How to Winterize a Jet Ski
Jet Skis provide hours of fun on the water during the warm months but most be stored appropriately during fall and winter.
As a result, you need to properly winterize your Jet Ski to ensure that it is protected from various types of damage and to keep it from wearing down in storage.
Step One: Remove All the Water
At the end of fall, you need to make sure that you take the time to drain your Jet Ski to eliminate the risk of freezing.
While you might not realize it, water is likely to be present throughout your vehicle in places that you might not expect.
At the very least, these vehicles use water as they run to keep the temperature of the engine and its various components at a reasonable rate.
Unfortunately, this water may end up soaking into the machine and causing complications over the winter.
For example, trapped bacteria and algae may grow throughout the Jet Ski’s system and make it run improperly.
As a result, no water or any of its residue should remain inside.
Draining this vehicle is relatively simple and can usually be done in a reasonably short period.
Place your Jet Ski on an inclined surface with the front end at the higher end.
The angle of the incline doesn’t matter much but should be at least over 30 degrees.
The easiest way to achieve this incline is to use a Jet Ski lift.
These are typically available at most boating shops.
If you don’t own one of these tools or can’t find one, you can also place the Jet Ski on a boat ramp.
Tie the vehicle down to ensure that it doesn’t roll down the incline.
Straps should be available for the boat ramp or the lift.
Try to hold down the Jet Ski in at least two or three spots to ensure it stays in place.
Once you’re confident that the Jet Ski is stable, open the drain plug near the back and turn on its motor for about 30 seconds.
As you run the Jet Ski, occasionally press the throttle to run it a little faster.
Take a minute break at this point to let your engine cool down.
As the engine runs, it will expel water from the Jet Ski.
Once your break has passed, turn the engine on for another 30 seconds, take a break, then rerun the engine.
At this point, your Jet Ski should be completely drained.
Don’t turn the engine on again after this point, unless advised in further steps, as it may run hot and cause damage.
Step Two: Winterizing the Engine Fluids
Once you have no more water in your Jet Ski, you must take care of the fuel and other fluids to protect the engine.
There are a few steps that you can take in this situation.
Some Jet Ski owners will completely drain their engine of fuel and oil.
This step is the least expensive is not wise.
Retaining fluids in the engine helps to keep it healthy, but only if you prepare them properly.
As a result, you may want to buy a fuel stabilizer to keep your engine protected.
A stabilizer will help to prevent your fuel from degrading over the winter and also helps to minimize expansion and contraction at the same time.
Here is an excellent choice for a fuel stabilizer:
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The type that you use doesn’t matter much, as long as it matches your Jet Ski brand and engine model.
Read the side of the bottles of stabilizer and compare them to the engine to ensure that you buy a type that is right for your Jet Ski.
Once you find a fuel stabilizer that is appropriate for your model, pour all of it into the gas tank.
Now, fill your tank with gasoline, as this gas helps to improve the effectiveness of the stabilizer and keeps your Jet Ski healthy.
At this point, you need to start up the Jet Ski for 30 seconds.
You don’t need to throttle the engine, though, because this may cause the engine to run too hotly.
Running the motor spreads fuel stabilizer throughout your engine, which will improve its protective qualities.
Let the Jet Ski sit for a minute before starting the motor for another 30 seconds.
Repeat this process one more time, and the stabilizer should be spread throughout the engine.
Now, you need to drain all of the oil from the tank and replace it with new lubricant.
Find the oil drain valve – typically near the bottom of the engine – and place a pan under it before you pull the plug.
Wait for the oil to stop coming out of the motor before you add any new lubricant.
Use the same brand and type you previously used in your engine to improve its operation.
Replace the oil filter, as well, for further protection.
Step Three: Fog the Engine
After you’ve replaced your engine fluids and added a stabilizer, lubricate the engine surface.
This process is known as fogging and is necessary as a way of keeping the moving parts of your Jet Ski engine operating smoothly.
Fogging oil is available from a multitude of manufacturers and is relatively easy to apply to your engine, which should help make this process easier for you to handle.
Start by reading through your owner’s manual to get an idea of what areas you need to fog.
Most manuals will give you a detailed explanation of what parts must be fogged, including step-by-step instructions.
Pay attention to these guidelines when you begin to ensure that you do everything correctly.
If you have no manual or yours doesn’t have fogging guidelines, you can follow the process below to get the best results.
Start by finding the carburetors on top of your engine.
These are typically quite easy to spot and are usually located very near the top of the motor.
Carefully remove their covers – using a screwdriver if necessary – and wipe down the surface with a microfiber rag.
This step helps to eliminate dust, dirt, bacteria, or any other debris that may complicate this lubricating process for you.
Now that your carburetors are exposed turn on your engine and start spraying your fogging oil onto each cylinder.
Squeeze the handle of the spray gun fully and quickly to make sure that you get enough lubricant on each.
Continue to spray the carbs in this way until your motor stalls.
Don’t worry about the stalling – this step is necessary for the process because it indicates when it’s time to stop.
If your motor doesn’t stall, stop it after 30-60 seconds to keep it from overheating.
Close up your carburetor at this point and find the spark plugs.
These parts should be quite easy to find, as they have a universal shape and size in most Jet Ski models.
Use wrenches or whatever tools you need to get them out of their holding cells.
Spray each of these cells with the fogging spray – one or two blasts should be more than enough to thoroughly coat the sides.
Place a cloth on these cells at this point.
Now, turn over the engine for a moment to work the fogging oil throughout the engine.
Wipe down the spark plugs with a microfiber cloth after you’ve turned over the engine and replace them in the proper order.
Try to avoid mixing up your spark plugs because this may cause your Jet Ski to run poorly in the spring or summer.
Cleaning the spark plugs is essential because it ensures that no dirt, bacteria, or dust ends up in your engine.
And never replace spark plugs with new ones when winterizing because this step is best performed during the spring.
Step Four: Check the Battery
Next on the winterizing agenda is the battery.
A good Jet Ski battery can be adequately protected every winter to keep it as healthy as possible.
Leaving it on the engine is typically an excellent way to drain its charge and either force you to add more in the spring or summer or buy a whole new battery.
As a result, you need to remove your battery and store it somewhere protected and safe.
Typically, you should store your battery in an area that is at around room temperature or 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit.
A workbench in your garage may be a good choice if you keep this area heated.
If not, you may want to place the battery in a storage center or somewhere in your home.
A closet can be a smart choice, here, as long as you have easy access to the battery.
The battery location in a Jet Ski will vary depending on the model, brand, and even its manufacturing year.
Most batteries are usually located in the back of the engine and require a small wrench to remove the terminals.
Always remove the negative terminal first and hold it to the side while you undo the positive.
Never let the terminals touch while one is connected to the battery or engine, as you might fry the battery or shock yourself.
After removing the battery, take it to your storage area and place it on your trickle charger.
A trickle charger provides a slow supply of electricity to the cell that keeps it healthy over a long period.
These chargers automatically turn off once the battery is charged.
At this point, the charger will only start again if the cells begin losing any electricity due to temperature changes.
Make sure, as well, to place your battery and your charger in an area that won’t conduct electricity.
While the risk is very low, the charger could send small surges through the floor or holding space and cause shocks or burns.
A rubber mat placed under the charger and the battery should help to protect your home from this issue.
Make sure to keep all debris off of the charger, as well, and wipe its surface and that of your terminals with a static-free microfiber rag to keep them clean.
Step Five: Cosmetic Maintenance
At this point, your Jet Ski is just about fully winterized and is just about ready to store.
However, you should clean the surface and the storage areas to ensure that no bacteria, mold, or mildew causes damage.
Start by hosing down the exterior with a burst of lukewarm water to break apart any apparent stains.
Try to use concentrated and focused blasts, here, to achieve the effect that you want.
Now, scrub the surface with warm water and dish soap to break apart any more troubling stains.
A good sponge should be all that you need to finish this step.
Pay particular attention to hard-to-reach areas that your hose may miss, such as underneath of the Jet Ski.
Spray water on the soap to wash it away and try to collect the residue in a bucket to avoid causing any contamination in your yard.
Wax the surface, if you like, to further protect it from water damage and other weathering concerns.
Now, take out any debris that you may find inside of the engine box, the glove box, or in the storage areas.
Clean these areas with a microfiber rag, using soap only as necessary.
Wipe down the surface with a static-free dust rag, as well, to further clean the surface.
Once you’re done, place some steel wool or another sturdy material in your Jet Ski’s exhaust.
This step prevents animals and other pests from getting inside during the winter.
Good news: you’re just about done.
Finish up by placing your Jet Ski in a storage area, such as your garage or a rented storage bin, and set a Jet Ski cover over the top.
These covers adhere to the size and shape of your unit and will protect it from many types of damage.