If your jet ski has trouble staying running or is cutting out or even bogging down, we have some solutions you can try.
A lot of the time it’s easy to fix a jet ski that keeps cutting out, but there are a few things for a few models you need to keep in mind.
Why Your Jet Ski Is Cutting Out Or Bogging Down
Here is a list of reasons why a jet ski will cut out or bog down while on the water:
- Bad gas
- Bad spark plugs
- Bad battery
- Clogged fuel injectors/damaged
- Clogged carburetor
- Sucked something up
- Damaged jet pump
- Wrong key or mode
- Blown engine
These are the most common reasons for a jet ski to bog down or cut off when riding on the water. Let’s dive deeper into each one.
1. Bad Gas
Bad gas is the most common reason for a jet ski to bog down or shut off or even sputter while on the water.
This problem tends to happen right at the start of a new riding season because many jet ski owners don’t do proper storage procedure.
Gas that will be sitting for months needs to have fuel stabilizer added to it and even then, it’s only good for about 6 to 12 months. This is why I like storing my jet skis near empty during the winter.
To fix this depends on how much gas you have. If the tank is less than half full, I would add premium gas and see if it starts to run better. Though, if the gas is over a year old, then it would be best to get it out safely. Have your local repair shop siphon the old gas out for you, as it’s very dangerous.
Add fresh gas to the gas tank and add marine fuel stabilizer (Amazon Link Ad) to the gas just in case there is any water in the fuel lines.
2. Bad Spark Plugs
Up there with bad gas is bad spark plugs, as both will cause running issues for any engine.
The spark plugs are the first thing I replace when it comes to running issues, and you’ll be amazed how often it fixes the problem.
You should be replacing your spark plugs in your jet ski every year, it’s that bad of a problem.
And don’t get fancy spark plugs, stick to the ones the manufacturer recommends.
3. Bad Battery
I know, a bad battery may not seem like a reason for a jet ski to stutter, shut off, or bog down, but it can.
Most often, it’s not that the battery is bad, but the connection are loose.
A loose battery connection can cause a jet ski to stutter, shut off, or even bog down. A jet ski needs a battery connected at all times to run, or it will shut off or act funny.
Double-check the connection to the battery and if the battery is over 3 to 5 years old, then it’s a good time to replace it.
4. Clogged Fuel Injectors/Damaged
This section is for fuel injected jet skis, basically, you only have to press a start button to turn your jet ski on. If you have to pull a choke lever or turn a fuel selector, go to the next section.
The fuel injectors are what spray gas into the cylinders, so they can ignite the fuel. These injectors can get clogged or damaged.
I’ve seen fuel injectors get damaged more than clogged, some will even leak slowly, causing a jet ski to not want to start back up after running.
The fuel injectors need to be tested to determine if that is the problem. The injectors going bad are not a common thing, so save testing them for last.
5. Clogged Carburetor
If you have to pull a choke or move a fuel selector lever, then you have a jet ski that uses a carburetor. Just about every 2-stroke jet ski, besides the direct injection models, use a carburetor, but every 4-stroke is fuel injected. So if you have a fuel injected jet ski, ignore this section.
While fuel injectors on jet skis going bad is a rare thing, carburetors or the fuel lines going to the carburetor going bad are a lot more common, especially today due to ethanol.
If you have a carbureted jet ski and tried the gas, battery, and spark plugs, then cleaning the carb and replacing fuel lines should be the next thing you try.
6. Sucked Something Up
Jet skis are like giant vacuums, they will suck up anything that gets in front of the pump.
Since jet skis are direct drive systems, when the engine is on the impeller is spinning and anything that stops that impeller also stops the engine.
With the jet ski out of the water and engine off, look in your pump to see if anything is stuck in your pump. Check your impeller for any damage and the wear ring too, as they can cause slow take-offs if damaged.
7. Damaged Jet Pump
A damaged jet pump, driveshaft and through-hull seal can cause a jet ski to bog down, sputtering or even cut off.
This can be a more involved process in fixing and will require taking the jet pump out to check it out.
Make sure the driveshaft is not broken, bent and has its splines intact. Look at the jet pump to make sure there are no holes in it or chunks missing. The through-hull seal can be checked by doing a water leak test on the hull, look around the drive shaft to see if water is coming in the hull.
8. Wrong Key Or Mode
Jet skis, PWCs, Waverunners or whatever brand you want to call them, will have models that have special keys or driving modes.
These modes can be a learning, slow, or ECO type of mode that limits power, makes the jet ski slow, and to those that don’t know… feel like it’s bogging down, wants to cut off, and just don’t feel right.
Make sure you have the right key on your jet ski. When you first put the key on a Sea-Doo, it will say what key you have put on, and it will tell you what modes you’re in.
9. Blown Engine
Last, and hopefully not why your jet ski continues to cut, bogs down, or stutters, is that the engine could be blown.
A blown engine has lost its compression or is damaged.
A lot more common on 2-stroke jet ski engines, but it can happen to 4-stroke, especially ones that were not taken care of or sunk.