If you own a 4-stroke jet ski, regular oil and filter changes are crucial maintenance procedures that should be performed at least once a year or every 50 hours. Taking care of your watercraft’s engine is essential to ensure its optimal performance and longevity. While this guide primarily focuses on Sea-Doo jet skis, the steps for Yamaha and Kawasaki are quite similar.
Essential Tools for Changing Jet Ski Oil
Changing the oil in your jet ski differs from changing the oil in your car. The absence of an oil drain plug is one notable distinction. To successfully change the oil, gather the following tools:
- Oil change kit: This kit includes the necessary oil, oil filter, o-rings, and sometimes even spark plugs. It’s advisable to replace the spark plugs during an oil change as well.
- E10 Torx socket or a high-quality 8mm socket.
- Oil extractor: Opt for a long cylinder oil extractor for optimal results.
- Oil rags.
Ensure that you use the correct oil for your jet ski, especially if it is supercharged. The oil change kits typically indicate the compatible models, but consulting your owner’s manual is always a wise decision.
Step-by-Step Guide: Changing Jet Ski Oil Made Easy
Before commencing the oil change process, ensure that your jet ski is out of the water and positioned on a level surface. Avoid changing the oil on a lake, boat slip, or any location above the water. Changing motor oil on the water violates EPA laws and may result in substantial fines. If you prefer a visual guide, The Watercraft Journal has an excellent video demonstrating the oil change process for a 2018 Sea-Doo RXT-X 300.
Step 1: Warm Up the Engine
To begin, warm up the jet ski engine. A 15-minute ride on the water should sufficiently heat the engine oil. Alternatively, you can run the jet ski on a garden hose. For Sea-Doo models, limit flushing to under 2 minutes due to the carbon seal. However, Yamaha and Kawasaki models can be flushed for up to 5 minutes.
Step 2: Remove the Engine Oil
Once the engine is warm, use an oil extractor to remove the oil through the dipstick. Before extracting the oil, remember to remove the oil cap, which is often yellow, red, or black. Insert the extractor hose into the dipstick, ensuring it reaches the bottom before backing it out slightly.
Pro tip: Stick to hand pump extractors with long cylinder designs rather than electric pump extractors. Hand pump extractors typically come with a tank that measures the amount of oil extracted. It’s vital to know the quantity of oil removed to determine the correct amount needed for replacement.
A Sea-Doo jet ski holds approximately 4.5 quarts of oil, but during the extraction process, you’ll only pump out around 3 quarts, and that is perfectly acceptable. When you reach approximately 2.5 quarts of oil and the siphon begins to sputter, temporarily remove the tube. Place the key in the jet ski, hold the throttle fully, and turn the engine over for 3 seconds. This action activates the engine’s drown mode, preventing it from starting. Afterward, reinsert the tube and extract more oil. This technique allows for the removal of additional oil.
Step 3: Replace the Oil Filter
To replace the oil filter on your Sea-Doo engine, use an E10 Torx socket or an 8mm socket. While removing the old oil filter, set aside the new filter and utilize its box as a container for the old filter, minimizing mess. Ensure the new oil filter is correctly seated in the same direction as the old one.
Step 4: Replace O-Rings
Included in the oil change kit are new o-rings for the filter cap. Replace the filter cap o-rings with the appropriate ones from the kit. Take note that the o-rings come in varying sizes and thicknesses, so ensure the correct o-ring is placed in the corresponding spot. Apply a small amount of new oil to the newly installed o-rings.
Once the o-rings are replaced, and the new oil filter is securely inserted, reattach the filter cap and tighten it snugly, avoiding over-tightening.
Step 5: Add New Oil
Using a funnel, add the same amount of new oil as the amount extracted. If you extracted 2.5 quarts of oil, add 2.5 quarts of new oil. It’s better to slightly underfill than overfill. The oil extractors often have measurement lines to assist you in determining the amount of oil removed.
After adding the new oil, replace the oil cap and the dipstick. Run the engine for 5 seconds, then turn it off and check the oil level. The oil should ideally be between the two lines on the dipstick.
If the oil level is too high, carefully remove a small amount using the oil extractor through the dipstick. Conversely, if the oil level is too low, add more oil using the funnel through the oil cap hole.
Important: Do not overfill the oil! Aim to keep the oil level between the two humps on the dipstick.
Step 6: Check for Leaks
Once the oil level is satisfactory, reassemble all components and run the engine on a garden hose for 1 minute. This step allows you to check for any oil leaks. Additionally, it is recommended to check the oil level after running the engine for a while. Keep in mind that the oil level may differ between a cold engine and a warm engine.
Step 7: Replace Spark Plugs
Some oil change kits include spark plugs. It’s advisable to replace your jet ski’s spark plugs during each oil change. This simple maintenance task can help prevent future headaches. Stick to the NGK spark plugs recommended by the manufacturer; avoid using fancy or incompatible spark plugs.
Frequently Asked Questions
How often should I change the oil in my jet ski?
It’s essential to change your jet ski oil every 50 hours or once a year, whichever comes first. For additional maintenance tasks, refer to the maintenance post mentioned here.
Where can I dispose of engine oil?
Many recycling centers, Walmart, and auto parts stores offer oil disposal services. These locations typically accept used oil filters as well.
Do 2-stroke jet skis require an oil change?
Only 4-stroke jet skis require oil changes; 2-strokes burn oil that is added to the fuel mixture. You can easily identify a 4-stroke jet ski by locating the dipstick on top of the engine. The last 2-stroke Sea-Doo model was manufactured in 2007, while the first 4-stroke Sea-Doo appeared in 2002. You can determine the production year of your jet ski by examining the last two digits of your VIN. For a detailed comparison between 4-strokes and 2-strokes, explore more information here.
What type of oil should I use in my jet ski?
To ensure optimal performance, always use the oil recommended by the manufacturer for your specific jet ski model. Avoid compromising on the quality of the oil. It’s important to note that the oil you use for your jet ski differs slightly from the oil used in your car. While opinions may vary, it’s wise to trust the manufacturer’s recommended oil and filter.
Should I change the spark plugs when performing an oil change?
It is highly recommended to replace your jet ski’s spark plugs annually, especially if you only change the oil once a year. Some may view yearly spark plug replacements as excessive, but the benefits are well worth it.
Is the first oil change important?
Undoubtedly, the first oil change for your jet ski is crucial. During the engine’s initial stages, it undergoes a breaking-in process, resulting in minute metal particles contaminating the oil. Performing the first oil change at the appropriate time helps prevent excessive wear on the engine. Certain manufacturers and dealers may even require you to bring your jet ski for the first oil change, as it is a more involved process. Consequently, the cost of the first oil change may exceed that of subsequent changes. Please consult your owner’s manual for the recommended duration before the first oil change, as it can vary from 10 to 50 hours, depending on the manufacturer.
By following these step-by-step instructions, you can successfully change the oil in your jet ski, promoting its longevity and ensuring its continued optimal performance. Remember to prioritize regular maintenance to fully enjoy your incredible water adventures!