[17 Tips] Used Jet Ski Guide – What To Look For

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.

  1. Check The Price
  2. Check The VIN
  3. 2-stroke Vs. 4-stroke – Avoid 2-stroke
  4. Check The Battery
  5. Engine Hours
  6. Compression Test
  7. Jet Pump Inspection
  8. Check Supercharger (If It Has One)
  9. Has It Been Sunk?
  10. Look For Corrosion
  11. Hull Damage
  12. Drain Plugs
  13. Inspect The Trailer
  14. Get Service Records
  15. Was It Ever Winterized?
  16. Inspect The Seats
  17. 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 hours for the years

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.

Sunken jet ski engine that is dirty
Jet Ski Sunk – Engine Compartment Covered In Gunk

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.

Bad Corrosion At Jet Pump

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.

Other Tips

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-DooYamahaKawasaki 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 SkiPeople 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”

  1. 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.

  2. 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?

  3. 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.

    • 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.

  4. H Steven,

    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

    Steve L

    • 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. Hi Steven.
    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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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…

  19. 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.


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