6 Easy Steps To Winterize Your Jetski
By Krisdy Riddle
It’s that time of the year again and it's time to winterize your jetski; the weather is changing, and the riding season is winding down from all the summer fun. For those of us that are not lucky enough to live in areas where riding all year is an option, we must begin to prepare our skis to for the time off, keeping them ready for next season. We are talking of course about winterizing.
WHY WINTERIZE YOUR JETSKI?
Unless you plan on riding through the cold season, it is crucial that you winterize your jetski to protect against things like rust, salt crystal growth (if you ride in the ocean), and other damage during your colder months.
The simple process, ideally done after the last ride of the year, can take anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes (depending on previous experience) and is worth it to guarantee your vintage build is protected while in hibernation. There are many reasons to winterize and without proper maintenance you are risking rusty cranks, corrosion on the spark plugs, and surface rust, to just name a few.
Proper winterization will save you time, money, and energy in the long run.
1. Clean the Hull
Wash the ski to remove any dirt or water stains, including the bottom deck area and tray. Whether your ride is painted or covered in vinyl graphics, thoroughly cleaning the hull protects the frame and ensures dirt does not seep under the vinyl which may result in peeling. We like to use JetRenu's great cleaning products here at VJS, which you can find here.
If this is your first time or are new to jetski’s, we also suggest covering the engine air intake with your hand while cleaning the ski. This is to prevent water getting inside the air intake which can cause problems.
2. Clear Out the Water
Next, all of the water must be drained from the jetski (*this should be done after every riding session).
Draining the water prevents corrosion and damage from particles such as dirt, sand, or algae. The process is simple; start the jetski and rev the throttle regularly for no more than 20 seconds to make sure the engine does not overheat. This step can be done a few times to ensure all water and substances are cleared from the engine bay.
A useful product for this is a step is an electric bilge pump, which will help you to remove water from the engine bay whilst you’re cleaning your ski.
3. Disconnect the Battery
Good batteries are expensive and can be an big annual cost if you don’t look after them. If you plan on storing the hull in a garage with temperatures that are not far off from your home, it is a good idea to disconnect your battery and hook it up to a trickle charger. If the trickle charge is not an option for you, it is still essential to disconnect the battery in the off-season.
4. Fogging the Motor
Fogging oil is an inexpensive lubricant and maintains the pistons so they move freely. Using a fogging oil in the winterization process coats the inner most walls of the motor with lubricant to prevent corrosion over time. To do this, start the ski, give it some throttle, and gently pour oil into the carb.
We stock some here at Vintage JetSki that you can use here, or if you already have fogging oil from your local automotive store, that works too.
Shop our crafted 2 stroke oil mix, manufactured from a blend of highly refined synthetic base oils.
5. Drain the Fuel Tank and Use Fuel Stabilizer
Unless you’ve done it the ideal way and drained your fuel tank by getting to ride until the very last drop of fuel, you’ll likely need to remove and empty the tank. Fuel that sits for long periods of time may gum up the carburetor and create issues in your fuel injection system.
Once your tank is empty, you may add fuel stabilizer as recommended by the product label and then add fresh fuel. Remember, unfilled gas tanks risk the accumulation of destructive condensation in the engine. Stabilizing gas is an essential step to do while winterizing.
Just like us, jetskis need circulation. The oils, stabilizers and lubricants need to be circulated to do their job. Once a month, start the ski up for about 30-seconds and then shut it off again to allow for this.
6. Cover the Hull
Lastly, you’ll want to cover your jetski with breathable protection that won’t trap moisture. The team at Vintage JetSki uses Covercraft. Cam is partial to Sunbrella, but the others use Ultratect. Unless you intend on storing the ski in a dry and warm indoor area, proper coverage is necessary to prevent dust buildup and mildew/mold growth.
Additionally, keeping the hood cover cracked open a bit can prevent condensation, rust, and corrosion within the ski.
What you do with your ski in the off-season makes a big difference
Soon enough, the warm weather and prime riding temperatures will return and your ski will be ready for the de-winterization process. To start de-winterizing, fill the tank with fresh fuel and reconnect the battery. When you start up the ski it may smoke a bit from the fogging. This is normal and is actually priming the carb. Once the smoke calms down, you are ready to replace the spark plugs and are one step closer to getting back on the water.
Winter is not the only reason to winterize your skI. Any extended period of time when you are not going to ride will require the proper preparations to be stored. Don’t worry, the more you do it – the faster the process becomes.
Everyone has their own method of winterizing, these are our vital steps and tips to provide you an understanding of some basic techniques.
What are your top winterizing steps and tips? We’d love to hear how our community does it!