Why won't my jet ski start? - PWC Parts Yard Refurbished Salvage Jet Ski Parts

Written by: Rod Stewart in pwcpartsyard.com.


The riding season is almost here and it’s time to get your jet ski de-winterized and water ready. Like many of us you pull the winter tarp-covers off and press the start button and to your surprise you hear a click and then nothing. This is one of the most frustrating experiences as a PWC owner.


In this article we will go over some of the most common jet ski starting issues and give you a summarized trouble shooting check list to help target and remedy the issue in order to get you back in action before the riding season. So why is my jet ski not starting?


The most common reasons your jet Ski will not Start

Dead-Low Battery

The voltage from your battery should measure between 11 and 12 volts. Any major deviation from these numbers will cause your ski not to start. If you did not keep your battery on a tender over winter there is a good chance the battery will be drained by spring especially in colder climates.


Faded display digits, starter relay clicks but motor does not turn over. Low voltage indicator shows on your display gauge.


Solution: Charge or replace battery. Check and tighten battery terminals and leads.


Spark Plugs:

Jet ski spark plugs tend to fowl and corrode much quicker than car spark plugs due to the harsh environment of the ocean and lakes. Salt calcium and moisture are a constant factor to contend with to the detriment of your spark plugs. Changing your spark plugs can eliminate a whole host of possible problems. Furthermore, the old spark plugs can serve as a good indicator to the source of the starting issue. For instance, if the plugs are wet or moist then your ski may have suffered water ingestion while being flushed on your garden hose. If There's oil present on the tip of the spark plugs your piston rings may be on their way out. Changing your spark plugs is an overall quick and cheap maintenance fix that almost anyone can perform. Before you run to the dealer and drop hundreds of dollars and wait weeks to get your ski back put on a little elbow grease and install some new plugs. Majority of the time this simple fix will solve your starting issue.



Engine runs rough, misfires, smokes or produces low rpm. Engine check engine light comes on.




Change and replace spark plugs with New OEM spark plugs. This is very important. Do not use aftermarket spark plugs as this may cause damage to your engine and void your warranty.

Starter Relay

The starter relay is one of the parts on your jet ski that experiences the most stress as it experiences a sudden surge of electricity and heat every time you start your ski as it acts as a switch between the battery and starter motor. The internal components of the relay tend to wear out over time from this heating and cooling process.


Intermittent starting. Starter relay clicks but starter motor does not turn over.



 The only solution for a faulty start relay is to replace the relay with a new one. Unfortunately, this is a sealed and unserviceable part.

Starter Motor

This is less likely to be an issue but if the battery and starter relay are fine, it may be a problem with the starter motor itself.



If the battery holds a full charge and the rest of the ski powers up for instance fuel pump primes and display lights up. And the ski still does not turn over.



Replace starter motor with OEM equipment.

Stuck starter Bendix:


Starter spins but engine does not engage or turn over.


Replace starter Bendix. This is a major project to take on. This will require a profession as it is very labor intensive and may be above your technical ability.

Stuck-Damaged jet pump:


Engine does not turn over. Chances are you may have an object lodged in your jet pump. The most common items I’ve seen in my 10 year experience are rope, seaweed, rocks, wood and even fishing line.



Refer to your watercraft repair manual and remove the jet pump from jet ski in order to dislodge the object. In most cases you will need to replace your wear ring as it tends to get destroyed when your jet ski ingests foreign objects such as rocks and wood.

I hope this guide was helpful in getting you back in action and on the water!

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