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When you buy a new jet ski, you’re looking to have thrilling rides and do cool tricks under the sun. But when you can’t start your engine, it can be really annoying!
There could be several reasons why a jet ski doesn’t start, but the leading reason is always a dead battery. If your battery keeps dying and you have to replace it every year, this post is for you, as a good jet ski battery should be replaced much less frequently!
Are you wondering how long do jet ski batteries last? Would you like to know how can you keep your battery in good shape year-round, and what are the leading reasons why a jet ski battery keeps dying?
If yes, don’t hesitate to read more! We, at JetDrift, have collected all of the answers for you!
How Long Do Jet Ski Batteries Last?
How long should a jet ski battery last? This is a typical question asked by many jet ski owners, especially if they have to replace their batteries every year.
The high-quality, well-maintained jet ski batteries last 3 to 5 years. Their proper maintenance includes regular charging if you don’t ride the ski, and proper winterization and storage during the cold months. In contrast, neglected jet ski batteries only last 1 to 2 years!
The lifetime of a jet ski battery depends on four main factors; let’s check them one-by-one! The first factor is the type of the battery, as beyond the regular models, you can choose sealed AGM as well as a gel battery.
The regular batteries, known as “wet cell” or “flooded lead-acid” batteries are not the best choice when it comes to jet skis. They’re not spill-proof, need more maintenance, and are less durable.
The best battery you can choose for your ski is a sealed AGM battery, as these models are maintenance-free, and completely spill-proof. Moreover, these jet ski batteries last longer compared to regular models.
Another important factor that affects the lifespan of a jet ski battery is the quality. The quality of the batteries may vary depending on the model and the manufacturer. As a rule of thumb, the higher quality jet ski batteries last longer. Because of this, if your battery needs a replacement, you may want to buy a good quality battery, as it can save money and hassle for you in the long run.
Beyond the type and the quality of the battery, the way you maintain it also greatly affects how long the jet ski battery lasts. The last factor is the ambient temperature, as too hot or cold weather can damage a jet ski’s battery and shortens its life. Overlooked or improper maintenance and storage can destroy the battery in a year, or even shorter!
In summary, don’t expect too much from a bad-quality regular battery, especially if you neglect its maintenance. In contrast, a good sealed AGM jet ski battery can last for 3-5 years or more, as long as you pay attention to proper maintenance and winterizing.
Why Does a Jet Ski Battery Keep Dying?
The reasons why a jet ski battery keeps dying can vary widely. If your battery keeps dying all the time, you probably want to know how to prevent this situation. Let’s check them one-by-one!
1. You don’t ride your jet ski. Unlike cars, jet skis are used much less frequently. If you don’t ride your jet ski at least once a week, it means you have to charge it to keep it in good shape. This is because every jet ski battery has a self-discharge rate, which means it loses a certain percent of its power over time. But even if you ride your ski frequently, keep in mind that jet skis usually feature stators, which don’t fully charge batteries, but can keep them charged with a “maintenance charge”.
2. Leave the key in the ski. After you’ve stopped the engine, always turn the ignition switch off. The best practice is to turn off and remove the key whenever the ski is not in use to avoid unauthorized use and self-discharging.
3. Testing the engine. Testing the jet ski’s features, especially cranking the engine, requires a lot of power. If you maintain or test your ski, make sure that you don’t discharge your battery completely.
4. Cracking the engine unreasonably. If your engine is running, avoid pushing the start button, as it put an unnecessary burden on the battery. Also, don’t run the start switch longer than 5 seconds when you start your ski.
5. Overlooked maintenance. Every battery needs some attention. The regular flooded lead-acid batteries especially need regular checks and maintenance. But even the gel and sealed AGM jet ski batteries require regular inspection and charging if you don’t use your ski every week.
6. Overcharging. It’s a typical mistake when owners damage their batteries with overcharging. Learn how to charge a jet ski battery properly with a smart charger!
7. Improper winterizing. The winter months can be taxing for every battery, so it’s imperative to know how to remove your battery and store it over the winter.
8. Too-old battery. If your battery is 5-6 years old, it means it’s begun to wear out and you should replace it soon.
Never Start With an Empty Battery!
It’s highly recommended to pay attention to your battery’s condition and charge it when needed. You can check the battery easily with a voltmeter. Manufacturers recommend operating the jet ski only when your jet ski’s battery has the sufficient power to start the engine.
Thus, if there are any signs of decreased power, you’d better skip the ride and charge your battery. Be aware that the low battery power can leave you stranded! If that happens, it’s always good to know how to tow a jet ski properly with another jet ski or a boat.
How Do You Know if Your Jet Ski’s Battery is Bad?
Many signs may indicate that the end of the jet ski battery’s life is coming.
If you notice any of them, don’t hesitate to replace it immediately. A dead battery can leave you stranded on the water, so it’s not worth the risk!
1. The engine doesn’t start. If your engine in your jet ski doesn’t crank at all, but you can hear a rapid clicking sound, it means the battery is weak. Don’t confuse it with a bad starter relay! (It gives only one click if it goes bad.)
2. Slow engine crank. The slow crank is one of the other main signs of a dying or bad battery. Even if you can start the jet ski, but the engine is slow to crank, the battery needs an inspection. Don’t ignore this, as it can lead to many problems later. If the engine cranks slowly or doesn’t crank at all, remove the battery and check it with a voltmeter!
3. Dashboard warning lights. Many newer jet skis have a large dashboard, which can indicate if your battery is weak. If there’s an issue with the battery in the jet ski, a warning light comes on. (It’s usually a shape of a battery, or a text: “Low Battery Voltage”) But if you’re confused, check the owner’s manual as it contains a list of warning signs.
4. Odd smell from the battery/case is swollen. The battery is actually a plastic box with a chemical reaction in it, which can go wrong in some cases. It can result in odd smells, a swollen battery case or even cracks on it. In these situations, you can’t recover the battery, you have to replace it immediately!
5. Corroded terminals. The jet ski battery terminals tend to corrode. If you can see an ashy substance (white powder) you may want to clean it with a mixture of water/baking soda.
6. Loose connections. Sometimes just a loose connection causes the malfunctions. It’s recommended to check the terminals regularly, as loose cables can lead to not just electronic problems, but can generate a spark that may result in an explosion!
7. The battery is old. If your battery is already 5-6 years old (or even older) you can consider replacing it even if it works properly.
Conclusion – How to Make a Jet Ski Battery Last Longer?
It’s quite an annoying situation if you’re looking for a thrilling ride, but can’t start your $10k ($20k?) jet ski due to a dead battery. That’s why you have to check your battery as part of the pre-ride inspection.
Make it a habit to check the battery in your garage before you’ve even headed to the water. Nothing’s as frustrating as starting the ski at the ramp, but you can’t as the battery is dead. It may just need to be charged, but sometimes it needs a replacement. If the latter, then always choose the best jet ski battery available.
How long do jet ski batteries last? As a rule of thumb jet ski batteries last around 3-5 years. But it always depends on several factors like the battery’s type, quality, or way of its maintenance and storage.
If your battery keeps dying in your ski all the time, you probably don’t ride your ski frequently, leave the key ON the ski, or crank the engine too long.
Another issue could be if you don’t pay enough attention to your battery’s maintenance and winterization. But if your battery is already 5-6 years old, it means it’s simply become aged and you should consider replacing it soon.
This was our short compilation of facts about a jet ski battery’s lifespan and the reasons why a jet ski battery dies. We hope you find it useful!
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