Why Are Common Jetski Services So Expensive When Compared to My Car?

Why do-it-yourself jobs often cost much more then you originally planned

There are a number of reasons that Jetski Shops charge much more then a typical automobile repair shop for what appears to be similar services

The work needs to be done correctly the FIRST time. There is no "pulling over to the side of the road" when you are on the lake

Why is an oil/filter change on my 4 stroke $85? light-speed-lube only charges $29.95

Parts are EXPENSIVE. An oil filter for a Yamaha HO engine has a retail price of $26! This is for a Spin off filter, similar to what you can buy for your car at a local big box store for under $10. Quality motor oil is expensive

Seadoo 4-tecs Not only require an oil filter cartridge ($15) but in many cases they require two o-rings that retail for $18 for the pair!

Sometimes these o-rings can be used again if a trained technician with the proper tools and experience removes the oil filter cover, but since a leaking o-ring can fill the engine bay with oil, it's a good practice to change them.

Marine grade parts are expensive. Did you ever see a spark plug that costs $22?  If you have a certain model of Jetski with a fuel injected engine, that is what the spark plugs cost.  That's $66 for a three cylinder engine! If you own a boat, you know exactly how expensive quality parts can be.

Without training and expertise a "Heck I can do it myself and save a bundle" oil change could be disastrous. Overfilling engine oil is a very common error that do-it-yourselfers make, and the results are often messy and expensive, as oil starts overflowing from your engines breathers and fouls the inside of your hull. So is the improper installation of an oil filter on a late model Seadoo. repairs can run into thousands of dollars.

Overfilling the oil on a Yamaha can ruin the air filter, a $77 item. Discharging oil into the lake ( your bilge pump will dutifully pump hull contents including that nasty oil, right into the water) carries a heavy fine. Changing oil shouldn't be that tricky...but it is.

Here's the trap...

Jetskis list an oil capacity in their owners manual, but in some cases adding that amount of oil results in an overfill!

Yamaha 4 stroke owners..were you aware that you can't get all the oil out of the engine on an oil change?


That's RIGHT! You can only extract about HALF of the listed oil capacity

In 2013 a new accessory item has come to market which allow full drainage of some Yamaha 4 stroke crankcases. Call for details

That becomes a very very expensive oil change if you drain 2 quarts and add 4.

You can't get all the oil out of a Seadoo 4-tec either..unless you know the factory service procedure. You'll end up leaving a half a quart of old oil in the engine.

Would you change the oil on your car and not change the filter too?

Now for a trip to the hospital....

Changing the oil on a modern Jetski requires working in very tight places. One brand of jetski has a razor sharp gasket that extends out of the engine RIGHT WHERE YOU HAVE TO STICK YOUR HANDS to reach the oil filter. Don't know about it?...If you find out the hard way, you're heading to the hospital to get some stitches.

Simple mistakes cost big

Then the story about winterizing a boat gone wrong..failure to drain one of the many lubricating oils used in a modern boat prior to freezing weather resulted in over $4000 worth of damage.

Sure you might be able to change your own sparkplugs...you've done it on your car right?
Break a sparkplug off in the cylinder head, and you're looking at hundreds of dollars in labor charges, machine shop charges AND downtime. Spark plugs in modern Jetskis are small, so small in fact that it's easy to break a plug off if you are heavy handed.




The average cost to remove and replace the cylinder head on a 4 -stroke Jetski runs over $400 + all those expensive gaskets that must be replaced.
Machine shop labor can run $100 


Don't take Captain Pete's word for it. Do A Web Search and see for yourself how common these problems really are.

You have large investment in your Jetskis, having them serviced by qualified technicians who are highly experienced on Jetskis helps protects your investment.

A Jetski is not a lawn mower....It's a high performance powerboat.

Many times folks forget to include maintenance costs in the cost of ownership.

A good example of this is the Seadoo 4-tec supercharger

After a series of very expensive failures, Seadoo has modified not only the supercharger design but also the maintenance program

Seadoo now states that superchargers should be rebuilt every 100 hours!

**As of Summer 2012, the newest service parts from Seadoo have extended the service interval to 200 hours**

Cost of a rebuild parts and labor $700 Now add $7 an hour to the cost of running your Seadoo on top of gas and other regular

A good rule of thumb is to consider your Jetski has a $10 hour running cost on top of expendables such as fuel and oil.


It's just a battery, right?


Another example of do-it -yourself maintenance gone wrong is battery replacement

Batteries are often not correctly installed. It's easy to buy the wrong kind of battery based on advice from retail store sales people who depend on a book rather then daily experience to choose the right battery for your Jetski.

Get the wrong battery which has the +/- terminals on opposite sides of the original battery and you've just zapped a $500+ ignition system computer, console and perhaps even the wire harness ( typical repairs costs can run $1200 or more)

Unless you are buying the IDENTICAL battery, quite often the battery hold down bracket won't hold the battery in place correctly, A day on the lake will pound the battery into a useless blob of lead, or worse, allow the case to spit open spilling battery acid into the hull of your ski.

Quite often during the install of a lead-acid battery the battery vent line is not connected ( it's often damaged or missing) That vent line is there for two good reasons:

1-keeps acid from spilling into the hull of your ski in the event you flip it over. Battery acid can dissolve the housing of Seadoo oil injection filters causing a huge mess in the hull, or a seized engine if you don't catch it in time
2-keeps hydrogen gas (a byproduct of normal battery operations) from building up in your hull.

Not connecting the vent line can create a pretty big problem. Think of a small scale Hindenburg disaster. This is why it's just a bad idea to charge a lead acid battery while it's still installed in your hull. You need to check the fluid level anyway before charging.

Something as simple as installing a battery and not tightening the connections properly can also cost big bucks.

A late model Seadoo arrived with a no-start problem. After evaluation it was determined that a loose battery cable allowed a voltage surge to destroy the electronic ignition box. Replacement cost $450. The owner of this ski was aware that the Seadoo DESS security system places a small drain on the battery, and disconnected the battery for winter storage. Smart. However failing to properly tighten the removed battery cable caused a much more expensive problem then a dead battery.

Repairs on fuel injected skis made after prior to 2007 can be even more costly. MAINTAIN YOUR BATTERY! Turnaround on computer repairs can be as long as 4 weeks during the summer. Don't neglect the battery

Once again, do-it-yourself ends up costing you far more then the price of having an experienced technician perform what seems like a trivial service. Start up service costs a little less then a good quality battery. Protect your investment. Save money and spend MORE TIME ON THE  WATER! That's what it's all about isn't it?

The entire point of this page isn't to "scare" you into bringing your ski into Captain Pete's for service,  it's to inform you why charges seem to be high for services that you expect to priced along the lines of what you pay to have the same thing done on your car and to make you aware of things that need to be considered if you are doing your own service work


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