Why Maintenance?

Protection and Peace of Mind

Yamaha wants you to have an outstanding ownership experience. Maintenance plays a big part in that. We’ve learned a lot about caring for WaveRunners during our many years as a personal watercraft manufacturer; so here’s some knowledge and simple tips on the subject.

Maintenance made


Yamaha 2021 Maintenance Matters

Let's Get Started

Reasons for regular maintenance

Spending a relatively small amount of time making sure your WaveRunner is in proper condition is simple to do, and:

  • You’ll have more hours of trouble-free enjoyment on the water.
  • Your WaveRunner will be ready when you are.
  • It’s easier and costs less to maintain than repair.
  • Yamaha dealers stand ready to help.
Yamaha 2021 Maintenance Matters

What Are the Basics?

Doesn't need to be difficult

Keep your WaveRunner ready to run with basic maintenance like:

  • Changing engine and lower oil every 50 hours
  • Flushing regularly
  • Maintaining your battery to prevent corrosion

Yamaha genuine parts

Capacities & Specs

Download the PDF to get part numbers and specs for oils, filters, and more.

Keep your WaveRunner just like new

Personal Watercraft maintenance doesn’t need to be complicated or expensive. We’re committed to helping you maintain your WaveRunner in a way that’s easy to do and easy to understand.

In the pre-launch checklist below, you’ll find information that you can use to help make sure you fully enjoy your day on the water. It’s regular attention to these basic items that will help make boating the safe and enjoyable experience it’s meant to be.

Pre-launch Checklist

  1. Inspect dock and heaving lines
  2. Inspect trailer winch
  3. Care for rear wheels of your tow
  4. vehicle the same as trailer wheels
  5. (see #9)
  6. Ensure registration numbers are properly displayed, plus current registration and other necessary documentation is onboard
  7. Ensure trailer hitch and safety chains are secure, and inspect trailer wires and connections
  8. Check hull for damage, soft spots or blistering
  9. Grease bearings, ensure lug nuts are tight and not rusting, check tire tread and pressure
  10. Check gauges
  11. Check engine oil for level and color
  12. Check fuel system for leaks (visual and “sniff test”). Check fuel level for trip (1/3 out, 1/3 return, 1/3 spare)
  13. Ensure battery connections are clean and tight
  14. Ensure proper trailering support is used
  15. Inspect trailer bunks for damaged boards or torn carpet 
  16. Ensure trailer lights are sealed and working

While your Yamaha Watercraft dealer can help you with, or even do, most of your general and preventative maintenance, corrosion mitigation is something you can only do yourself—and time is of the essence

Regardless of where you boat, corrosion attacks both the inside and the outside of your WaveRunner—every day, all the time. Some forms you can see, some you can’t, and it can take only a short time for the damage to begin. Even those boating in freshwater have corrosion-mitigation duties to attend to. Why, even rainwater can have corrosive effects that can be damaging to your WaveRunner. So it’s vital to be diligent in your anti-corrosion defense. Your dealer can help provide the right products to help prevent some forms of corrosion, but their regular and diligent use is strictly up to you.

The following are answers to common questions about how to mitigate the presence and damage of corrosion.

Where do I need to concentrate my fight against corrosion?

Corrosion can happen pretty much anywhere on or in your WaveRunner: inside, in your fuel system or in the internal cooling water passages, and on the outside, in various electrical connections and exposed metal components. But don’t worry, you have a lot of allies on your side, and we’re here to help by teaching you where to look and what to look for.

What’s so important about flushing my WaveRunner engine? I boat exclusively in freshwater, do I still need to?

Your Yamaha WaveRunner is raw-water cooled, meaning it uses the water it’s operating on as cooling water. All water, fresh or salt, contains contaminants that will eventually build up in the cooling passages over time. Additionally, saltwater is naturally corrosive and any remaining in those cooling water passages after use are left there to do its worst, unabated. Saltwater can also experience crystallization when exposed to heat above 170 degrees, which causes deposits to form and potentially restrict cooling water passages. For these reasons, it’s a must that you flush your engine thoroughly with fresh, clean water after every use.

What causes it and what can I do about it?

Dry corrosion occurs in areas not in direct contact with water—exhaust systems, for example. The outside of most exhaust system components is cooled by raw water to prevent overheating. When today’s ethanol-enhanced fuel is burned, it creates by-products known as sulfate salts. These salts are highly corrosive, especially when exposed to very hot temperatures. If the WaveRunner’s  cooling water passages are not kept clean by regular flushing (the exhaust area in this example), hot spots can form on the interior of the exhaust components, concentrating the sulfate salts’ corrosive effects. In effect, it’s corrosion from the inside out. That’s why flushing your engine with fresh, clean water for 15 minutes after each trip is a vital part of preventing even dry corrosion. It helps the cooling system run at maximum efficiency by keeping the cooling water passages clean and clear, which helps minimize the heat inside the engine, making it less susceptible to dry corrosion.

How can I fight corrosion on the outside of my WaveRunner?

It’s a good practice to set up a regular schedule and stick to it. There are quick and simple things you

should do after every use if you boat in saltwater, and periodically if freshwater is your game. These include visual inspections you should do every time. If you’re unsure about what to do and when, your authorized Yamaha Watercraft dealer can help.

Rinse it. Don’t spare the hose when returning from a trip, particularly in saltwater. Rinse the entire outside of the engine with clean water. Give the outside of the WaveRunner a once over with some mild soap like Yamalube Wash and Wax Concentrate and a soft cloth. (Do not use a liquid dish soap, as it can strip off important protectants. Go ahead and wash the whole boat and trailer. Wiping it down with a good quality chamois afterward helps keep it all looking sharp. 

Note: If salt build-up has become a problem, or your WaveRunner’s engine has somehow been directly in contact with saltwater, it’s okay to gently rinse portions of the engine with clean, fresh water to remove salt and other nastiness. Just use a hose on low pressure—not a spray attachment—and don’t rinse around the air intake area. Rinse out the inside of the cowling, too. Make absolutely sure both engine and the seat are completely air dry before reinstalling the seat. 

  • Spray it. Liberally spray the entire dry powerhead with a protectant like Yamashield.™ It’s a lubricant, a water displacement agent and a corrosion preventative all rolled into one. A high-quality silicone spray works well here, too. Spray all external powerhead surfaces and the electrical connections to help keep them corrosion-free, and the rubber cowling sealing gaskets to help keep them supple and effective at sealing out harmful water.

Check it. Do a quick visual inspection of your WaveRunner every time you use them. Look for anything out of the ordinary and investigate if need be.

Keep a special eye on:

Electrical systems: Check the battery terminals. If corrosion appears on either, Yamalube® Battery

Terminal Cleaner & Protector will do the trick. Spray it on to clean the affected areas (heavily corroded connections will first need to be disconnected and thoroughly cleaned). When it dries, it leaves a protective waxy film that will help keep corrosion from re-forming.

The largest source of trouble with marine engines these days lies with the fuel and fuel system. Paying regular attention to both can help prevent major headaches down the road. From hoses and connections to proper filtration and even fuel additives, time spent maintaining your fuel system helps keep you safe and your boat ready for action.

What is ethanol and why is it so bad for marine engines?

Ethanol has been added to the majority of today’s fuel supply as an oxygenate to help reduce emissions. It’s also used to extend domestic fuel supplies. Ethanol is alcohol, and alcohol is “hygroscopic,” which means it attracts water molecules. Since nearly all boat fuel tanks are vented to the atmosphere, water can (and will) collect in your fuel. When the concentration of water molecules in your fuel tank reaches just ½ of 1%, the water molecules will bond with the alcohol and sink to the bottom, where your fuel pick up is. Depending on the amount of water ingested into your WaveRunner, this can result in everything from running problems to catastrophic damage. Ethanol, being alcohol, is also a powerful solvent that can loosen debris in your fuel tank and all the tanks and lines it was in before it got to you. Once in your WaveRunner, this debris can cause everything from running issues to a no-start, no-run condition. That’s no fun.

What can I do to protect myself from the potentially damaging effects of ethanol?

Fortunately, there are simple procedures that can help, but it’s important that you do your part. This is one part of maintenance you must proactively do for yourself. As you read, scan theQR Codes® for more information.

Add fuel stabilizer and conditioner to every tank of fuel. Make sure to add a quality, marine-specific non-alcohol-based formula, like Yamalube® Fuel Stabilizer & Conditioner PLUS. These formulations are specifically designed to work effectively in the moisture-rich environments common to boats. And don’t believe some of the claims you see today; no matter what you add to bad gas, it’s still bad gas. No additive will restore stale fuel, remove water, or cure ethanol-related issues.

Tip: Today’s gasoline can begin to break down in a matter of weeks, not months. Make sure to treat every tank of fuel, not just for extended storage. 

  • Add Ring Free PLUS internal engine cleaner to every tank of fuel. The cleansing additives in the majority of today’s gas are a great start, but they’re formulated for automobiles, so they may not work as well on your WaveRunner. Do them one better. Ring Free PLUS makes performance-robbing carbon chemically unable to stick to internal engine components. The “PLUS” is a proprietary blend of synthetic anti-corrosion additives that helps protect the “yellow metals” in your fuel system (copper, brass and silver solder) from corrosion. These are key components to proper fuel system operation. This helps maintain their performance and reliability. Ring Free PLUS also cleans gums and deposits off of internal engine and fuel system components.
  • Buy your gas where they sell a lot of it. The goal is to keep your WaveRunner’s fuel fresh and potent at all times. Why buy gas that’s already been sitting around untreated? Buy the freshest fuel you can find, and at fill up, treat each tank with Yamalube Fuel Stabilizer & Conditioner PLUS and Ring Free PLUS. Add these before adding the fuel so they mix up well. It’s an easy, proactive and protective habit to get into.


WaveRunners constantly operate on or are near water, so electrical system care is even more important, especially in highly corrosive saltwater environments. Make sure your electrical system is always ready to perform with these simple checks and procedures.

Check the wiring and connections.

The electrical system’s job is to carry voltage from one place to another. If the voltage can’t make the journey, or if it’s diminished when it gets there, the receiving device will not function properly, if at all. The goal is to have as much voltage (or electrical energy) arrive at Point B as left Point A. As electricity passes through a device, some parasitic loss is normal. However, corrosion impedes electricity’s ability to travel, which can cause significant voltage loss or intermittent voltage. Either can wreck the good times, but with simple visual inspections and physical actions these scenarios can usually be avoided.

Some electrical corrosion can be easy to see, such as corrosion on battery posts or electrical panel connections. But some damage can be more difficult to see, such as internal corrosion that has rotted some or all of the individual strands inside a wire’s cover. You can use an ohmmeter to check electrical connections and wires for excessive resistance. There should be no more than 0.1-0.2 ohm resistance between electrical connectors on each end of a wire. Any more than that and you should investigate further.

Don’t forget the batteries.

Make sure to use the right size and type recommended in your owner’s or service manual (see chart on next page for general specifications). If there’s any question about a battery’s performance, have it load tested. Any auto parts store can do this for you, or you can do it yourself with the right equipment.

All battery cable connections must be clean, tight and use hex nuts and lock washers (not old fashioned wing nuts). Loose connections can cause frustrating intermittent issues or a full-time “no run” condition. A dirty or corroded connection can impede electricity’s ability to travel, and a battery terminal connection may be corroded, yet appear clean. To avoid any doubt, always remove the terminal connection and clean both sides of the connecting materials down to bare, shiny metal, then reinstall and tighten the connection properly. For regular maintenance, use Yamalube® Battery Terminal Cleaner & Protector. Simply spray it on and watch for the foam to change color, indicating that the corrosion (acid) has been neutralized. Rinse with water and then it dries into a thin, waxy film, preventing the build-up of additional corrosion.

Check the electrical connections.

Corrosion often occurs where wires meet. Visually check electrical connections at the battery.  Also, check any connections on gauges or add-on electrical equipment like battery switches, plotters, or fish-finders. Wiggle wires and connections to check for looseness. If either is found, disconnect and clean the connection with emery cloth or fine-grit sandpaper, then reinstall and tighten properly. Finally, spray all electrical connections with a product like Yamashield,™ which puts down an anti-corrosive layer and leaves behind a protective film that helps prevent corrosion going forward.

Don’t spare the spray.

If you haven’t already sprayed connections with Yamashield or Yamalube® Silicone Protectant & Lubricant, remove the WaveRunner’seat.

We’ve got the goods.

Yamaha offers a complete range of electrical system care products, including original equipment. NGK® spark plugs, Yamalube Yamashield Protectant and Lubricant, Yamalube Battery Terminal Cleaner & Protector, Yamalube Silicone Protectant & Lubricant. They’re the best you can get for yourWaveRunner, and they’re all available through your local authorized Yamaha Watercraft dealer.

Make it easy on yourself. Just like you clean the inside of your WaveRunner by fresh water flushing after each trip, thoroughly spray down your WaveRunner and the outside of your WaveRunner with fresh, clean water. Use a soft cloth and a mild, marine-specific cleaning agent, like Yamaclean®, then rinse it again. A Yamalube® Marine Detailing Kit is a handy way to get the goods you need to help protect and beautify the exterior; so you can take pride in your ride while you’re preserving it.

Note: Don’t use liquid dish soap or ordinary household detergents when washing your WaveRunner. They remove waxes and other protective coatings your boat needs.

To protect and preserve. Don’t be afraid to spray the entire powerhead liberally with Yamalube® Yamashield. It not only helps give your powerhead that just-detailed look, but also helps prevent the effects of corrosion.

Look out below. Keep things sharp and protected below deck. Use Yamaclean® Bilge Cleaner as necessary, and spray your battery terminals with Yamalube Battery Terminal Cleaner & Protector. Keep a clean hull for good looks and maximum performance, too.

Keep it covered. Protect your WaveRunner from the elements when not in use or when trailering by using a custom-fit Yamaha engine cover. If your boat sits outside, a custom-fit boat cover is a worthwhile investment. Even a tightly pulled tarp will help to a degree in this regard.

Whether washing, waxing, caring for your upholstery, cleaning isinglass, polishing stainless steel, cleaning carpet or deodorizing life jackets and wet storage areas, you’ll find the marine-specific formulas to make it easy and to do it right at your local Yamaha Watercraft dealer. Just look for the yellow stripe on the Yamalube label.

Some maintenance steps, like visual inspections, are best done every day, while others, such as oil changes, are set up at certain intervals.

Yamaha provides easy-to-understand information about how, and when, to perform proper maintenance. Yamaha also offers approximately 637 authorized Yamaha Watercraft dealers from coast-to-coast, specially trained and equipped to handle most of your WaveRunner’s maintenance needs. So whether you get the parts from your Yamaha Watercraft dealer and do it yourself or have them do the work for you, you’ll rest assured knowing you’re doing your part to help protect and preserve your Yamaha WaveRunner.

Getting started.

The most accurate and specific maintenance interval information for your particular WaveRunner will be found in your owner’s manual. We’ve also included a basic chart (at left) to help give you an overview of what needs doing, and when (indicated by yellow boxes). To determine when service is due, keep your eye on your hour meter. If you don’t have an hour meter, it’s easy and inexpensive to install one. Or, many Yamaha gauges already have this functionality built in, allowing you to set reminders at various intervals, and helping to keep you on schedule. 

You’ve heard the expression “choose wisely.” When it comes to choosing an engine oil and filter to protect your Yamaha, this couldn’t be more true. Using the correct oil and filter at the recommended intervals is the single most important thing you can do for your WaveRunner.

Checking your oil level.

The oil level check procedure for your Yamaha four-stroke WaveRunner is a bit different than the procedure for your car. It’s easy to get an accurate reading if you follow this procedure:

What oil should I use?

Your Yamaha WaveRunner is vastly different from your automotive engine; so avoid regular automotive engine oils. Use a motor oil specifically formulated for the rigors of the marine environment, like Yamalube® 4M for four-stroke WaveRunners.

Let’s look at a few reasons why:

  • Engine load. The typical loads placed on your WaveRunner are much heavier than on your automobile, having to overcome a much greater amount of drag to create performance. This means your WaveRunner is working much harder than your automobile’s engine. Yamalube 4M and 2M marine engine oils contain specific anti-wear additives to account for this.

  • Engine speed. Your WaveRunner operates at a much higher RPM than your automobile’s engine. It must rev higher to create higher speeds, rather than just changing gears like your car. That means your WaveRunner may run all day long at 4500-6000 RPM, rather than the 2500 RPM your car reaches at highway speeds. That’s tough on your oil, and can literally shear (or split) the molecules in ordinary automotive oil, reducing lubricity. Yamalube 4M and 2M have special shear-stable polymers to combat this and provide superior lubrication at all times.

  • Operating temperature. WaveRunners are cooled using raw water, which is often cool to very cold. On the other hand, saltwater will begin to crystallize if its temperature is raised above 170° F, potentially causing blockage in the cooling passages and leading to engine overheat and possible damage. Because of these two factors, your WaveRunner operates full-time at a temperature much lower than your automobile, and requires very different qualities in its lubricating oil. Yamalube marine oils have detergents, dispersants and viscosity index improvers to meet these marine-specific challenges head-on.

  • Operating environment. Your WaveRunner is constantly near water, sucking in very humid air directly off the water’s surface in order to operate. This humid air also gets inside combustion chambers through open valves when it’s not in use. And in a saltwater environment, that air is even more corrosive. It’s one of the harshest environments imaginable for an engine. Yamalube 4M and 2M are purposely formulated with special anti-corrosion agents to help combat and prevent the corrosive effects of this environment.

    Yamalube WaveRunner engine oils provide specific protection other oils don’t, using a proprietary blend of marine-specific anti-wear additives, shear-stable polymers, corrosion inhibitors, detergents, dispersants and viscosity index improvers. In short, they’re far superior to automotive engine oils in their strength of protection, durability and corrosion resistance.

Want proof?

Marine engine oils are so different in their requirements that special levels of certification exist: FC-W® (four stroke) and TC-W3® (two stroke). These represent the minimum standards of the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA®) for marine engines. With their high quality and advanced formulations, all Yamalube 4W and 2W oils meet or surpass all of these requirements. Using Yamalube is best for your Yamaha WaveRunner, but whatever oil you choose, make sure it is the correct type and viscosity and that it carries either the NMMA® FC-W® or TC-W3® label.

Aren’t all oil filters pretty much the same?

Outwardly, perhaps. But it’s what’s on the inside that counts most. Yamaha oil filters are manufactured specifically to protect Yamaha engines, using only the finest components and construction methods available. This includes a special filter media and metal filter media bases (instead of cardboard), to help them achieve a level of durability and filtration far superior than most “off-the-shelf” oil filters. From the quality of the materials used to their high-quality construction, they simply outperform and out-protect most aftermarket alternatives.

What Yamalube oils are right for my WaveRunner?

Yamalube 4W  Reformulated to better protect your investment from the harsh effects of cold starts,  hours of trolling and high-load, high-speed operation, its special anti-corrosive additives are particularly suited for the harsh marine environment.

Yamalube 2W Yamaha-formulated and NMMA®-approved, it provides outstanding protection for two-stroke, water-cooled WaveRunners, with its special blend of additives that help combat ring stick, corrosion, varnish and wear. It’s a standard by which other two-stroke oils are judged.

Can I change my own oil?

Absolutely, but you don’t have to. If you’d rather leave it to your Yamaha WaterCraft dealer, they will be happy to take care of it for you in their specially trained and properly equipped service department. That also means you won’t have to dispose of the used oil yourself. But if you prefer to do it yourself, your Yamaha WaterCraft dealer can set you up with a Genuine Yamalube Oil Change Kit, specific to your Yamaha WaveRunner. It includes the right type and amount of Yamalube marine oil, a Genuine Yamaha oil filter and a drain gasket. Everything you’ll need to do the job right.

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