The Used Jet Ski Buyers Guide

How to buy a used jet ski

Buying a used jet ski for the first time can bring up a lot of questions beginners don’t know the answers to. This article will discuss a few key points that will help you through the process and make things go as smoothly as possible.

This is a buyers guide that will show you what to look for and provide tips and tricks when buying a used jet ski.

If you’re looking for the best jet ski’s for first time buyers, read this article here.

If you’re searching for the current prices on new jet ski’s as well as tips on buying one, check out this short article here.

Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, we may make a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Choosing a type of jet ski

There are two types of jet ski motors: 2 strokes, and 4 strokes.

Some people may disagree, but it’s better to avoid 2 strokes. Coming across a 2 stroke is somewhat common when searching for a used jet ski. They were popular in the 90’s but have since died out. Usually a 2 stroke jet ski has had at least one rebuild in its life.

Most people find 4 strokes are much more reliable and hassle free.

If you aren’t sure if you want a 2 seater or 3 seater, look at the buyers guide mentioned above. Several good options are reviewed.

Know what you’re buying.

When you’re looking to buy a used jet ski, you should know just what to look for. This means being able to properly access any possible damages. 

Always test a jet ski before purchasing it. If there is something wrong with it that prevents a test ride then stop and consider if it is really worth the buy. Most of the time it isn’t.

When it comes time to asses the damages, there are two ways you can go about it.

1) The first option you have is to take the watercraft for sale to a local dealership to have it inspected. This happens more than you may think. A dealership can easily check things like the jet skis compression and may be able to point out any flaws you overlooked as well.

If you don’t feel confident in what to look for and don’t have anyone to tag along with you that does, this may be your best bet.

2) The second option is to review the jet ski yourself. Having background knowledge on motors is definitely recommended.

If you prefer to inspect the watercraft you intend on buying by yourself, then there are some things you should be sure to look out for.

Rust and Corrosion

Be very weary of any rust or corrosion. There are plenty of things that cause rust and corrosion, but all of them are very easily avoidable.

The two main causes of corrosion are loose nuts, bolts, and fittings on the motor or battery, and the PWC being used in saltwater and not getting hosed off afterwards.

Maintaining a jet ski battery is fairly easy. Most people who take care of their watercraft don’t have any wear on the insides so any rusting or corrosion should raise a red flag.


An inspection of the impeller should always be done before buying.

The impeller is basically what propels the jet ski forward. They can cost hundreds of dollars to fix, so try to be thorough when examining it.

It isn’t too difficult of a part to replace but sometimes a damaged impeller can be a sign of a negligent owner. Blades with chunks missing lets you know the previous owner didn’t take care of the jet ski properly. Look to see if anything is wrapped around it like plastic bags or tow ropes.


Checking the hull seems like a pretty easy task but there are some things you should look out for.

Try to avoid buying a jet ski with dents or cracks on the hull. A lot of pressure is put on PWC while riding and dents or cracks can easily get worse.

If there are any visible holes or fiberglass sticking out then move on. You should always test ride a used jet ski before buying it and a broken hull makes that impossible.

Repairing a damaged hull can be done but there are plenty of other jet skis you can buy that are ready to go. Most people don’t want to invest in a project on their first buy.

Even if the hull looks good, be sure to really look at it to see if it has been patched. Sometimes people will repair holes incorrectly and paint over it making it hard to notice. Improperly repaired hulls can leaved you stranded in the water on a sinking jet ski.


Some people make a big deal over the title, but it shouldn’t be a cause for real concern.

Obviously if the vin number has been scratched out or doesn’t match up then steer clear. This website here can provide you with some history on the watercraft if you’d like to be sure.

The truth is often times people loose the title and it isn’t very hard to get another one. If you get the current registered owner to sign a notarized lost title statement and bill of sale, it isn’t difficult to get a new title along with vessel numbers issued.

In some states, PWCs do not require a title. The owner simply signs a registration card and gives it to you to transfer online.


Don’t get fooled when buying a PWC. If you haven’t bought one before the seller may try to use their knowledge to get more money out of you.

Research the exact model you intend on buying and look for the current going price. Look for what they are actually being sold for and not just listed for.

Buying during the fall or winter may allow you to get a lower price because it isn’t peak season.

Making a decision

Making the decision to buy a jet ski is a big step. Don’t let the allure of fun on the water rush you into a decision. Really think it over before handing out any cash. It may take some time to figure out what you want and you may have to weigh the pro’s an cons for a while before making your choice.

Once you finally get a jet ski, be sure to read this post on essential jet ski accessories!

  1. Buying a jet ski for the first time is so stressful haha. I just want to find a fun jet ski i can ride on the weekends.

  2. Currently in the market for my first ski. Thanks for the info.

  3. I am planning to buy a jet ski for myself. Thanks for sharing this guide.

  4. Looking for my first
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