With summer behind us, it’s time to winterize and store all of your mild-weather toys – and that includes your Jet Ski or Waverunner. It’s a sad fact, but you just can’t use your personal watercraft (a.k.a. PWC) all year. With a price tag of $10,000 to $15,000, the fun of a PWC doesn’t come cheap. Make sure you get the most out of your investment by keeping it safe throughout the winter. Here are a few easy ways to ensure your Jet Ski stays in pristine condition until you can haul it out again in the spring:
1. Drain the Engine
Before you winterize your favorite summer toy, take it out for one final spin. You’ll miss this in the winter, so be sure to soak it in. When you get back to the loading dock, tilt the PWC up onto the trailer so that the stern (back) is lower than the bow (front). Start the engine a few times, being sure not to run it for more than 30 seconds to prevent overheating. While the engine is running, turn the handle back and forth as many times as you can. This will force any excess water out of the engine.
2. Wash It Down
Next, wash down the exterior of the PWC. Use a car safe soap (not dishwater or hand soap) and a scratch-free cloth. Wipe down the entire vehicle, paying extra attention to the bottom where slime and algae can accumulate. Allow to dry completely. Then finish with a buff and wax using a regular high-shine protectant car wax.
3. Fill the Gas Tank
Next, top off the fuel tank. Use a fuel stabilizer, such as STA-BIL Ethanol Fuel Treatment & Stabilizer, to prevent corrosion and Ethanol buildup. Follow the directions on the bottle for the correct ratio of fuel to solution. Start up the engine again for short 30 second intervals to allow the treatment to clean out the engine and carburetors. While you’re at it, check for any leaks or cracks that may need repair.
4. Change the Oil
A quick oil change will ensure that your engine stays clean and lubricated throughout the winter. Use fresh synthetic oil and a brand-new oil filter to ensure that your PWC will start right up in the spring. Also oil any moving parts of your vehicle, such as the steering nozzle pivot points and braking mechanisms, to avoid corrosion over the long winter. Use a spray lubricant, such as Sea Doo XPS Lube to make the job easier.
5. Disconnect the Battery
Batteries can lose their charge over time so it’s important to remove the battery from your PWC to ensure that there is no draw over the winter. Store the battery indoors in a shed or garage, away from flammable substances. Attach the battery to an automatic battery charger to keep it fresh and healthy throughout the months of storage.
6. Store It
Now that your PWC is properly winterized, you will need to find a safe location to store it. Remember to keep it away from flammable substances as your PWC will have a full tank of gas. You may choose to remove the tires off of your trailer to prevent dry rot. In this case, use concrete blocks to hold the trailer in place. If not, place the tires of your trailer on blocks of wood to keep corrosion at bay. Next, place a rag inside the exhaust pipe to prevent any nesting animals from staying there. Finally, use your cover to keep your Jet Ski clean and protected.
While these are general tips, be sure to read your owner’s manual to ensure you take all the necessary steps for winterizing your particular vehicle.
Following these easy steps can protect your Jet Ski or Waverunner from serious damage over the winter. How do you winterize and store your PWC each year?
Image source: Flickr