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Signs Your WaveRunner Starter is Dying

Signs Your WaveRunner Starter is Dying

After you’ve owned a WaveRunner for years, there will be facets of the PWC that will begin to wear down. Even with routine maintenance throughout the seasons, years of use will eventually take their toll. If you’ve noticed that your WaveRunner is starting to fail to turn, it might be your starter, but more specifically, your starter relay. A starter relay transfers electricity from the battery to the starter, so it’s crucial to successfully turning your WaveRunner on. Here are the common symptoms of a bad starter relay and how to test it to determine if it’s the problem.

What Do You Hear?

You should be able to tell if your starter relay is becoming faulty or totally dead. When you press the start button, are you having to hit it several times before the WaveRunner turns on? This is a sign that your starter relay is beginning to develop issues that need to be addressed. You might be thinking, “Well if it runs great once it’s finally on, it’s not a big deal.” This is the mistake many PWC owners make, which allows the starter relay to worsen and eventually cease operation.

Maybe the craft doesn’t turn on when the start button is pressed, and instead you hear a click or a thud. Is it just the battery? Weak batteries have a continuous clicking sound that you may have heard before. Starter relays, on the other hand, only click once.

Starter Relay Replacement

If you aren’t confident that you can carry out the replacement of your WaveRunner’s starter relay, it’s best to take it to your local dealer or a repair shop. They’ll be able to handle your PWC with expertise, navigating the positioning of the relay which can be really challenging in some models. However, should you choose to replace it yourself, you have two buying options – OEM or aftermarket. Local dealers will have OEM parts that you can trust, but they’ll cost you more than the aftermarket options you’ll find on sites like Amazon. At Yamaha Parts Nation, we stock only OEM parts but at great prices. See our WaveRunner selection here, which includes starter relays (https://www.yamahapartsnation.com/oemparts/c/yamaha_personal_watercraft/parts).

Before getting started, be sure to check your owner’s manual. As you begin the process, the first thing you need to do is disconnect the battery. Here is a general how-to for this process, though it is important to note that not all PWCs are made the same and this may not work for your model.

  1. Locate the starter relay. Typically, it’s by the MPEM bracket. You should see two red wires attached to the relay.

  2. Open the rubber connectors connected to the red wires.

  3. Remove the attachments nuts and unplug the connector and bottom bolts underneath the relay. You’ll need to use a socket (a 10mm should be fine) for this step.

  4. Dispose of the old relay.

  5. With your new part, reattach it to the red wires with fresh attachment nuts. This may be a tight squeeze, so try threading the nuts in by hand first. You may need an extra set of hands for the job to get everything installed correctly.

  6. Power on your WaveRunner. It should successfully turn on at this point. If not, retrace your steps to ensure the relay is tightly in place and the connections are tight.

Again, this is a basic guide. Consult your owner’s manual first and foremost. If your starter relay works but has presented problems, getting ahead of the issue will prevent future headaches. You don’t want to be out on swimming alongside your PWC and have the relay die while out on the water!