Maintaining Your Jet Ski Battery
The right care is essential to maximise the life of your Jet Ski battery
After enjoying your fun on the water, it’s very likely that you’ll want to wash and clean your machine to keep it in the best possible condition. In order to keep your battery in the best possible condition, you’ll want to maintain your battery to ensure the next time you want to head out on the water, your Jet Ski will start!
People often think when they’re not using their jet skis or powerboats that the battery/batteries will remain charged and be ready for when they use them again. The truth is batteries will discharge even when you’re not using them. That’s why you should take precautions to ensure they are kept topped up with charge, using the correct battery charger, so your next outing or holidays don’t start with the disappointment of a flat battery.
When it comes to jet ski battery maintenance, you will first want to establish what type of battery you have? For instance, do you have a wet flooded battery? Or perhaps you have an AGM sealed battery, maybe even a Lithium option. While the basics are similar, we will help establish a basis for you to maintain these battery options. Another important thing to remember is whether your ski is being used in salt water or fresh water, as salt water is more corrosive than fresh water.
Regularly checking the level of charge in your battery is good practice to ensure you achieve the best possible battery life.
Wet Flooded Battery
Your standard wet flooded battery is one that would require filling with electrolyte (acid) when it was new, once the electrolyte was added you would then need to charge the battery to fully activate it, ready to be put into service. During your maintenance of the battery you would want to keep the battery clean and make sure the terminals are free of any corrosion, as this can lead to many problems. If you need to clean your battery and the terminals, as well as the battery tray, then a mixture of water and baking soda is ideal. You will need to make sure you regularly check the charge level in your battery and charge as required, if you’re using your jet ski regularly then it is likely you won’t need to charge it as much. It is important that you also regularly check the electrolyte level in your battery, and add distilled water when it’s needed.
If you use your jet ski all year round then sticking to the above will help get the most out of your jet ski battery, however if you are planning on storing your jet ski over the winter then please see storing a jet ski battery.
When it come to maintaining your Jet Ski battery that has AGM technology, you’ll be pleased to know there isn’t as much maintenance to do as with a wet flooded battery. This is because AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) batteries are fully sealed and so once they have been activated from new, they are closed and as such they don’t require any electrolyte or water. All of that said, you will still need to regularly check the charge level in your battery and charge as required. Also keeping your battery and terminals clean and free of corrosion will prevent many problems from occurring. When cleaning your battery, terminals or the battery tray then using water and baking soda is a great solution.
As with the AGM battery, there is relatively little maintenance to do on Lithium batteries unlike the wet flooded lead-acid battery. You must make sure you regularly check the charge level of the battery and charge as required. When storing a Lithium-ion battery, disconnect the battery from the jet ski and immediately charge the battery on a Lithium battery charger, the battery can then be happily stored for up to a year. When you wish to use the battery after storage, put the battery on charge to make sure you have full power prior to use. Also keeping your battery and terminals clean and free of corrosion will prevent many problems from occurring, especially important when around sea water due to it’s corrosive nature. When cleaning your battery, terminals or the battery tray then using water and baking soda is a great solution.
Storing a Jet Ski Battery Over The Winter
Once you have finished using the your jet ski for the season and it’s time to put it away for the winter, there are some things you want to do to make sure your watercraft is in the best possible condition for storage, this includes your battery. Firstly you’ll have wanted to thoroughly wash and dry your ski removing any salt if it has been used in the sea. Next you will have to prepare for the winterisation and you may have your local dealer taking care of this for you, but if you’re doing it yourself then part of that process is preparing the battery and below we have some great tips to ensure you don’t have to purchase another battery for next season. When removing your battery from your jet ski we would highly recommend carefully reading the owners manual, this will let you know the tools that you’ll need and the correct process they recommend as this may vary from model to model.
- Always make sure you are wearing safety protection glasses for your eyes and gloves for your hands. Latex gloves can provide the dexterity that you need whilst protecting your hands.
- Before starting, make sure you have the tools you’ll need. Items such as: a torch, rags, socket set, extension bar, screwdriver, cable ties and some solution of water and baking soda for cleaning any corrosion.
- Remove the seat from your jet ski to access the battery, if your battery is not visible please check your user manual to locate it.
- Pull back the rubber cap from the battery’s black negative terminal, using a Philips screwdriver unfasten the bolts connecting the negative battery cable from the negative terminal. Once the bolt has been removed, free the battery cable from the battery. IMPORTANT – always remove the black negative battery cable first.
- Repeat the previous step for the red positive terminal.
- Remove the hold-down bracket by undoing the bolts securing the battery in place.
- Remove the battery from the jet ski. Clean the battery and terminals, check for any damage and place the battery on charge, you will want to store the battery fully charged, in a dry safe place out of sunlight.
- Remove dirt from the battery tray in the jet ski and clean the area, making sure the terminals on the end of the battery cable are clean and free of dirt or corrosion.
- Once a month check the battery charge level and top up where necessary, if you have a wet filled battery then check the acid/water level and top up with distilled water as required. Make sure this fluid never falls below the lower-marker level.
Frequently Asked Questions
There can be a few reasons why your battery may fail, but one of the most common is due to a lack of use. If you're not using your jet ski enough and it sits, perhaps in your garage for a period of time, the battery needs to be charged.
If the battery is not charged when the jet ski is stored this can cause a chemical process called sulphation. When a battery is charged this chemical process cannot take place. However, when the battery’s voltage falls below 12.4 volts this process begins. The process causes sulphur crystals to form on the lead plates inside the battery, which in turn increases the battery’s electrical resistance. The longer this process is allowed to continue the worse the effect. Eventually the battery will become so electrically resistant, that you will be unable to charge the battery, let alone draw power from it.
If this process is caught early you may be able to salvage the battery using a battery charger with a pulse charge function. This will partially break down the sulphur crystals but the battery will never reach its full capacity again.
It is important to remember that if your battery fails due to sulphation this will not be covered under warranty. This kind of failure is classed as damage caused by the user through neglect.
Battery cables, the terminals on the end and the terminal connections to the battery, can all be susceptible to corrosion from the environment your jet ski operates in. It is important to keep these free of dirt and corrosion but also to check the condition of the battery cable and terminals. If you find traces of corrosion on the cable and or terminals seek the advice of your local jet ski dealership, they can advise you if the cables or terminals need to be replaced.
Loose, dirty or corroded terminals can interrupt the power flow from the battery, causing it to be ineffective, leading to symptoms similar to a dead battery. Make sure the terminals are secure and connected correctly. Use a solution of water and baking soda to remove corrosion build-up.
By disconnecting the battery this will prevent excess discharge even when the engine is off, electronic equipment can continue to drain the battery, affecting the battery lifespan and it's ability to power the jet ski.
It is important to note that even with the battery disconnected, you will need to check the battery charge level and charge accordingly. A disconnected battery will discharge overtime naturally, however not at the same rate as if it were connected to your jet ski.
The exception to this is Lithium batteries, as they can be charged and disconnected from the machine and happily sit for twelve months before being used again, down to their chemical technology. If you were looking to use your Lithium battery for the first time in a few months we would always advise you charge your battery fully prior to use.
The simple answer is yes. Whenever you have come off the water, recharging your battery will always be good practice and make sure you are ready for your next trip out.
When preparing to store your jet ski, always fully charge your battery prior to storage.
When you take your jet ski out of storage for the first time (along with the usual checks you would undertake) you want to check and charge the battery fully, to make sure it is prime condition before heading to the water.