engines are easy to maintain because of their simplicity. Even with little experience, working on an entry-level jet ski can be easy when compared to other advanced models with intricate engines.

What are considered high hours on a Jet Ski?

How many hours on a jet ski is considered high?

According to a general rule, a jet ski that has 100 hours or more would be considered a high-hour jet ski. Typically, the Jet Ski should have an average of approximately 30 hours per year.

If it goes more than an average of 30 hours per year, it is considered to have high hours.

On the other hand, the average lifespan of most Jet Ski models is around 300 hours; however, they can last much longer if they are maintained properly.

How to tell how many hours a Jet Ski has

You probably have an idea of what is considered high hours on a jet ski. It is important to understand the hours a jet ski has before making a purchase decision.

There are a few ways you can use to identify the hours of a jet ski before buying.

Before getting started, checking if the Jet Ski has an hour gauge is a simple but crucial step.

Different models have their version of displaying the hours. Older models may not have an hour gauge but there are chances that it is a high hour anyway.

If the Jet Ski does not have an hour gauge, it should be taken to a dealership where it can be diagnosed to determine its hours.

How to make a high-hour Jet Ski last longer

jet ski model

Proper maintenance is the easiest way to make a jet ski with high hours last longer.

Maintaining a jet ski may seem like common knowledge but some owners will neglect simple mistakes that eventually result in significant damages.

The maintenance of jet skis varies depending on the models. However, the process commonly consists of replacing the spark plugs, proper winterizing, and keeping the oils levels.

The maintenance can be fair and inexpensive unless you are doing hefty parts. Jet skis with low hours can easily break down without correct maintenance.

When you are buying a used Jet Ski, ensure you ask for the maintenance records. Ask and check to see whether the Jet Ski has been involved in severe accidents.

This will help you to determine the quality of the watercraft before buying it.

Should you buy a high hour Jet Ski?

When you are buying a used jet ski, have in mind that the hours do not always tell the full story.

A jet ski that is mentioned properly can last as long as the anticipated lifespan.

It depends on how well you can provide proper care along with the dedication to keep a high-hour Jet Ski running.


Taking the high-hour Jet Ski to a dealership for diagnostics can help you to decide whether it is worth buying it or not.

The dealers are usually willing to give an appraisal and test used jet skis.

Additionally, if you find out that the previous owner was responsible and knowledgeable about Jet Ski problems and maintenance, that would be a good chance for the jet ski to last longer.

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