Buying a used jet ski can be tricky and confusing, so a guide is needed. In this guide, I want to go over all the major points and things to look out for when buying a used jet ski.
I hope this helps you in your journey when buying a used jet ski, as it’s filled with years (decades, really) of knowledge and hard lessons I’ve learned. This guide is also an updated version of the many other used jet ski guides I’ve made; this one will have similar info and many new tips!
What To Look For When Buying A Used Jet Ski:
There will be a lot to cover in this guide, so here are all the major factors to look out for, and I’ll go over each one in its own section.
- Check The Price
- Check The VIN
- 2-stroke Vs. 4-stroke – Avoid 2-stroke
- Check The Battery
- Engine Hours
- Compression Test
- Jet Pump Inspection
- Check Supercharger (If It Has One)
- Has It Been Sunk?
- Look For Corrosion
- Hull Damage
- Drain Plugs
- Inspect The Trailer
- Get Service Records
- Was It Ever Winterized?
- Inspect The Seats
- Test Ride
1. Check The Price
A lot has changed since I wrote my last few used jet ski guides, and one thing that seems to be getting worse is scammers.
Before you contact the seller of the used jet ski, you need to check the price against other models.
I’ve been getting a lot of comments on my site from people looking at deals that are just too good to be true. While there are some true good deals, a lot of them just scream scam. Much of the worst ones tend to have two jet skis and a trailer, and the price is often lower than just one of the jet skis by itself.
One example was two Sea-Doo’s on a double aluminum trailer for $12,000. The Sea-Doo’s were only a few years old, and they had two of them on a nice aluminum trailer. I would expect the price to be over $24,000 or close to it, not half. Unless one of them is blown, this deal would be too good to be true.
Before you ever contact the seller, you need to go to J.D. Power and see what they say about the “average retail price”. Then go to eBay and PWC Trader to see what other similar year and model jet skis are selling for. If you’re seeing numbers way off, then the deal is most likely a scam or someone getting rid of a problem jet ski.
For more on what you should pay for a used jet ski, check out the post here.
2. Check The VIN
A good thing to check when buying a used jet ski, especially one that is only a few years old, is to look up the VIN.
There are two reasons to know the VIN, it lets you know if it’s stolen and if it has a warranty.
The VIN will also confirm you’re getting what you’re paying for. The last two digits of the VIN is the year model, so if it ends in “12”, then it would be a 2012 model.
For a jet ski that you really like, you want to call your local dealership and ask them to look up the VIN to see if there are any open bulletins or recalls. The dealership can confirm the year, model, and other details about the jet ski to confirm the seller is truthful. I’ve seen sellers try to pass off GTI SE 130 as 155’s before, while they look similar, one has a bigger engine and cost more.
To see if it’s stolen, you can contact your local police department or your local DWR or Wildlife for your state. Whoever handles the vessel numbers that go on the side of the jet ski can tell who it belongs to or if the name you tell is what they have on file.
Jet ski theft is not as huge as say ATV’s, as many states require you to register your jet ski to drive it on the water, but it does happen.
3. 2-stroke Vs. 4-stroke – Avoid 2-stroke
I’m still standing my ground and saying you should avoid buying a 2-stroke jet ski.
2-strokes are banned on many lakes and rivers, and the jet ski manufacturers haven’t made them in years. Parts are even harder to find and overall, they’re not worth it.
To understand the difference of a 2-stroke jet ski vs a 4-stroke, I have a whole post on it here.
- Sea-Doo hasn’t made a 2-stroke since 2007, so any 2008 and newer will be a 4-stroke.
- Yamaha hasn’t made a 2-stroke since 2012 for sit-down jet skis (2020 for stand-up).
- Kawasaki hasn’t made a 2-stroke since 2016.
2-stroke jet skis that are direct injected (don’t have a carburetor) are allowed on some lakes, but direct injected 2-strokes are cursed. It was a time of rushing to meet government regulations while they were focused on moving to 4-stroke. Direct injected 2-strokes didn’t get the love they needed, and it’s echoed to this day with them having phantom electrical problems – just avoid them. You’ll know it’s a 2-stroke with a direct injection engine as it will say “direct injection” or similar on a sticker somewhere. Don’t be confused with 4-strokes that are direct injected, as all 4-stroke jet skis use direct injection and don’t have these phantom problems.
4. Check The Battery
The batteries in jet skis tend to be the most neglected thing by many jet ski owners.
Not a huge deal, as most jet ski batteries are easy to replace, but something to keep in mind.
A jet ski battery lasts 3 to 5 years and will often have a round sticker (size of a dime) on it telling you the year of the battery.
You will need a good battery if you want to do a lake test, and keep in mind that a jet ski that starts on land may not always start on water if the battery is weak.
5. Engine Hours
Jet ski engine hours are similar to miles on a car, but does have some quirks to it.
What was considered high hours for a jet ski has changed quite a bit in the last 10 years with 4-strokes taking over. It was common for a 2-stroke jet ski to only last 300 hours, but 4-stroke are hitting 500 or more with ease.
The average person puts 30 hours a year on their jet ski, but some put more on it and that is fine.
Jet ski engine hours can be a bit confusing, that is why I wrote this post and have a calculator to help you get a better understanding.
6. Compression Test
Testing the compression on any engine is not always easy for someone new to jet skis, but it can tell you a lot about a jet ski engine.
It’s best to let a repair shop or friend who knows compression testing to do it for you. You will need to remove the spark plugs and get in the engine compartment, which the seller may not like, so it can be tricky.
The next best thing to do is get the service records, as most repair shops will do a compression test during a service. Look at the numbers, there should be a number for each cylinder (3 or 4 numbers). The numbers should be above 100psi and within 10% of each other. This means a reading of 135psi, 130psi and 135psi is good, but a reading of 115psi, 135psi and 135psi is bad or 135psi, 80psi and 135psi is also bad.
Supercharged engines will have lower psi readings than non-supercharged engines.
7. Jet Pump Inspection
All jet skis use a jet pump to propel the jet ski forward.
The jet pump has many parts, the wear ring, impeller, driveshaft, reverse bucket, steering nozzle and more.
The biggest things to look out for is the wear ring and impeller, make sure they’re not damaged.
All this and more is covered in our jet pump and how it works post, use that post to help you understand if the jet pump is fine.
8. Check Supercharger (If It Has One)
The supercharger on a jet ski, if it has one, needs to be checked for sure.
The jet skis with superchargers tend to be 200HP or more, so not every jet ski has one. Yamaha usually does SVHO to let you know it has a supercharger, as they don’t list HP ratings.
The superchargers on all jet skis that have them can fail, no matter the brand. Sea-Doo did have a few rough years around 2007, but most of those should be fixed by now.
Learn more about superchargers and maintenance here. To know whether you should get a supercharged jet ski or not, then go here.
The easiest way to tell if a supercharged jet ski is working fine is the RPMs it reaches on the test ride. The jet ski should be getting close to 8k RPMs, if lower than 7,600 RPMs then you may have a supercharger problem.
9. Has It Been Sunk?
It’s not the end of the world if a jet ski has been sunk, but some are never the same after.
Take the seat off to see if it feels heavy, almost like it’s water logged. If you flip a jet ski for too long, the seat will take on water and become heavy, and it won’t go away easily.
A jet ski won’t fully sink as they have foam inserts to keep the nose floating.
Besides the seat being heavy, there will also be a lot of rust/corrosion on the engine that gives away it’s been sunk or ridden in a very salty environment.
For most jet skis, them being sunk or hydrolocked is not the end of the world, but nice to know as the buyer. It’s like knowing the car you’re buying was in a wreck, as some things may not be the same after.
10. Look For Corrosion
Talking about rust/corrosion, it’s something to keep in mind when buying a used jet ski.
Rust, and more importantly, corrosion, is something to watch out for. I’ve seen jet skis so corroded it was leaking anti-freeze and nothing was supporting the engine block.
Tip: Use silicone spray lubricant (Amazon Link Ad) on the pump and engine compartment to cut down on corrosion. Spray twice a year and let it dry, and you’ll be doing better than most.
Look inside the engine compartment and around the jet pump for parts that are corroding. Some corrosion is fine, it’s only natural with any boat, but so much that parts are loose because of the corrosion is bad.
Corrosion and rust is a big problem for jet skis on the coast and salty water. Ideally, a jet ski should be flushed and rinsed off after every ride in saltwater, but many don’t, and it can destroy parts of the jet ski overtime.
The jet pump will often get eaten away first, so look it over when buying a used jet ski. Look for the sacrificial anode to make sure one is there as it corrodes first and when it’s gone the other parts go next. So replace it if you’re missing one.
11. Hull Damage
Some scrapes and bumps are to be expected on used jet skis, things happen.
Look under the jet ski and at its hull to see if there are any large scrapes or damage. You can tell the hull is badly damaged if the white under the fiberglass is showing through.
Fiberglass needs to be repaired or sealed if the white or fibers of the fiberglass are starting to show. The damaged fiberglass will start to absorb the water and make the crack or hole worse.
Cracks and holes on the top deck should also be fixed, as they can still split if you hit a wave just right.
Fiberglass repair shops are good at what they do, and many can fix it so well that you can’t tell there was ever damage. There are do it yourself kits that will work, but won’t look as good. The main goal is to keep the fiberglass from splitting or getting worse.
12. Drain Plugs
Often overlooked is the drain plugs of a jet ski.
The drain plugs are what keeps you from sinking, and the o-ring doesn’t last forever.
You’ll be amazed by how many people don’t know to put them in or take them out, or could be missing one.
The biggest thing with the drain plug is to make sure the o-ring is fine and not cracked and it closes fine.
I have a whole post covering jet ski drain plugs here.
13. Inspect The Trailer
If you’re buying a jet ski or two, and it has a trailer, you need to check it out too.
The most neglected item for most jet ski owners is their trailers, as many of them don’t use them but once or twice a year.
The wheel bearings should be greased every year, but most don’t do it, so make sure you do it before you get on the road.
The winch straps wear out and fade due to the sun, and will need to be replaced if they’re over 5 years old.
Don’t forget to look at the bunks, as the carpets wear out and the bolts can come loose over time.
And the trailer lights, they can be a hit or miss. It’s very common for one or both brake lights to be broken or missing. The light connector to be damaged or missing. Or everything looks fine, but the lights don’t work, and it might be the tow vehicle and not the trailer that is the problem.
In general, boat trailers tend to be a mess, but give them a good once over and make sure they’re not splitting in half, won’t damage the jet ski, are street legal and greased properly.
14. Get Service Records
If the previous jet ski owner took it to a reputable shop, they will have service records.
These records can show you how often they changed the oil, got it winterized, and what problems they had.
You can quickly learn if the used jet ski is a problem by the service records or lack of them.
This can be a quick and dirty way to determine if a used jet ski is worth it. Don’t take the seller’s word or documents, call the shop they got the work done and see if they can confirm working on that jet ski before. The last thing you want is someone faking these documents.
Some dealers won’t give too much customer info away, but can confirm this VIN has been in their shop before or confirm a work order number exists.
15. Was It Ever Winterized?
If it gets below 40F where the jet ski is kept, it’s ideal to get it winterized.
Some may even do a winterized with service, which is very smart, but overall, if it’s cold where the jet ski lives it should be winterized for storage.
I go over jet ski winterization here.
The big take-away is that the previous owner ran anti-freeze through the engine or used compressed air to blow water out the engine before it got cold.
Not always a huge deal if the jet ski was not properly winterized, as one that was damaged will show it’s damaged very quickly in a test ride. Someone willing to do the winterization shows they cared about the jet ski, which is what you want to see when buying a used jet ski.
16. Inspect The Seats
The seats of a jet ski are a good way to determine how well the jet ski was taken care of.
The vinyl seats of a jet ski will crack and split over time if they’re not kept covered. Someone who is not willing to cover their jet ski is more likely to not take care of other things of the jet ski, too.
Jet ski seats are not cheap either, getting a jet ski seat re-skinned can cost hundreds of dollars. New seats can cost double or even triple re-skinning costs!
As talked about before, seats that are heavy or water logged could be an indication the jet ski was sunk or flipped over for too long.
Mold, black spots, and fading are normal, so don’t hold that against anyone. You can often clean these spots, but sometimes they won’t go away, and is just normal for an old jet ski.
17. Test Ride It!
If you can, test ride the jet ski.
Starting a jet ski up on the trailer or hooking it up to the hose is NOT the same!
A jet ski may run fine on the trailer or while on the garden hose, but will act very different when put in the water.
The jet ski should take off quickly, it should not stutter or feel like it won’t catch.
After the test ride, take the seats off to see if the hull is taking on water. A little bit of water is fine, but gallons of water is not. Take the drain plugs out and if there are gallons of water, and you were not hitting the waves hard, then something is not right.
Let The Dealership Check It Out
There is a lot to take in, and the best thing you can do when buying a used jet ski is to let the nearest dealership or repair shop check it out.
It will cost you, but if you’re on the fence about a jet ski, it could save you even more.
The repair shops have seen it all, can spot a problem a mile away and know what to look for.
I know this is not the answer that many want to hear, but there are countless variables and having someone there in person who knows the jet ski is worth the cost.
There are a few other quick tips to keep in mind when buying a used jet ski, stuff that many forget to check!
Get All The Keys – When buying a used jet ski, make sure to get all the keys. It’s common for a Sea-Doo or Kawasaki to have two keys or more, one fast and one learning key. These keys are encrypted to your machine, so if they don’t have them all, it will be wise to get your jet ski key’s reprogrammed and the old keys erased. Yamaha has key fobs and PIN codes that work similar and can be changed.
Owner’s Manual – Most jet ski owners lose their owner’s manual, but that is okay. You can get a digital version of the owner’s manual online from the manufacturer. Sea-Doo – Yamaha – Kawasaki These owner’s manuals can tell you a lot about the jet ski and what maintenance needs to be done on that particular model.
Buy A New Cover – The previous owner may give you a cover, but if that cover is over 5 years old, I would buy a new one. The cover is to protect your jet ski, so they don’t last forever, and when they wear out, the jet ski is the next thing to start to look as bad as the cover. See jet ski covers and more about them here.
Service The Jet Ski – Even if the previous owner seems like they know what they’re doing and have records, still get the jet ski serviced. The jet ski shop might even find things you missed when buying the jet ski. It’s always surprising to me how few people do proper services on a jet ski, so when I get a used one, I go ahead and service it.
Get A Solar Battery Charger – Jet ski batteries are bad about going bad when not used for months. The best thing I’ve found is to get a solar battery charger, as covered in this post.
New Vs. Used Jet Skis – Buying a used jet ski is fine and often the best option if you’re new to the sport. But if you can afford a new jet ski, then go for it. Either way, you can’t go wrong, just don’t buy a 2-stroke is the biggest point I can make.
Most Reliable Used Jet Ski – People say Yamaha makes the most reliable jet skis, but I say avoid supercharged jet skis of any brand if want ease and low cost. All manufacturers have their issues, so pick a color you like and roll with it.
10 Years – Jet ski manufacturers design jet skis to last about 10 years, but they’re lasting double that when it comes to 4-strokes. The 10-year mark is more about parts, often body parts, that stop getting made after 10 years. The engine and the things that make the jet ski work are not changed as often, and you can get parts for it way after 10 years. Just don’t expect to find your seat in the original color after 10 years.
Gear – You’re going to need a few things for your jet ski to keep you safe and legal. I have a must-have jet ski accessories post that covers all that and more.
201 thoughts on “[17 Tips] Used Jet Ski Guide – What To Look For”
So if I have a 2003 Honda Aquatrax that’s got low hours, garage kept, has cover and trailer , does this mean it’s not worth anything ? It has been winterized and summarized. Had a battery recall done. Tires on trailer look brand new. Engine looks brand new no rust or paint peeling. Is it not worth anything ? It’s a F- 12x Turbo 4 stroke.
It’s worth something, but not as much as another jet ski from a manufacturer that still makes them. Honda hasn’t made a jet ski since 2009 so parts are hard to find when it breaks down, often having to buy used parts from eBay. If you don’t mind working on it yourself or have a good shop that is willing to work on it, then it’s not worth it for the average person. Though, if you can get it for a really good deal, it’s worth it as it’ll be better than renting jet skis.
Hi steve and everyone passionate about water sports, 1st agreed great article 2nd special thanks for answering everyone’s questions. I did however notice no one asked about the Honda aquatrax so I’d like to offer my opinion and if any info can be added I’d love to hear it. I found out years back Honda was making pwc after doing some research and owning a civic for commute to work I discovered the Aquatrax is a bullet proof amazing machine they made a turbo version fx12 hits 60mph no problem electric start reverse very fun I’ve had mine a 06 in shop 1 time for bad stator that’s it besides normal seasonal wear and tear and after 7 years I’ve spent peanuts in upkeep, honda used gold wing engine I’m told so 90% parts are available thru any honda dealer or auto center, i have been looking for another for my better half, I paid $6000 with trailer when I purchased it had 63 hours, the guy told me the marina he dealt with a quick call assured me it was never in for major repairs, now honda has since been out of the market building pwc a while, but these machines are going for $10000+ more with trailer here in Canada where I am, just wondering if this is a covid related chip processor shortage because products are slow to be produced or did I wander across the golden goose?
I appreciate your article! I’m looking at a 97 yamaha 700 and the guy sent me videos of it fired up and running on the water. Wants $2k for it and trailer. Unsure of the hours & he said carbs were cleaned last season. Thoughts?
That would be a 2-stroke and not something I would suggest getting unless you only want to ride it for a season or two and get rid of it. Parts are hard to find for something that old, and it’s not worth the effort unless you’re mechanically inclined. Though, that body was a blast to ride, it’s a wet ride and a good workout too.
Great article. I found an 02 Seadoo gtx 4-tec with just 65 hours, looks like it was well taken care of. Since this was the first year with the 4 stroke, any reason to stay away?
3200 with trailer
The first year did have a few engines that needed to be rebuilt, but shouldn’t be a problem now, as many of them should have been fixed a long time ago. It is on the older side of jet skis, but if it was taken care of, you should get more life out of it.
Hi Steven, this article has been extremely useful. I am speaking to a guy who is selling a SeaDoo 155 GTI 2007 Wake Edition with less than 100 hours (price yet to be agreed but assume c.$6k). It looks good on photos and they guy seems genuine, he has receipts for all work carried out, happy for me to speak to the marine service people he’s used and tells me it’s been used on fresh water. I note you think this is a great model which is comforting. I’m keen on a ski that can pull skiers/toys for my kids but my budget won’t stretch to new unfortunately. Will an older jet ski still be good for towing? Any added thoughts, comments or concerns I should watch out for? Thanks in advance.
Great engine, great model, and WAKEs always sold very well, especially the 155HP models. The tow bar in the rear for pull-sports is plastic and people tend to break them on that one so make sure it’s good before you use it. The tow bar should move up and down with a tug up or down, it has sticky spots so that is normal. The OPAS system (the fins in the rear on both sides) tend to wear out on these older models, just let it float on the trailer while in the water to make sure it’s not taking in water. It’s more than enough power for pulling tubes and skiers. That model doesn’t have sport or touring mode so you’ll have full power all the time. It did come with a learning key that would limit the engine to 35MPH, but most people lose that key, but you can still get it programmed by any dealership if you want a slow key. A 2006 to 2010 Sea-Doo GTI tend to be golden, especially on the used market.
Great Article!!!!! I was looking to possibly but a pair of used Jet Skis and had little knowledge on what to look for. You gave me the info I needed.
Oh BTW. I’m probably going to look heavily at the Seadoo Spark you mentioned.. Looks like you are going to save me thousands…
Hi Steven! You covered the bases on 2-stroke and 4-stroke engine types but I have a broad question on 3 Cylinder verses 4 Cylinder. Is there any differences in performance or engine longevity?
There is not a huge difference. The 4 cylinder engines have more displacement and can achieve more power without a supercharger but you do have the extra weight and more moving parts. The 3 cylinder is what most manufacturers are going with these days, even Yamaha is moving towards it with the TR-1. You save weight and fewer moving parts on a 3 cylinder. As for longevity, there won’t be much of a difference.
I’m looking at buying a 2019 sea doo gti 130 with 6 hours? Your thoughts?
Very low hours for a 2019. Makes me wonder what’s wrong with it, seems too good to be true.
Hi Steven, loving this thread. Looking at buying a 2008 Vx cruiser with 100 hrs for 4500 australian dollars.
Freshly serviced with no problems.
My first JetSki, but would it be powerful enough to tow a knee order or 2?
Towing more than one won’t be ideal but one person will be fine. That is not that many hours for a 2008, that is a nice find!
Thanks for the guide and found it very useful and good practical advice. I’m looking at a 2017 Yamaha FX SVHO with 50 hours. My only problem is that it’s below freezing temps up here and I don’t think I could test the vehicle on the lake in this weather and probably wouldn’t happen until February or March. I would like to buy now before I have to compete with a bunch of other buyers and I found one that I’m looking for. Any suggestions? Maybe purchase a one year warranty from a third party? The owner said it has been well taken care of and winterized. I will ask for records.
The best thing to do is see if it starts fine and get the service records. Look to see if it’s been winterized every year and check for any damage like to the seat as that can tell you how well they took care of it. Double-check to see if it by chance still has a warranty from the manufacturer, it’s still fairly new and you never know what promotions were run that year for that location.
Hi I was looking to purchase two 2015 Seadoo GTI 130 on have 45 hours and the other one have 59 hours. Also include a 2016 double trailer and covers for 15k do you think is a good deal? Any advise thanks.
It’s a little high If they’re non-SE models but since 2020 has been a crazy year for used this is about as good as it’s going to get. Nothing crazy sticks out about that year model, it was a good engine and PWC. That is low hours but not too low which is good.
What does it mean when FT starts blinking on the screen of a 2008 GTI-SE Blue/Yellow Addition?
I live on the lake and bought doubles and we came back home cause I told my husband “ It started missing like then when we switched and he turned it on the FT started blinking on the screen
We’ve got a 2018 GTX w/ Radio but I had a old one just like the 2008 (still got it) but when we flipped it, it didn’t turn back over so we drained all the water out of it and changed spark plugs and changed the oil and 2 days later it blew up w/ 16 hours on it and it was 8 years old because the lake house was just a vacation home and we kept it in the Sea-Doo garage and changed the oil and winterized it like always so idk why that did that for?
But I wished I knew about the Spark cause for the doubles I paid for I could if got a Spark!
BUT IM MORE CONCERNED ABOUT WHAT THIS FT MEANS FLASHING???
HAVE A GREAT HUMP DAY
“FT”, that’s an odd one? The 2008 GTI would have the same universal display that all Sea-Doo’s had then and the only thing I can think of that would flash FT would be the depth finder. But the GTI did not come with a depth finder, only the GTX Limited did. Though I have had a few Sea-Doos around that time have the depth finder setting get turned on for no reason. Just one day it starts flashing depth or errors. The only way to remove it is at the dealership as they need to flip a switch in the BUDS software when they connect your machine.
Hey man. I have been looking to buy a used 4 Stroke. They have been hard to come by but a buddy of mine from back in high school has a 2006 FX Cruiser with 110 hours and trailer included for $4,500. Would you consider that a good deal? From what I have read it’s usually safest to go for a used ski that’s no more than 10 years old, so I am a little skeptical. What do you think?
A 2006 FX cruiser with 110 hours is quite good. It’s not too little and not too much. The used market for 2020 has been crazy so I personally would jump all over that. I would still lake test it and get a shop to go through it just to be safe. After 10 years cosmetic parts are hard to find, it’s when you get over 15 years that engine parts become hard to find but I feel this motto is changing as 2-strokes disappear and 4-strokes stay around. These 4-strokes are lasting much longer than the old 2-strokes so some old sayings will need to be updated.
I have a ski im looking to purchase right now (2018 Yamaha VX limited) has 120 hours on it and looks really clean. has yamaha Bluetooth speakers and a stern storage accessory bag. comes with the trailer and im just wanting to know if you think 8,000 is a good deal and any advice you might have?
That’s a lot of hours for a 2018 model but a VX is pretty reliable so I would not worry too much. I think $8k for that is a really good deal! It’s almost too good of a deal as KBB has it for $9k and jet skis are selling like crazy this time of year.
Hi Steve, I am new to PWC and I am looking to get 2 new sparks. I have a 7 year old and a 5 year old. We don’t need anything powerful because me and my wife are both new. Is the 2-up enough room for one adult and one little kid or should I just go with the three up? I was thinking that the smaller engine and smaller seat would be fine for a few years and we could upgrade later when the kids get bigger and we are more comfortable. Thoughts?
One adult and 1 little child is enough room on a 2up spark. But if you want to do pull sports in most stats you legally need a 3up. Because of this many people buy 1 3up and 1 2up and it’s a great combo. If you do get a Spark with the bigger engine it does have a touring mode which is a slow take off to help new riders. Some models Sparks had the option for a learning key where it would limit it to 35mph on the bigger engines.
Hi! Your content is really helpful! Quick question. Looking at a 2015 Spark 3up 39 hours. Claims all is in good working order. Owner not wanting to let us test drive without boaters license however our state we do not have to have them if born before a certain date- therefore my husband and I do not. (Our kid does but of course they wouldn’t agree to that). Wondering if you think we should go ahead with the purchase without it.
If he can show service records and you don’t see any rust around the engine and it starts it should be fine. That is low hours but not too crazy. If the Spark has been sunk before I would not buy it, the service records would show this and the seat would feel heavy due to it taking forever for water in the foam seat to leave. Ask for the VIN so you can ask the local dealer if it has any warranty items on it before buying.
Thanks for your advice….I’ve continued to look and found this: a 2010 Sea-Doo RXT iS 260…..it has 91 hours and is from a dealer…….Engine Type: 260 hp Supercharged Intercooled Rotax 4-TEC engine Displacement: 1,494 cc Bore and Stroke: 100 mm x 63.4 mm Cooling: Closed-loop cooling system Compression Ratio: 8.4:1 Fuel System: Multi-port fuel injection Ignition: Digital induction Starting: Electric Dry Weight: 970 lbs. (441 kg) Fuel Capacity: 18.6 gal (70 l) Height: 43.9 in. (111.4 cm) Length: 139 in. (354 cm) Width: 48 in. (122 cm) Rider Capacity: 3 Storage Capacity: 16.4 gal (62 l) Impeller: Stainless steel Pump: Dual automatic vacuum siphon pumps Transmission: iBR™ Speedometer: Digital Tachometer: Digital Mirrors: Adjustable mirrors Hull Type: S3™ Hull Color: Bright Yellow
Would this be a good deal, or is it too much ski for my purpose?
That’s a fast jet ski, if you’re new to them it might be overkill but it does have slow mode settings to get you used to it. The suspension is super nice on that model but a pain to work on it. If you’re going to do a lot of pull sports you want to avoid the iS models as the tow point is not as strong as the others as it’s the hinge of the suspension. Other than that its a nice ski and it’s from a dealer so they should have done all the warranty items and updates for it. I would still test drive it to make sure you like it.
First off, Thank you so much for this amazing resource. I was thinking of getting our first jet ski soon for this summer. I have 2 little kids and so not looking for anything to break speed records…just good family fun. I have an older fellow who has a 2004 Seadoo GTI 717cc for $2900….. oil and fuel injected with a Karavan trailer (new tires,new bearings, new lights)……he had it to take his grand kids out at the lake…….It has 143 hours on it. He says it works perfectly and has nothing wrong with it other than a little wear on the main seat section.
I know it’s a 2 stroke and you advise against that, but I have a bombadier/seadoo dealer down the street from me and If i like the sport (if we actually use it enough), I would sell it and get a newer 4 stroke for next summer (2021)…..I’m wondering what do you think of that model? that price? My plan ?
Of all the 2-stroke Sea-Doos to avoid it would be the fuel-injected ones (LE, RFI, DI). Those are a nightmare, they often get the oddest of electrical problems and can drive a sane man crazy. If you can find a non-fuel injected 04 or 05 GTI then those were not that bad. They were not that fast, about the same speed as a 90HP spark these days. To test this call up your local dealer and ask them if they can still get engine parts for the exact model you’re looking for, even ask how they fell about fuel-injected Sea-Doo 2-strokes.
If it was me I would look for a used 4-stroke. Here in the US it’s winter and you find some of the best gems this time of year. Even dealerships can have used units that they don’t advertise and you have to call – it’s odd but it does happen. If you’re thinking of maybe getting a new one next year I would strongly consider talking to your local dealer about any leftover models. The leftover models will have the best rebates and if you’re willing to spend $2900 that should cover a year’s worth of payments depending on how long you finance for and promotions. After the year you find you love the sport you already have a ski and don’t need to shop anymore. If you don’t like the sport I’ve found it easier to sell a used current year model then to sell any 2-stroke jet ski. During April and May, they sell quickly if you want to sell next year. Every 2-stroke I come across today I always end up selling to scrappers because the parts are worth more than the machine. That model you’re looking at might be great and run perfectly for years but the odds are not in your favor especially if it’s a fuel-injected 2-stroke. To me, a 2-stroke is not worth it anymore.
Hi Steve, thanks for the eBook it is a great resource. I’m looking at my first ski and want to be able to tow my adult mates on knee boards or donut. What size jetski do you think I need as a minimum, will I get away with a GTI 130 without them thinking its too slow?
A GTI 130 will pull them just fine.
Hi, Looking at a 2017 Spark with 25 hours vs a 2011 GTI with 146 hrs. The former has no service receipts, but only 25hrs!. The latter has a full service receipt from August 2019. Which should I buy??
Go for the Spark if you want something playful. Go for the GTI if you want something comfortable, if you want to ride for more than an hour the GTI is a must.
But what about jetski in rental company? It runs everyday especially in tropical countries. Doesnt 300hrs lifetime too short?
300 hours is low for a jet ski from a rental company. The only time I see this happen is if they get rid of the PWC after a year and if that is the case 300 hours is too high to start off at for a year old jet ski.
I see a lot of the 2008 2009 yamaha fx sho supercharged and high output for sale around 5k – 8k. If they are in good condition, is it worth it to buy? Also, should I stay away from supercharged? I not new to the jet ski game but never owned one. Just want to start off with something cheap. Please let me know your thoughts regarding what to buy. Thanks
For your first one, I say to stay away from supercharged models if you can. Sea-Doo was the worse of the 3 but Yamaha and Kawasaki both had their issue with superchargers around that time too. When it comes to that time frame too it was superchargers that needed more maintenance and care than the ones you can get today. It’s going to cost more not only in maintenance but also those old supercharged models guzzled gas like crazy. But if you want to go as fast as possible (over 60mph) a supercharged jet ski is your only option.
I have a 2001 Gti Seadoo and it will run ok then will lag and lose some power then pick up. Got the carburetor rebuilt and still have problem. However when run from reserve tank it runs fine. Do you have any idea what the problem may be? Thanks so much.
Sounds like you need to replace your fuel lines.
Hi Steven. I’m new to jet skiiing and am looking for a solid, comfortable ski that I can also use with my teen daughter. I’m choosing between a 2017 Sea Doo GTI SE 90 with 70 hours @ $6,500 and a 2016 Yamaha VX Cruiser HO with 105 hours. Both appear to be in nice shape. Any suggestions?
I would go with the VX Cruiser HO for the more power it offers. To be honest, both are great options but that 90HP could have you wanting more power over time especially if you plan on pulling anyone.
Would you purchase a 2018 Seadoo GTI with about 200 hour on it (from a rental fleet)? They say all warranty work it done before they sell them, and they usually sell for about $7500. Thought on this?
This is a tough one. The rental company is being smart and buying new units every year but it also has 5X the number of hours I would be comfortable with. It’s probably under the commercial warranty which is probably up or about to expire too so that is a big downside. But 200 hours on a GTI is not a lot and sure to have many more. That price is a little high for my liking. KBB watercraft says $7,200 and that assumes a jet ski with a lot fewer hours on it. If it was closer to $5.5k or $6k I would consider it but there are a lot better options on the market.
I’m looking at 2 2012 Yamaha VX cruisers with a trailer. Winterized, services, and garaged every, has a few minor dock dings and worn seats from use. However, 530 and 486hrs. What are your thoughts?
The hours are a little too high for my liking. I expect 30 hours a year and a 7-year-old jet ski should have about 210 total hours. They have double that and I would not feel comfortable with that.
This page just saved me $5000. Going to purchase 2 well cared for perfect 2004 waverunners with low hours (75-130 hrs) bought a good compression tester, first machine checked out perfect, all cylinders within 5%. 2nd 130 hr machine cylinders 80, 80, off scale?, 60. Foamy water in my tester and cylinders. No oil on dipstick (can be normal on cold engine??) and lots of oil in front bottom of the hull. Thanks you Thank you thank you!
Yea, that second machine sounds blown up. Under 100 psi for each cylinder and one that was way off is a bad sign. Foamy water in the cylinder is also not a good sign either, could have been sunk. There should be oil on a dipstick even if the engine is cold. And lots of oil in the bottom of the hull is a very bad sign too. Sounds like a blown up jet ski, would not buy.
i am looking into a 1999 seadoo gti? looks very clean on pictures, the owner has the receipt from last week tuned up from the dealer & he want me to test drive it. What you recommendations are they usually good jetski
I usually don’t recommend any 2-strokes but that model GTI has a special place in my heart. I always like that GTI because it was easy to work on and rode nice. But it still is a 2-stroke and 2-strokes are phased out. If you can get it cheap and it test rides fine and don’t mind something that will only last maybe a season or two then go for it. Me personally I would rather put my money towards an 07 or later GTI as they still make that engine and will for years to come.
Hi again and thank you for your comments re our prior questions. Looking for some advice when purchasing a machine that is older but seems to address many of your suggestions! The machine is rebuilt. Looking at an a 2000 SEAdoo gtx owner just had engine and carb rebuilt- new wear ring and jet pump, fuel lines and solars performance intake grate and reupholstered seat. Hull buffed and waxed. Ad states compression even in both cylinders. How do you assess ? What should we look for? Owner offering water test. It sounds like it’s on gray shape- but is all the new hiding something?
A 2000 GTX would be a 2-stroke. While he got the engine rebuilt and everything cleaned up I honestly would not buy it. It’s going to be a tough call on this one because it’s like new now but down the road, it could be an issue due to 2-stroke being phased out. If you’re only looking for a PWC for a summer or two it might be worth it. If it’s a GTX DI then I would for sure not buy it, those DI’s will always have phantom issues.
Hey there. Im looking to buy a 2003 Sea Doo GTX 4 tec. I’m a rookie, but looking to get something cheap to get started with. It has 143 hours on it. He bought it in 2011 with about 50 hours on it. Said he’s selling it cause the kids have moved out. The guy said he did all of his own maintenance. Stored it outside during the winter under a small weporch. He started it up and the inserted the hose and everything sounded good. I couldn’t get it to start right away, but he was able to. I noticed some very long scratches on the bottom, but they did not appear deep. They were on the back part of the hull, not near the front. He stated he would sell the ski and the trailer, with tow ropes and life jackets for $2700. Any thoughts or advice? I have pics of the ski if that would help you answer. Thanks.
Not deep scratches on the bottom of the hull are normal, people will beach their watercraft and scratches will happen. 2002 was when Sea-Doo released their first 4-stroke engine and it had issues but today that 155HP engine I consider to be “bulletproof”. I would see if you could do a lake test on it to make sure it’s not taking on water and it takes off fine. If he had service records that would have been awesome so you could check the compression on the engine. Other then that nothing is jumping out at me for that model. I would check the oil to make sure it looks good (amber to slightly darker is fine); if it looks like a melted chocolate milkshake I would worry.
Hi your site is very informative! We are new PWC – looking to buy something for our boys to use at our cottage. They would tour occasionally with a passenger and it would be great if the machine would pull a tube or kneeboarder. We have found two waver runner vex sports 2010 with 300 hours on each. The boys are 6 foot plus 200 it’s plus. Asking price with trailer 9950 Canadian.
Machines are freshwater only. The seller says the run fine , no compression
Test available, The machines look very clean.
Love your advise on these thx
If they’re your first jet skis they will be fine. If you plan on doing a lot of tubing I would honestly look for something with more HP, closer to 155hp as the VX models were around 110. More HP will give you more pull power for tubing and such. 300 hours is getting up there for how old they are, but the thing that worries me is that he doesn’t have a compression test done on them. If he had them serviced they would have tested that and wrote it on a work order, that would put my mind at ease. See if he has any service records on them.
I am currently looking at purchasing two used seadoos from a guy. One is a 2012 GTI SE 155 and the other is a 2012 Wake 155. Both have around 59 hours. The owner says they have always been garage kept (the pictures seem to support this), he says they have only been used in freshwater, and that they have been continually serviced throughout the years. I still have a few reservations about buying used skis however, and was wondering if you had any insight into these particular models. Are the low hours a red flag?
Nothing odd with those models, the 155HP engine is pretty much “bulletproof” if you ask me. Those hours are not low enough for me to worry about either especially if he kept it in his garage. If it was kept on the water more I would expect more hours.
I just came across a 2007 SeaDoo 215 with only 97 hours on it. Would you run away screaming? Looks great on pictures and seems to be garaged.
I live in a country that doesn’t see a whole lot of sun, so PWC riding days are scarce and because of that, they probably don’t get too many hours.
It should be fine so long as they had the supercharger rebuilt recently, if not I would not get it.
Steven! Thank you for the resource!
Looking at 3 machines. Understand I’ll be rebuilding superchargers on them shortly;unfortunately I have no further maintenance records, other than hrs.
Curious your thoughts on which machine you’d go with. I weigh 200# and am going 3 seater. Ill be both riding (fast) and being pulled (knee-board?). Thank you, sir –
2011 Sea-Doo/BRP GTX Limited IS 260 – 58 hrs – $7100
2013 Sea-Doo/BRP RXP-X 260 – 98 hrs – $7730
2014 Yamaha FX Cruiser SVHO – 48 hrs $9420
Really looking to stay around the $7-$8k range unless you suggest otherwise.
Since you’re going 3-seater the RXP is out of the question because its a 2-seater. You also say you’ll want to do knee-boarding so I would take the GTX Limited iS out of the mix because its tow point is not the strongest because that’s where the suspension hinges at. That leaves you with the FX Cruiser SVHO. From what you say you want to do, if I were you I would be looking for a Wake Pro from around 2014 or so – that would be the perfect machine for your needs. Or maybe an older RXT or FX HO would be perfect too.
I’m been looking at a couple of jet skis and was wondering which is the better choice.
2007 Yamaha VX in VGC with 85hrs on clock?
2008 Sea-Doo GTX 215 Supercharged with 167hrs on clock?
Has rebuilt Supercharger and new jet pump.
Thanks for any advice,
The VX would be fine if you’re new to jet skis but the GTX 215 will be a lot more power and more comfortable. Plus, the GTX having the supercharger already rebuilt is a plus in my book. It really boils down if you want to go fast or want something to start off on. You can’t go wrong with either.
Awesome. Thank you. If all checks out it seems to be a good price. Would you agree? My research thus far has alerted me to low hours can be a negative if the ski was not properly serviced and as of now I have no idea if it was or was not.
It’s hard for me to give an exact price without being there but I do go off what KBB Watercraft says and the cost of the trailer on top of that. Low hours don’t always mean a negative. You will get some people who buy a jet ski and only use it twice a year. So long as they serviced it when it needed it you should be fine.
I am going to sea trial a 2016 Waverunner VX HO with 38 hours tomorrow. One owner traded it in with his boat to buy a bigger boat from a boat dealer. They stated it checked out during their inspection for trade but I have not seen any paperwork regarding service. It is in good shape cosmetically and appears to have been garage kept. The boat dealership has had it in their inventory since September of 2017 and are offering it to me for 8,000. This price includes a trailer. What should I be looking for when I ride it? Visual inspection?
When you ride it you want it to launch without hesitation. Make sure no alarms are going off and try different speeds to make sure it’s running fine. Check the seats and under the hull if you can for any damage. Ask the dealership to give you a copy of the check out sheet, you want to see the compression. I go over what to look for in compression testing and more in my used buyers guide here… https://www.steveninsales.com/used-jet-ski-buyers-guide/
Also looking at a Sea-Doo RXT-X 260 that I REALLY like the look of a lot! How does it compare with the FX with regards to stability? Thanks again!
If it’s a 2018 RXT then it’s going to be more stable. If its 2010 to 2017 you won’t be able to tell the difference compared to an FX of similar years.
First, I appreciate you, your time and your advice. I’m about to download your book. Can you tell me your thoughts on a 2009 FX SHO, 42 hours in MINT condition with trailer and cover? Everything looks as new. I am looking for stability and power to pull a toy. My wife and I are the only riders. I am 150 lbs max and she is about 165 lbs. She is not a speed freak but we do have fun on rentals from time to time. Primarily this will be used on the Columbia river way inland and on lakes. It has never seen salt water. Are there any issues? Do you like this year and model?
Nothing bad comes to my mind about this model. Should be stable and more than enough power for pulling tubes. Make sure to check compression if you can and call up your local dealer with a VIN to make sure there is no warranty or recalls on it.
I noticed that you do not recommend the Sea-doo Spark for ocean use. I want to purchase a 2 up small jet ski so we can jump boat wakes on a lake and do quick spins. This is for teenage boys so they are not into cruising but really want to jump waves. Are you saying that the Spark would not be the best choice for waves? Thanks!
The Sparks will be fine for the lake or jumping small waves if that is something you’re looking for. It sounds like they’ll love the Spark Trixx the most.
Hi Steven. I’m looking at two 2006 Seadoos right now. The one is a GTX LTD with 65 hours. The other is a GTI SE with 60 hours. One owner. They’re both in great condition. I would like to hear your advice or opinion. Thanks
Both machines are great but make sure the GTX LTD has had its supercharger serviced with the latest shims.
Hi Steven, we were looking at a 1995 Tigershark Montego jet ski and I was wondering if you had any opinions or experience with them, if they are worth it or what to look for ?
I would not get a Tigershark at all. They don’t make them anymore and parts are hard to find for them. I would recommend getting any model 4-stroke or something made after 2007 from Sea-Doo, Yamaha, or Kawasaki.
Such great information, thank you! How many HP would you recommend for a 6’3″ man, 240 lbs for riding and also if we wanted to pull him on a tube behind the jet ski, would that be possible?
I’m not too far off from those measurements myself. I’ve been pulled by a 90HP Spark before, but 130HP or 155HP felt stronger and better.
I’m new to this jet ski but owned a boat my whole life 54yrs. I got to ride my niebhors Honda jet ski non turbo 06 an his 13 seadoo the Honda was a lot smoother no vibration an quick response what are your views on a Honda turbo vs non turbo or another brand comparable thanks
My only problem with Honda’s is that they don’t make them anymore. Another issue is that there is a recall on some for venting issues so I would get that looked at before I ever buy one. Other than that, Honda had a great machine either turbo or not. I lean more toward Sea-Doo after Honda got out and I find Yamaha to be the worse for vibration. Kawasaki is quite nice on there bigger models and smooth too if you want something beyond Sea-Doo or Yamaha. I have a feeling the 2013 Sea-Doo was maybe a GTI or Spark? There GTX is a lot smoother and quieter, maybe look at that one instead.
Thank you. Following up, I have 2 units I am looking at to purchase. This will be my first jet ski, so am thinking to buy used, see how much use I get out of it, then probably upgrade to new in a year or 2 if it makes sense. I only want to buy one, but a lot of the riding will be with both my wife and I on it, and have been told that for 2 adults, you are better off with a 3 seater. The 2 I’m looking at are:
A 2009 Yamaha VX110 deluxe with 400 hrs. This is a 3 seater. Cost with trailer $4200
A 2007 Seadoo RXT Waverunner with 80 hrs. This is a 2 seater. Cost with trailer $4700.
It seems like this is a trade off of age (2 years newer) vs hours (significant), plus the seating. Also, the one item that concerns me a bit on the Yamaha is he said his top speed was 45, but articles I’ve read indicate it should be 50. Top speed isn’t a real driver for me, but wondering if that could be an indication something might not be right. I’m not mechanically inclined, so don’t know if I could actually use a compression gage. Test riding both units in a couple of days. Any thoughts on what I should look for or recommendations?
Thanks in advance
Both options are not my greatest pick and I’m a huge fan of the RXT. But all Sea-Doo RXT models are 3 seaters, the RXP was a 2 seater. The Yamaha had its timing chain issue and the RXT had its supercharger issue and that is why I’m not jumping for joy on both options. And that VX has too many hours at that price point for me to even consider it. Before I would buy either I would make sure the RXT has the correct supercharger shims in it and if not factor in the price to fix that (above $800 depending on where you go) and same goes for the VX with it’s recalls and timing chain. Other than that, the RXT will be night and day faster than the VX and bigger and a better ride too (it’s like a Prius vs Camaro). Both should jump out of the water quickly. These two I would for sure have a dealership or repair shop do a deep dive in making sure everything is okay before you buy.
Hello Steve, first of all. Big THANKS for you knowledge. I am in the moment of buying a used 2006 Sea Doo RXT with 200 hours. The owner assure me that everything is in great conditions. The supercharger have never been work on and I know about the ceramic washer on this year because I did the research. Due to times that we both don’t have I am not doing a test run on water. Does 4000 sound good and what do you think about this sea doo?
If it has not had the supercharger job done by now I would not buy it. That is extreme neglect for years, its been over a decade that this problem has been known. Who knows what else he neglected to do. And $4k is too much since it needs the supercharger job done too.
Your article was a great help, and q&a excellent. I live in Myrtle Beach and there is a tour company on the Intracoastal that buys a new fleet of Jet skis every year, use them for the season, then sell. Basically, they would be 2018 units that are ridden 4-6 hours per day for 3 months. A lot of hours, but like new on the other conditions. What do you think about purchasing one of these and what should I look for in inspection
I usually try to avoid buying rental units because they’re ridden hard and sometimes carelessly. I’m certain that most rental companies take good care of the units and get them serviced since this is how they make there living, but it’s the riders of the skis that worry me. If it’s your first jet ski it might be worth it or if you’re getting a second one, but I would still get it checked out at a dealership to make sure compression and the pump are okay. And if they have a lot of hours I would want a really good discount on them since it will hurt you later to sell it again. If it’s over 400 hours on a rental unit I personally would have a hard pass on them.
Thank you for the prompt reply. I will leave out the 2 strokes as you suggested and start my search for good 4 strokes. Thanks for all the great information, I will download your used buyers guide also.
Steve, I just returned from the lake of the Ozarks and I ran into a guy who had 3 used jet skis all various models. He likes to buy used ones, fix them up for his family to ride. I mentioned we were looking at the new sea doo jet ski. He said definitely not to buy sea doos unless you want to buy a new one every 3 years. Your article mentioned parts and mechanics being hard to locate and he mirrored that statement. This gentleman said the sea doo wave runner has electronic parts and if a shop doesn’t pay for that upgrade on the electronic metering device, will you could be out of luck adjusting certain parts. He mentioned replacing the fuel lines and other parts that have to be dialed in with this electronic sensing machine. I don’t know how much they cost but buying one to service a ski doesn’t seem like something I would want to be forced to buy. I would appreciate your input, I have learned a lot so far. I haven’t bought one yet, because I don’t want to make an expensive purchase mistake. Thanks Janice
I wouldn’t buy any 2-stroke no matter who makes it, parts for 2-strokes are getting hard to find because they don’t make them anymore. 4-strokes have replaced them and parts are easy to get for them and will be for years to come. The only Sea-Doo I have no for sure are the models like the DI and RFI models but those fall under the 2-stroke category so it would be a double no from me.
As for electronics, all the watercraft these days use a computer that controls parts of the craft and it doesn’t matter the brand. This is not an issue to any credible dealership or repair shop but could be a problem for the backyard mechanic. Not trying to mock or discredit this guy but it’s not as big of an issue that he’s making it out to be. As for replacing the fuel lines that is only an issue a 2-stroke would have and another reason why I say to avoid them (this is the same for any manufacturer). It looks like there is something me and him agree on and that is 2-stroke Sea-Doo are not that great, but I also consider any 2-stroke not great too. Stick to 4-stroke watercraft and you’ll be better off than any 2-stroke.
Do some manufacturers in general produce quieter models – Looking to buy new. We vacation at a lake with lots of seaweed and is rough – what type of haul would make ride smoother. My children are 13,11. I would like reliability, 3 person and not so concerned with a top speed. Would like more torque to tube when lake is smooth. Also would you suggest HO model jet skis. Thanks for great information !
All watercraft you buy today are pretty quiet and have to be due to some regulations. You’ll want to stay with the bigger hull watercraft like the GTX, RXT, FX, and Ultra models. Anything with 150HP or more like the GTX 155 or FX HO will be a perfect fit for you. The HO badge can get confusing these days, its the ones that say Supercharged that you should avoid. For example, the FX HO is an HO model but it’s not what I consider the extreme of power as it’s only slightly faster than the GTX 155. The good news is that most of the watercraft in this category have slow/learning keys or even better yet have different modes to allow you to pick the power you want. If your main concern is rough water then you’ll want to stick to the Sea-Doo or Kawasaki, but the Yamaha is a workhorse though.
Hey, I’m looking at a 1999 Yamaha XL 1200 PWC it has 236.4 hours on it and it runs like new as far as I can tell they want 2200 for it and the trailer. Do you think it’s too many hours?
Yes for a 2-stroke.
Great info in this article. New to PWC and looking to buy our first. Our plan is to keep it at our cabin on a relatively small lake and have it for family use. Looking at a couple options:
2014 Spark 2 up 900 ho with 96 hours-$4000
2007 GTI SE 130 hp with 82 hours-$4600
2007 Yamaha VX cruiser with 170 hours- $4500
All three include a trailer. Thanks for the info!
I personally would go for the 2007 GTI SE 130. It has the lowest hours, a great engine in my opinion, great storage, and simple pretty stable compared to the rest. Next in line would be the Spark only because it has a lot fewer hours than the VX.
Thanks for the input!
Hi Steve, I notice you don’t talk about Honda’s that much but I have a 2006 aquatrax 3 seater F-12 4 stroke…… I’ve owned it since it’s had 18 hours….today it has 76…..ive put 58 hours on it in 7 years….it runs beautiful never have had a problem and every year I have done full winterization and new oil ….only have run 93 octane in it and it’s just been a great machine……do u think it’s time to move on because it’s bound to start having things go wrong? or would u keep it untill it don’t run no more…:.i like the new looking sea doos but for what kbb says mine is worth I feel like that’s a steal for this machine and I’d rather not sell iT….the seats look brand new and it’s just a beautiful machine
A 4-stroke honda with under 100 hours, I would ride it till it dies. It’s a good machine.
Hey Steven I’m looking into purchasing two sea doo jet skies 2003 4tec supercharged 2002 gtx d1 both have around 60 hours on them the asking price is 5500 which includes a double trailer the problem I’m worried about is they have been sitting for the last seven years what precautions should I take before buying them
I would not buy a DI of any kind, they have so many phantom electrical issues. For the 4-stroke I would make sure the oil is good and check the compression. I would take the 4-stroke out to a nearby shop for them to check it over before buying because its hard to tell when you’re at someone’s house. Plus, if it’s been sitting for 7 years I would for sure get it a full service anyways.
Hi, thanks for all of the info you have provided!
We are first time PWC buyers looking at a 2006 Yamaha VX deluxe from a dealer with 260 hours on it for 3700$. Do you think this is too many hours?
As long as the machine has been properly serviced and all proper warranty claims have been done on it the machine should be fine. See if they’ll let you do a test ride first and ask if the machine serviced at there shop and if so see if they have service records. The average ride puts 30 hours a year on there watercraft so after 12 years you would expect 360 hours so you should be good on that end. Plus, this also tells you that previous owner loved and used their machine because they actually put hours on it.
What do you think about 2008 sea doo RXT 57hr for $6300 with trailer?
Just make sure it has gotten the correct supercharger shims in it and was serviced regularly.
im looking to buy my first jetski. yes I am budget but I just want something for the couple nice months I get then ill get rid of it, is it possible to buy a decent machine for 1000? iv seen a ton that say there ready to go most are from the years 1996 – 1999 they look like good shape? should I be worried if someone said they re did the whole engine? or is that a good sign ?
For $1k it’s more than likely going to be a 2-stroke or a beaten down 4-stroke. But if you plan on getting rid of it at the end of the season then you should not have too much trouble finding something that will run. A rebuilt 2-stroke would not worry me if anything that is a good sign so long as it was put together by someone who knows what they’re doing. I’ve seen many people do this, buy something cheap for the summer and then sell it again – it’s often cheaper to do this than to rent one. I would still recommend getting insurance on it and know that it’s going to bet harder to sell it the closer you get to winter.
Is $2500 a good price for 2007 sea doo se 130hp with 120 hours on each of them with the trailer?
Combine I feel that is too cheap and would worry if something is wrong with them. I would personally pay that much for just one.
What do you think about the Kawasaki stx 15 2008-2010 with 78hr and also looking at a 07 gtx 155 with 116hr
I would prefer the GTX 155 for engine, storage, power, and comfort. Plus, it looks better if you ask me and was the luxury model back in the day.
Steven – thank you for your informative webpage. Very helpful. I am a first time PWC buyer and looking around currently for a good used ski to use on a fresh water river in FL. I’ve come across 3 but not sure which way to go.
2013 Sea Doo GTI 130 $5,990 184 hrs
2008 Sea Doo GTX Lim $5,999 150 hrs
2007 Sea Doo GTX 155 $5,499 71 hrs
2016 Yamaha V1 $4,999 Hrs not listed
I’m leaning towards the GTX Lim but should i be concerned about the hours? Any advice would be helpful.
All of them seem like great models. When it comes to ones that are supercharged like the GTX LTD I would be worried about when it had the supercharger rebuilt done. If it never had it done I would not buy it or I would get it done before I even rode it. I personally would go for the 2013 GTI 130 because it would have iBR. My second pick would be the GTX 155 as that ski looks good, rides good, and you can’t beat the 155HP engine that Sea-Doo makes. Just make sure the ski runs good and if you can get a dealership to check it out or have the seller provide service records. I cover a lot more details in my ebook about buying used watercrafts… https://www.steveninsales.com/used-jet-ski-buyers-guide/
HI Steven – great article… very informative. what are your thoughts on a couple 2007 yamaha vx cruisers. 85 hours… asking $9500 with trailer. i’m new to jet skis. most important feature is stability. my only experience was about 20 years ago, i got on, rolled over and never got on again. thanks for any input!
They have come a long way since 20 years ago. The VX will feel more stable than anything from back then, but it’s not the most stable. You’ll want to stick to GTX or FX models if you want the most stable. But the average person could stand on the side of the VX and not flip it, or they could if they really tried. 85 hours is not bad, but I would still have a dealership check them out. Check the bottom hull for any damages and see if he has maintenance records. The great thing about 85 hours on a ski means they used them regularly but not too much. So it’s a good chance they took care of them. If there is no tear on the seats that would be a good sign too, that shows they took care of the machines and would build my confidence in buying them. If everything checks out those are good machines and you should get years of fun out of them. Don’t forget to check out the trailer too. I’ve found a lot of guys these days will sell for cheap but give you a really bad trailer with either broken axles or wheel bearings.
Hi Steven. Where can I find the definition of Poor, Fair, Good and Excellent condition for a PWC. Kelley Blue book has these four conditions for used cars, boats and motorcycles but doesn’t list PWC. Does that matter? Does PWC fall under boat or motorcycle? I wanted something more specific states PWC. I’ve been clicking everywhere! Thanks.
Poor, fair, good, and excellent can be open to any definition. If you ask me, Excellent is not a scratch on it and looks like it came off the showroom. Good is that the engine looks clean and perfect, no rust, but the hull might have a few scratches or even a ding from the dock. Fair is some rust on the engine and more scratches and more dings from the dock and might have faded. Poor is tears in the seat, a lot of damage to the fiberglass, missing parts, rusted and nasty engine compartment and faded so bad it’s a different color. What I found though is that all sellers think their craft is in excellent condition no matter how faded and damaged it is. This gets even more tricky as watercraft don’t seem to age well compared to cares. Fiberglass fades quicker and seats split more often due to the sun. This is is why I spend more time looking at the engine and the things that make it go as I can always make it pretty again.
HI Steve l
looking at a 2000 Yamaha XL800 with “147 miles for $2,400 – thoughts
Would not buy, it’s a 2-stroke and not only that but over 15 years old now. Not worth the trouble especially at that price too, you could get a nice 4-stroke GTI or VX from around 2007 for that price.
I’m looking at a 2006 GTI 4-tec 130 with only 88 hours for 2700 with trailer. What are your thoughts on that deal as well as the craft overall
Good ski. Good hours. Good price. Sounds like you have a winner. Make sure to still test ride it.
If you had $4K and wanted a 3 person PWC what would be your top 3 choices in that price range?
A 4-stroke GTI or VX or GTX. If I can find a 2006 GTX or 2008 GTX in the 155HP I would be all over that. It’s a bulletproof engine and has a great ride.
Steven – your knowledge and advice is awesome! I’m currently “watching” at a pair of 2006 FXHOS (160hp). Around 75 hrs on them (haven’t seen them in person yet). Comes with a double trailer. Current price is $7500. Location is within driving distance before auction closes. Got any advice for me? Thanks!
Good machines but the best thing you can do is ride them. Or even better get a someone to test the compression on them beforehand. Don’t forget to check out KBB watercraft and eBay to get an idea of what to pay for them.
steven, Any comments on how V1 compares to Vx , thanks
The ride is going to almost be the same but the VX is going to be a better overall experience. The seat on the VX is going to be nicer and the features you get on the VX compared to the V1 is going to be noticeable too. The V1 was a quick release by Yamaha to have something that could compete with the Spark til they could come out with the EX. Since the EX is out now the V1 is phased out. The V1 was more popular with rental companies so you’ll expect used ones to have high hours on them.
Steven, what’s your take on supercharged vs non supercharged? I have found a 300L and a 300LX, both 2012 and both close in price.
Superchargers are fine, just make sure to get them serviced at the right times and you’ll be fine. If you’re new to the sport non-supercharged would be a better way to start because many of those are fast enough for many people. If you’ve owned many Jet Skis in the past and need something faster then go supercharged.
Steven, I have read your comments about 2 stroke skis but please tell me what you think of this deal. A 2001 yamaha XL 1200 limited which looks really nice and clean and has only 40 hours on it Price $3000 with a trailer. Thanks for all your help
I think that is too much for a 2001 no matter if it’s a 2 stroke or not. You could get a nice 2006 or 2007 GTI or VX for around that price. Plus, winter you can find some really good deal too!
Hi Steven, thanks for sharing your knowledge. I’m looking at two 2011 Yamaha VX cruisers with the dbl trailer for about $9K. My primary concern is something that is safe and comfortable for my family. We will be in saltwater on a bay on Long Island and it can get snotty, especially in the afternoons. They have about 70 hours each. Anything you think I should be mindful of? It is a private sale and, although I have a had a boat, I’ve never had jet skis and I’m worried about getting something that will be be a headache. Thanks for any feedback you have.
I would take them to the local dealer to see if they had all warranty items done on them. There were some older VX models that had timing chain issues and you want to see if you have anything like that. You could even get the VIN’s from the guy selling them and call your local dealer to make sure there are no outstanding warranty items and ask about the timing chains on that model. I also have an ebook that goes into more detail about buying a used Jet Skis here https://gumroad.com/l/iBOac
hello are the sea doo utopia boats good it says it has a v6 but 2 stroke the guy wants 9500 for an 03 is that hi price
V6 would mean it was the awkward time when Sea-Doo jet boats had mercury engines in them. I would avoid it personally.
Hi Steven im looking at a yamaha vxs 2011 with 165hrs it has $8700 on it. Is that abit high priced?
Yes, that would be too high. Check out what NADA Watercraft has to say about the retail price here… https://www.nadaguides.com/Boats/Personal-Watercraft
Hi Steven, I’ve been cramming my head with knowledge all week and I’m glad I found your site before I make my first ski purchase this weekend. Let me start with saying I’ve only been on a seadoo before (’07 GTI se and ’13 GTI se) on lakes in the south. I live in Ohio and will only be riding on Lake Erie during the summer months. All my friends have sea doos ranging from 2-strokes up to new supercharged models. I’m a Honda guy at heart, and have driven honda automobiles most of my life. I just sold a modified turbocharged honda civic for $5k to purchase a ski, as it’s deal season here in OH. As a honda enthusiast, I immediately became interested in a 2005 Aquatrax, specifically the 3 seat F12x, turbocharged model. I found one local for $4500, 175 hrs, has a replaced turbo & new propulsion system. That price ALSO includes a double trailer AND a 2001 Kawasaki 1100 STX D.I. 2 Stroke with 39 hrs. Both have new batteries and are ready to ride – no issues. The STX would mostly be a spare ride for friends/relatives to use, as I plan on spending most of my time on the F12x, as the previous owner did (second owner btw.) Both are 3-seater, which is important, as I will sometimes have my wife and 6 yr old daughter on the seat with me. I’m a fan of the turbocharged 4cyl and honda’s reliability in general.
Now, my sea doo friends say skip that whole deal and get a 2010 GTX 155. A particular one available with 85 hrs comes with a trailer for $6k. They say I’ll appreciate the S3 hull on Lake Erie, as well as the iControl and braking. The iControl does sound nice, as docking is stressful to me, only riding other people’s skis on occasion.
Also important to note that all these skis are freshwater and have no damage. I’ll be doing any repairs/maintenance myself. I haven’t seen mention of the Aquatrax on your site and wanted to get your opinion on my two final choices.
2005 Honda Aquatrax F12X 3 Seater + 2001 Kawasaki STX 1100 Direct Injection (2-stroke) 3 Seater for $4500
Pros: Honda, turbocharged, most fun, fast, new propulsion system. Second ski for friends/relatives to ride. Great price for 2 fast skis.
Cons: Older models may mean less available parts. Read online that although more stable than the 2-seater R12x, the F15x at idle speeds with 3 people is considered unstable by some riders of other skis- no mention of what models they were comparing to… I’m used to the stability of a 3 seat GTI and would like something that stable again. Paying insurance for 2 skis, towing 2 skis, maintaining 2 skis.
2010 Sea Doo GTX 155 for $6000
Pros: S3 Hull, Newer technology, ease of finding parts, Less weight to pull on the road, only 1 ski to insure/maintain. I know sea doo experts who can give advise on any issues that may happen with this model.
Cons: Not a Honda, not as quick, $2k more expensive, less storage, no second ski option for friends/family to ride.
Looking forward to your response and reading through all of your articles over the long Ohio winter!
Honda did make a great Jet Ski and I’m sure you would love it. But your friends are right, Lake Erie can be busy and that S3 hull will be a better ride if you ask me. And iBR will make docking a lot easier not only for you but others who ride it – and everyone will want to ride your machine. Since Honda doesn’t make Jet Skis any more parts will soon get hard to find for it so based on that the GTX will be more future proof. And the GTX 155 is what I call the Goldie-Locks of watercraft, it’s “just right”. Make sure all the updates and services have been done for it and I’m sure that ski will be the better deal. The Honda will be fine too, but I wouldn’t let the fact you get a 2-Stroke Jet Ski with it be something that you factor in. That 2-Stroke Jet Ski could be more trouble then it’s worth.
Hey Steven, I wanted to say thanks for your advice. I bought the Aquatrax F12x and the Kawasaki STX 1100 DI with trailer for $4400. I rode the Honda first and fell in love with it. Then rode the 1100 STX once and didn’t like anything about it. Although pretty quick @ 59 mph, it was inferior to the Honda in every way. I put about $100 into it and sold it for $2800 + trading for a single trailer, bringing the total amount spent for the Honda to about $1750, which is a steal. I’ve learned a lot about the Aquatrax and the biggest issue with them is the ECU’s go bad with the dreaded code 25 (knock sensor – despite the knock sensor being ok.) They all seem to do it eventually, some multiple times. Nobody has been able to pinpoint exactly why. Some say it’s age of the electronics within the ecu, others say it’s the constant 12v power going to the ecu 24/7 when the battery is connected. A replacement ECU is about $1k, although some tuners are able to disable the knock sensor, preventing the ecu from going into limp mode, for about half of the price – just don’t fill up with 87 by mistake. Maintenance is critical, especially in salt water. People who put these away wet are the ones who experience sized turbo wastegates. Also, where Seadoos have the inexpensive Carbon wear ring, Aquatrax’s require replacement of the entire pump assembly. Parts can be found at Jet Skis International or used parts are plentiful on forums/groups. I love this ski. It seats 3, yet by myself is nimble and a blast for jumping waves. Fuel economy is good, especially when cruising. I know the engine will live a long life, being a Honda. It’s just too bad that the expensive ECU has to be the achilles heel of an otherwise great ski. (I’m still on the original ECU at 170 hrs – knock on wood!)
I have a question, How does the hours are counted in PWC ? Same hours if you go slow or fast or when the engine is in idle ? Is there a way for people to cheat on the hours by messing with the vessel computer ? Thanks
When the engine is on the hour meter is counting. It doesn’t matter how fast you go. There’s not an easy way for the average person to mess with the hours. Often, the hours are stored in more than one place on the watercraft just in case you have to replace one of the parts. Like the gauge might store the hours but so does the other computers on the machine. If you replace the gauge sometimes it might not get updated and the gauge won’t reflect the correct hours. The only true way to get the correct hours is to take it a dealership and have them hook it up to the computer as that will display the correct hours. Also, it can be obvious that it’s not the right hours if they’re low and the watercraft is all banged up – that is when you take it to the dealership to get proof of the hours before buying.
Hi mate I just bought a 2003 Yamaha gp1200r the body is in fantastic condition no rust anywhere to b found done a compression test all around the 110 mark got it for $2500 with galvinized trailer my question is I know there being phased but does that mean I can’t use it in dams or oceans because it’s 2 stroke
Some lakes and other locations have banned 2-strokes because they pollute more. They usually have it posted at the lake if it’s banned or not, it’s usually the small ones.
I will second your advice about buying a used 2 stroke. Last summer I bought a 2005 Kawasaki ultra 150 it ran great for the first few months lots of power and fun, I was hooked. Then suddenly it’s lost top end and then no power at all. 1st plug good, 2 plug good, 3rd dreaded gray colour.
hi a am looking at 17 vx crusiser ho or fx ho with one would be stable for two bigger people and better ride
The FX HO would be way better of a ride.
You are very knowledgable. I have learned a lot reading your blog here. I am looking for a standup jetski and much of the research has led me to the superset. I know you said no 2 strokes, so curious your thoughts on the Yamaha Superjet? Thoughts?
I think the Superjet is probably the best stand up on the market. They use 2-strokes in stand up’s to save on weight so you don’t really have much of an option to that unless you want the new Kawasaki one.
Thanks in advance, I’ve been reading your article, ebook and replies to post and I’ve been learning alot…TY!
My request is for your feedback on a 2015 Yamaha V1 Sport (2 seater) with 60 hrs in the low 5K. What things should I look for before I hand over the check, it sure looks like a great deal still under warranty and well serviced from the dealership.
Hey, Thanks your reading! I would see about getting the service records and see that they serviced it every year. Also, if it gets cold where you live ask if they got it winterized too. You’ll start to see some great deals this time of year as the season is ending. As for the V1 Sport, it’s a simple and fun jet ski. Check the compression and the pump like how I recommend in the ebook and if it all looks good then ski should be good. It wouldn’t hurt to look at new ones right now as the end of August and the start of September is when the best deals for new jet skis come. The dealership is about to order 2018 models and the manufacturer wants the dealers to have as few leftover so they order more new ones, to help the give good rebates and warranties this time of year.
Thanks so much for all the info! Can a Spark tow a skiier or tuber? Total newbie to the PWC market – just looking for an inexpensive but reliable unit to get 2 teen boys and dad on the lake. Any info appreciated!
A Spark can tow a Tube or a Skier, but you must be aware of your local laws on tow sports. The Spark doesn’t have mirrors so in many states you will need a spotter sitting backwards when you pull. Since many watercraft have a limit of 3 people that means on a Spark you can only pull one person on a tube at a time. Here is info and videos showing Sparks and other watercraft pulling people to give you an idea of power…https://www.steveninsales.com/look-can-jet-ski-pull-skier-tube-wakeboard/
For a little bit more I would recommend looking at a GTI or VX since they’re a little bigger and will better support your needs.
Considering this 1997 seadoo explorer.
What are your thoughts? It looks like it’s in good shape and well taken care of.
Price: $ 2,300
It’s not every day someone mentions a Sea-Doo Explorer. It’s a rare machine much like how the HX is becoming rare. It’s a 2-stroke and I normally would not buy it unless I wanted to get it as a collector’s item or if I’m a diver that REALLY needs one. The worse part about that craft is also the best part, the tubes often don’t last and wear out too quickly that it becomes a headache to deal with. All the Explorers I see have the tube deflated because you can only patch up so much.
Comparing two used jet skis…..the first is a 2008 Sea Doo GTX 215 and the other is a 2008 Kawasaki Ultra LX. Both have low hours. Comparisons online seem to make the two very similar. Any insight?
The Kawasaki will run better in rougher water but other than that they’re very similar machines. I would see about letting a repair shop look at them to make sure the compression, pump, and super chargers are fine before buying.
thank you for all the info. the ebook was really helpful too!
What is some of the common factors i need to look at when i buy a seadoo that has been sitting for 2 yrs ??
An engine that is locked up from rust in the cylinder walls and piston. Bad gas, Bad battery, bad fuel lines, corrosion are things to watch out for. It would be best to let a dealership or repair show do a check list on it to see what all is wrong with it.
What do you think of buying a seadoo xp limited 2000? just for occasional use and fun.
The owner asks 1500 for the ski and a trailer and he is a friend of the family. I know it’s a two stroke but I want to know if I like the hobby or not. the jetski has a cover and the hull looks clean. I didn’t check the engine yet. I would like to know your opinion.
I would check compression above all else and if that is fine then it will be a fun ski.
Steven – thanks for the help. I’ve made a long list using your buyers guide book to take to the dealer this weekend.
Looking at prices, I’ve also considered the Spark. I saw 2 comments above. Would you reocmmend the Spark (lake only)? How is the stability on the Spark?
Spark vs 2010 Seadoo GTI SE 130
The Spark is great, I own a 2014 model. The Spark is very playful and better on gas compared to a GTI but each has its purpose. The Spark is great on the lake or anywhere that the water is not too rough (unless you like that). The Spark is stable for what it does, but a 3-seater is really a 2 seater and a 2-seater is really a 1 seater. The only thing I wish the spark had was a better seat, the GTI seats are really nice compared to the Spark seat. If you’re looking for an affordable watercraft that gets on you on the water then the Spark is the ticket.
Steven – what are your thoughts on the following. Which do you prefer? There is a large selection of used skis at our local dealer. Many models are the same year with varying hours and therefore varying price. What range of hours should I look for?
2008 Yamaha WaveRunner VX110 Deluxe
2005 – 2007 Yamaha WaveRunner® FX High Output
2005 Sea-Doo GTX 4-TEC
2008 Sea-Doo GTI 130
2006 Sea-Doo RXT
2010 Sea-Doo GTI SE 130
Thanks. Just bought your buyers guide as well.
The VX or GTI are the most reliable of the options you have listed and I personally would look into those. Unless you want to go fast maybe consider the rxt and others but understand the rules on superchargers that I cover in my used jet ski buyers guide. Make sure to ask for a check out sheet from the dealer like I go over in the book. Thank you for buying the book!
thanks!! anything after 2008 with seadoo but does polaris or yamaha do a 4 stroke earlier than 08?
Any Sea-Doo 2002 and up that is a 4-stroke is great, just watch out for some that have superchargers and see if the owners did what they’re were supposed to do with it. I go into great detail about superchargers and other factors to watch out for in my ebook here…https://www.steveninsales.com/used-jet-ski-buyers-guide/
As for the Polaris don’t buy those, they never really got into the jet ski market and only made 2-strokes. Yamaha has some nice 4-strokes too and made many before 2008 too.
wondering if i should by a spark or go for used i am using it on a bay with some waves and beach herd about some issues with the hull of the spark! what do you think? thanks again
I would go with used but not because of the spark hull. The Spark’s hull has been reinforced in 2015 and up but if you do a lot of riding in rough water that hull is too small and it is not comfortable.
Looking at a 2010 yamaha wave runner vs deluxe wirh 200 miles but I’m thinking hours for 4250.00, a dealer has it. What would you do to test it and would you buy or pass? First time jet skiers so not wanting new.
Try to see if they let you test drive it, it should take off quickly and put a smile on your face. The great thing about buying from a dealership is that some can give you a warranty of some kind. Ask them if they have any warranty, even a 30-day warranty would be fine and give you piece of mind. Some dealers don’t give warranty on used but if they don’t do test rides then ask them to supply you a check list of them checking it out to make sure it’s good to go. If they can’t supply a checklist paper from a tech who checked it out then I would walk away from it.
hey man!! If you can email me back thatd be easier, if not its cool! Im purchasing a 2007 yamaha vx1100 tmw 46 hours for 5k (is this a good deal), the guy lives far from the water and doesn’t want to drop it in, he says he will run water thru it and its the same as dropping it in the water.. whats your input on that??! please get back to me asap im going tmw! thanks for much i love this website!
I’ve updated the post with a “bonus” section where anyone can check out what KBB and NADA says a jet ski should go for ($). Running the jet ski on the hose is not the same as running it in the water. You need to be on the water to be able to feel if it has a strong takeoff and running it on the hose can not tell you that. There have been many times when a jet ski runs fine on the hose but runs like crap on the lake.
was in the process of buying a 2005 Yamaha FX1100A Cruiser HO with only 31 hours until the seller told me, when I asked about service records, that he was second owner, he got it with 23 hours on it, and it still has the break in oil since it hasn’t reached 40 hours. That’s 12 years with the same original oil! Should I run away from this?
I’m sure a 2005 Yamaha should have had the first service done at 10 hours. Would I buy it if it hasn’t had the oil changed in 12 years? Probably not. Oil does go bad and for someone to be that out of it in terms of services makes me wonder what else have they neglected?
I’ve had reliable two strokes for years. Can still find parts of course. Check compression and test drive before buying and go have fun!
YES!!! I AGREE WITH YOU 100%!
Hi Steven, looking for advise. just retired at 68 & very fit.
Now have time to enjoy a pass time on the sea.
At my age, should I get a jet ski & some lessons or should I look at a jet boat such as the Sea-Doo Sportster instead. What would you recommend.
Get whatever you feel comfortable with. I have met a couple in their 80’s who ride Sea-Doo’s and put more hours on one in a year than most people would in a lifetime of there jet ski. They do ride the top of the line with suspension and take them anywhere there is a riding event.
great help and info for us newbys thanks. found 2 skis, 2001 seadoo gtx 951 cc, 97 hrs. and 1998 seadoo gsx ltd 951 cc 40 hrs, with trailer. 3 ft scrape on bottom of hull of the 01. pics of engines show no signs of rust or corrosion, no tears or rips in seat. both skis come with covers, owner says maintenance is up to date and serviced regularly. clear titles for 2 skis and trailer in hand. owner wants $5800 or best offer.
NADA guide says average of $3900 for skis and $300 for trailer. may I please have your opinion? thanks.
I have read your other responses, and cant afford newer items. so hoping to find a deal on 2. I know GOOD LUCK!!!!!
I would personally avoid them. They’re 2-strokes and those are a losing battle and parts are hard to find for them. They started making 4-strokes in 2002, look for a 2002 or a 2004 “4-tec”. KBB says retail for a 2004 4-tec is around $3,600 and that would be a way better machine if you ask me. Or even a 2002 or 2003 would be fine too.
I am looking into a 2010-2012 sea challenger of some sort. Is 100-150 hours normal/high for these type machines? And what should I watch out for? Thanks!
It’s going to be common to see higher hours on Sea-Doo Jet Boats since people spend more time on them. 100 to 150 is low if you ask me for 2010 to 2012 models. Here is an interesting fact, the Sea-Doo Jet Boats have the same engine that their watercraft use. Another interesting fact is that the engines on the jet boats were a year behind, so a 2012 Sea-Doo jet boat would have a 2011 engine tech in it. Not an issue since not much change year to year but it is interesting. Pretty much the same guidelines for checking out a jet ski is the same for a jet boat, make sure to water test it if you can to see how strong the take off is. Boats will be slightly laggy compared to jet skis but still feel fast – except for the 180 challenger with a 155hp engine those things felt slow.
I’m looking at a 2015 Yamaha vx 1100 with 500 hrs on it. The guy said that a diving instructor had it and that is the reason for the high hrs. The current owner said it runs great and selling it for $4800. Not a good choice?
I would personally pass on it, too many hours for a 2015.
Considering buying two 1996 wave runner jet skies if everything checks out with your 5 tip process will I be going wrong thanks
Yes, you would be going wrong. Tip #1 is not to buy a 2 stroke jet ski and if they’re 1996 models then they’re 2-strokes. Unless you only want to ride them for a season then it might be worth it, but overall they will be a headache to deal with. Parts are hard to find for 2-stroke, especially for 1996 models. It’s 2017 so that means those ski’s are 21 years old, that’s like 40 in jet ski years. Jet Ski’s are rode hard and put up wet, literally, and the manufacturers build them to last for 10 years (4-strokes can easily go 15 to 20 years if taken care of). I would avoid them. Look for a 2004 to 2007 4-stroke jet ski non-supercharged, they’re out there and would be a way better value.
Is it 2007 Kawasaki a good price at 3300 I don’t know how many hours but I’m getting ready look at it now he wanted 3900 please text me back for any details to look at
The best thing to do when looking to see how much a jet ski should cost used is to go and see what https://www.nadaguides.com/Boats/Personal-Watercraft says
Hi I know you strongly recommend a 4 stroke but you also say a 155 hp or better. What are your thoughts on a 99 and 01 Yamaha 1200. Thanks
My idea on 2-Strokes is that you don’t buy them, you just rent them. By this I mean a 2-stroke is not going to last. A 2-stroke is fine if all you want is a cheap machine for the season to blast around on. 2-strokes like the Yamaha 1200 are nimble and easy to spin out. A 2-stroke can be fine if you just want a cheap machine to see if you like the sport, but don’t expect it to last especially since 2-stroke parts are getting harder to find.
hi there what is the most reliable jet ski to buy?
i know if you l
you look af8them they will last a long time..
im looking at getting a Yamaha new
What would you recommend??
Anything that is a 4-stroke and made after 2010 will be the most reliable. The most reliable watercraft I would say is a 2006 and up 155hp Sea-Doo GTX, or any Sea-Doo with a 155hp or 130hp engine. Here is a post I wrote on which Sea-Doo’s are good for each year.
Great read! I have been looking for a wave runner to covert for fishing. I have been skeptical in buying a used ski. I found a 2015 Yamaha VX with 17 hrs and still has a transferable warranty until 2021! They are asking $7500 trailer included. If compression is good and I get a test ride in and even have it looked over at a shop, does this price sound decent? KBB says $6600 with average miles but I think 17 is super low, and adding the trailer seems like a good price. Just wanted to ask before taking the plunge! Thanks in advance!
With trailer included and that warranty, it seems like a fine deal to me.