Feeling a bit puzzled by all the conflicting advice on how to break in your brand-new jet ski engine?
It’s no surprise; these high-performance engines can be a bit tricky when it comes to the break-in process.
But fret not, I’m here to help! Let’s dive into some tips and suggestions that will ensure you get the most life out of your new watercraft. But before we get into the nitty-gritty, let’s talk about why breaking in a new engine is crucial.
Why Do We Break In Jet Ski Engines?
The primary goal of breaking in a new engine is to make sure all those internal parts get seated properly. It’s like giving your engine a warm-up exercise before it hits full throttle.
During this break-in period, various components within the engine gradually settle in, and everything gets worn into the correct tolerances. It’s all about creating that perfect harmony inside your engine.
Now, here’s the deal – jet ski engines are a bit unique. They’re high-performance beasts, and the more horsepower they pack, the more critical the break-in becomes. Think of it as unleashing the true potential of your jet ski. It may not hit its full power until the computer sets 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.
The Break-in Timeframe
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 are equipped with a forced break-in period, during which you may not experience full power until after 5 hours or until the engine’s computer determines it is safe to do so. Given that jet ski engines are compact yet powerful, their break-in process is generally more critical than that of a typical car 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.
Do You Need to Use The Slow Modes & Keys During Break-in?
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.
Please Change Up Your Speed Every So Often
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.
If You have A High Horsepower PWC
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.