Putting your personal watercraft into storage for the winter is daunting and disappointing. The good news is that the winter season will pass, and you had a long, successful summer out on the water. Before you place your craft into winter storage, follow these maintenance procedures to guarantee it has a long life. Let’s take a look!
Store It Properly
Before you can begin any winter season care and handling, plan your storage. Where will you keep your personal watercraft so it won’t be vulnerable to harsh weather conditions or freezing temperatures? This is a critical element to your watercraft’s longevity.
Your PWC is a lofty investment, and you need to have a plan in place so that when the time comes, you are not scrambling or letting it sit outside in a cover. Consider clearing space in your garage, building a shed, or investing in a covered overhang. Consider also investing in a snug cover that you can place over it once you’re done with all the other body and engine work.
Handle the Battery With Care
The battery is a valuable component of your PWC. It is vital to handle it with care through the winter. If you do not remove the battery before storage, you risk draining the components entirely, causing cell death or electrical freezing. The cost to replace the battery when you bring your PWC out of storage can be high and add a financial burden to your hobby.
Remove the battery before storage and store it in a safe, dry place for the off-season. A garage or shed is a good option, so long as it has some level of climate control. But ideally, you should keep the battery and charger pack indoors. Storing them inside will allow you to manage the battery’s performance through the off-season to maintain its integrity and viability.
Manage the Fuel Lines
You must follow your personal watercraft manufacturer’s guidelines for managing the fuel lines. In general, you should deal with the gas components before winter storage to secure integrity through the off-season. Then, in the spring, you will be able to easily start the engine.
Most fuel lines must be full and have a fuel stabilizer. You can expect to follow these steps regardless of the craft, so use the manufacturer’s specifications for a smooth, thorough process.
The primary goal in following these guidelines is to avoid fuel component corrosion and ensure optimal carburetor performance. This also allows you to inspect the engine, engine components, and neighboring components for damage, leaks, or cracks. It is in your best interest to address any issues you find before winter storage so the cold temperatures or lack of use do not escalate them. You may also find the parts you need at a more affordable price since they are in lower demand in the off-season.
Don’t Forget an Oil Change
It might be easy to forget because you have a list of other, more important things to do. But an oil change is necessary before storing your PWC for the winter because of how long the machine will sit stagnantly. Oil lubricates the engine’s components; just like the fuel lines, you must handle the oil and tank properly.
Consider investing in synthetic oil if your manufacturer lists it as an option. While changing the oil, give it a brand-new oil filter too. You might be thinking, “If the machine isn’t running, what is the point?” But proper lubrication, even while sitting, is incredibly valuable to the machine’s operating integrity and how the parts coexist in their downtime.
While opening the machine and performing winter maintenance, lubricate any parts that need it with part lubrication. The engine is not the only part that requires clean oil. Other elements, like braking mechanisms, steering components, and pivoting nozzles, function best, sitting or running, with clean, thorough lubrication.
Drain the Water From the Engine
It might sound obvious, but you can’t leave water sitting in your personal watercraft for any length of time, especially through the winter season. You must drain all water before you complete your winter maintenance procedures.
Draining the water from the engine is relatively simple, and you can do this while still at the dock from your last adventure. Upon reaching your dock, place your machine on its transport trailer and tilt it so the bow is higher than the stern.
Turn the engine on and allow it to run for about 30 seconds, but try to avoid overheating. While the engine is on, turn the handle as many times as necessary to allow excess water to release from the engine components. Again, be mindful of overheating, as this can cause damage to other parts simultaneously.
Wash It Before Final Storage
Finally, wash your personal watercraft before you put it in storage for the winter. Doing this last can ensure you remove any build-up, grease, or residue from maintenance procedures. This also allows you to reminisce about another successful season with your machine and spend some time making plans for the next riding season. PWCs are incredible at providing fun, adventure, and adrenaline.
So, go ahead and give yourself permission to be grateful to the machine for providing you with these experiences and treat it to a nice bath. Use hot water and paint-safe soap. Do not forget the interior and the tiny crevices. When you are finished washing it, wipe it dry with a soft microfiber cloth so you do not store it with any sitting water. Sitting water can lead to parts degradation, corrosion, and paint deterioration.
Here at Peak Boys, we accommodate riders of every skill level. We value your machines and gear as much as you do because we know how much fun they add to your life. Partner with us today to grab your Sea-Doo riding gear for next season to accompany your watercraft while in secure storage. When spring rolls around, you will be happy you followed these basic maintenance steps and upgraded your accessories.