Yamaha WaveRunner is the subject of a proposed Class Action in the US after a customer frustrated by ongoing fuel gauge inaccuracies, a premature buzzer, and a faulty trip meter took up the legal challenge.
If the case is successful, all US owners of affected Yamaha WaveRunner models sold over the past four years could be awarded compensation.
According to the 11-page lawsuit – a summary of which was published by ClassAction.org – certain versions of the Yamaha WaveRunner FX HO and FX SVHO series sold over the past four years have inaccurate fuel gauges which make it “impossible”for riders to know how much range the craft has left.
The lawsuit was initiated by an Illinois owner of a 2022 Yamaha FX HO (powered by a non-supercharged 1,8-litre four-cylinder engine), however the same issues have also been identified on the supercharged variant, the Yamaha FX SVHO.
The man who mounted the legal challenge claims the 2022 Yamaha WaveRunner FX HO can only be used for about half of its intended riding range because the fuel gauge behaves “erratically.”
In the legal filing, the owner said the fuel gauge reads “full” for about one to two hours of riding but then suddenly drops to “near zero”, even though the tank is still approximately “50 to 55 per cent full”.
The Yamaha WaveRunner owner also noted the fuel gauge shows “empty” – despite about 40 to 45 per cent fuel remaining – which triggers an “extremely annoying and disconcerting” low-fuel warning alarm.
“There is no way to silence the fuel alarm for the return trip back to shore,” the complaint says in the legal filing.
“Once the fuel alarm sounds, the computer software for the dash locks out the touchscreen if there is any throttle input.”
The low-fuel warning alarm can be disabled when the Yamaha WaveRunner is idling, but the beeping will restart soon after the throttle is applied again.
Watercraft Zone is aware some Yamaha WaveRunner owners in Australia have disabled the low-fuel warning buzzer to overcome the issue.
However, this means the rider is also not alerted to other potential warnings – such as engine overheating – once the buzzer is physically disconnected.
The legal action in the US also highlights a fault with the trip meter.
On Yamaha WaveRunner FX HO and FX SVHO models made in 2019, 2020, and 2021 (pictured above), the “litres used” trip meter could be manually reset, which meant riders could closely and accurately monitor actual fuel use to the decimal place.
On the updated screen introduced on 2022 and 2023 versions of the Yamaha FX series (pictured below), the “litres used” trip meter automatically resets every time the engine is shut off.
The latest screen makes it difficult for riders to closely monitor their actual fuel use during a long day on the water, as it is common to shut off the engine when taking breaks or once you have reached your destination.
The legal action says the defects “substantially impair the use and enjoyment of the watercraft”, and that the customer would not have purchased the Yamaha WaveRunner had he known about these faults prior.
According to the lawsuit, Yamaha WaveRunner has “long been aware of the … fuel gauge problem but offers no remedy for the alleged defects.”
The legal action says when the customer took up his concerns with the selling dealer, he was allegedly told Yamaha WaveRunner was “familiar with the problem” but the manufacturer “had no solution.”
The filing argues the customer – and other Yamaha WaveRunner owners, many of whom have voiced similar complaints online – would not have bought the watercraft, or would have paid much less, had he known about the fuel gauge faults.
The case seeks to represent anyone in the US who purchased affected Yamaha WaveRunner models within the past four years.
ClassAction.org noted the legal action could take months or years to be resolved.
Watercraft Zone has contacted Yamaha Australia with the following questions to find out if it is – or has been – subject to any similar legal action locally over the same issues.
Watercraft Zone sent the following questions to Yamaha Australia:
Is Yamaha Australia aware of any class actions or legal action about this or any other WaveRunner issue in Australia?
What advice would Yamaha Australia give to WaveRunner customers who have concerns over fuel gauge accuracy and premature low-fuel buzzer warnings or any other technical issues?
We will update this story when we hear back.
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