By Robert Boop
When the weather outside gets chilly, it's important to take proper care of your watercraft to make sure it is in shape for when the water gets warmer and it's time to ride the waves again.
Winterizing your PWC will help protect it against the off-season elements during storage and get you on the water sooner when the riding season starts.
If you don't take your Jet Ski, Sea Doo or Waverunner into a professional shop for winterization, here are a few tips on how you can do it yourself and save a little money in the process. (Be sure to read your owner's manual and all product instructions for proper safety and maintenance information.)
Drain the engine
Get ready to store your personal watercraft for the off-season months right after you take your final ride of the season.
The first thing you'll want to do when you take your PWC out of the water is drain the water from the engine. The best place to do this is right at the loading dock when the craft is out of the water and the trailer is tilted so the stern is lower than the bow.
Start the engine a few times letting it run for no more than 30 seconds to prevent the engine from overheating. While the engine is running, turn the handle back and forth. This drains any excess water out of the engine.
Clean It Up
Take extra care to thoroughly clean your PWC one last time.
Wash down the exterior of the craft using the same kind of soap that you would use to wash your car. It might take some extra elbow grease to remove all the build-up, but removing the algae and grime now will be much easier than trying to clean it off after the storing period.
When you're finished cleaning make sure there is no water in the hull, and the interior and exterior of the watercraft are completely dry.
For extra protection on the exterior, finish your wash with a wax job and use a light coat of multi-purpose lube to coat any metal surfaces such as latches and hooks.
Gas It Up
Fill up the gas tank to prevent condensation over the storing period.
Top off the fuel tank with the appropriate amount of gas stabilizer, according to the instructions on the container. Using stabilizer prevents the gas from getting gummy, which can eventually clog the carburetors and make for a messy problem.
Start up the engine a few times for no more than 30 seconds. This not only allows the stabilizer to work its way through the engine and the carburetors but will drain any excess water out of the engine as well.
Remember to be cautious of where you store the PWC with a full gas tank since gas is extremely flammable. Storage near any heat source or source of sparks is very dangerous.
The next step is to spray fogging oil through the carburetors and spark plug cylinders.
Begin by removing the air cleaners. This will allow you to spray the oil directly into the carburetor throat.
Start the engine and spray the fogging oil into the throat of both carburetors while it is idling. Continue spraying until the engine stalls and then replace the air cleaners.
Next remove the spark plugs, making sure the wires are grounded, and spray fogging oil into each hole for a couple seconds.
Place a rag over the holes and push the start button of the craft. This will not start the engine but will allow the oil to coat and disperse internally. Clean any oil that may have dripped and then reinstall the spark plugs.
Remove the battery
Check your battery and battery chargers for specific safety instructions.
Remove the battery by first disconnecting the negative terminal followed by the positive terminal.
Store the battery indoors in a warm place such as a shed or garage. We do not recommend storing the battery in your house, as it can give off dangerous fumes.
If the battery case is older, place the battery on a rubber mat for storage. Placing an older battery on concrete may cause the battery to conduct a current and eventually discharge it.
Attach the battery to a trickle charger and remember to check the battery water level every month throughout the storage period.
Because your craft will have a full tank of gas, remember to be cautious about the location that it will rest.
Put your trailer in a level position in the place where you intend to store the craft. The best way to prevent flat or corrupted trailer tires over the storing season is to take the tires off, store them indoors and use concrete blocks or a jack to hold the trailer in position.
If you choose to leave the tires on, cover them with tarps or durable plastic bags. To prevent rotting, place boards under the tires if the ground is gravel or dirt. Once the trailer is in place, unlatch the seat of the PWC to allow air to circulate through and prevent any moisture from being trapped inside.
Place steel wool or a rag inside the exhaust to prevent any animals or bugs from nesting there.
Finally, place your cover over your PWC to keep it clean and protected while it's being stored.
If you follow these simple winterizing instruction you will have a longer lasting life of your Jet Ski, Sea Doo or Waverunner.
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