Buying a new jet ski is an awesome experience, but your sales person may have told you (or not) about breaking in your new jet ski engine.
What does that mean?
I know many of you are eager to get on the water and start having fun on your PWC, but there are a few things you should keep in mind to make sure your jet ski engine functions properly.
Let’s go over how to break in a jet ski engine from the Sea-Doo point out view. While we will focus more on Sea-Doo, these tips are common for Yamaha and Kawasaki watercraft.
Why Do You Have To Break The Engine In?
The reason why you need to break the engine in is that it’s brand new. The engine hasn’t seen much action and every component is not seated in just yet.
During the break in period, parts of the engine get “set-in” and things get worn into the correct tolerances.
While all engines need to be broken in, jet skis need a special procedure because they’re high-performance engines. The higher the horsepower, the more forced the break-in is for watercraft (and cars). Your jet ski may not reach it’s full power until the computer lets it free from its break in period.
Your owner’s manual gives the exact procedure, but in this post I’ll go over the general best practices from my many years of helping new jet ski owners.
How Long Do You Break It In?
The first 5 hours of your new Sea-Doo Watercraft are the most critical.
Your break in period is within the first 5 hours. The first service or oil change is 50 hours or 1 year, whichever one comes first. Consult your local dealer or owner’s manual as the specs can change. Some manufacturers still require a 10-hour break in service, keep this in mind and ask your local dealer.
I do the first service between 10 and 20 hours to get the break in oil out. I don’t like waiting a whole year or 50 hours, that to me is too long for that oil to be in the engine.
After those first 5 hours, you can really play with the PWC, but in those first 5 hours, it’s important that you follow the best practices that I list below.
The Best Practices
If you have gotten this far, you might be terrified to break in your new watercraft.
Go ahead and relax, it’s actually quite simple, here is what you do.
- Vary your speed, don’t keep the engine at one speed for no more than 30 seconds.
- Avoid cruise control or the speed limiter mode.
- Avoid SKI-MODE if you have it.
- Avoid pulling tubes and tow sports.
- Stay in touring mode or the slower speed modes.
Most importantly, don’t keep the engine at one speed for too long. Going full throttle is fine, in fact, you should explore the full RPM range of your PWC.
Some watercraft will have a forced break in, you may not get full power until after 5 hours or the engine’s computer has determined it’s fine to do so. Jet ski engines are small and pack a lot of power, so break in is worried about more than say your car’s engine.
After you complete the break in, you’ll need to look into your first service. Your first service is the most important one you’ll do, it’s best to let the dealer do it for you. After that, you can follow the normal jet ski maintenance intervals as talked about here.
Use Slow Modes Or Slow Key?
Sea-Doo watercraft used to come with a learning key, and you can still get them for your watercraft. Kawasaki and Yamaha both have a speed limiting option that you can use too.
With these speed limiting options, should you use them in the first 5 hours for your break in procedure?
Honestly, it’s up to you.
You can use the normal keys and modes, the only thing that matters is not keeping your speed the same for too long. You should go fast every so often, short bursts are fine, the engine wants the full range of power to set everything.
No need to overthink it, just vary your speed every so often in the first 5 hours.
What Do You Mean Change Speed?
So let’s say, for example, you’re in touring mode, and you’re driving at 55 mph. From there, go to 40 mph. Then go to 50 mph. Maybe go to 30 mph. Or 31 or 46 or 59 mph. There is no wrong way to do it. Just change the speed every so often.
If you’re thinking too much about it, then you’re not having fun.
Just go easy and enjoy yourself, it’s hard to do it wrong.
And as always, consult your owner’s manual and your local dealer for more details on your exact watercraft.
If you got a high HP Sea-Doo watercraft, then you get the pleasure of a forced break-in.
The engine will not get to full power until certain hours and conditions are met. It will slowly get faster and faster as you get more hours, but won’t get to full power or RPMs until the computer releases it when it’s happy.
Jet Ski Gear & Tips
Now that you got your new jet ski, you’re going to need a few items to keep you safe, legal and having fun!
I have a list of the must-have jet ski accessories here, along with other tips.