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How To Winterize a Personal Water Craft (PWC)


Jet Ski at dockWhether you live in Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, or the Lower Mainland, winterizing your personal water craft for storage is important since low temperatures can damage your PWC if it’s not properly winterized for storage.   Winterizing your PWC for storage is not difficult, but is crucial and fundamental for all mechanical components to work and operate properly and consistently.

If you want to save money and perform winterizing yourself, the following is a general guideline that will outline the steps in winterizing a modern 4 stroke engine PWC.  Please keep in mind that this is a general guide for informational purposes, and is not intended to replace the users manual recommendations and procedures for a specific make and model.  Always follow your users manual instructions and recommendations.  If you are uncomfortable with winterizing your PWC in accordance to your users manual, then have it maintained by a certified dealer.  Make sure you have a current manual specific to your model, and perform the steps in accordance to its directions.  If you do not have a manual, either purchase one from the dealer or perform a google search and you may be able to download one for free.


For all you burly men out there, it’s ok to read the manual…..just make sure it’s in a well hidden corner and don’t tell your friends about it.


Stabilize the Fuel

Before storing your PWC for the last time in the season, plan to stabilize the fuel with fuel stabilizer.  That way the fuel within your machine will be fully stabilized within the injectors and the fuel system.  Furthermore, top off the fuel tank with stabilized fuel to prevent any condensation build up within the fuel tank prior to storage of your PWC.  The following video shows all of the required steps in winterizing your PWC prior to storage.


Flush the engine

It is important to flush the engine with fresh water, especially if you have been using your PWC in salt water.  Hook up a garden hose to the proper flush inlet attachment, start up the engine first, and then turn on the garden hose to flush the engine.  Run the engine for the specified time until the exhaust and engine are flushed.


Change Engine Oil

Before changing the oil, run the engine with the garden hose attached and running, to bring it up to proper working temperature.  (Remember to start the engine first, before turning on the garden hose.)  Once proper temperature has been achieved, pump or drain the engine oil, replace the filter, and re-fill with manufacturer’s specified oil and viscosity to the proper level.


Check Spark Plugs

Remove spark plugs and inspect for proper combustion, and build up of carbon.  Clean as required, and gap plugs as per the manufacturer’s specifications.  Install, and torque as per specs.  Dab a little bit of die-electric grease into the inside of the boot with a q-tip to allow for easier removal in the future, making sure that grease contact is limited to the boot only, and not metal electric contacts of the plug or lead.  The following is a good video showing the proper application of dielectric grease.


Flush Engine / cooling sytem with RV Anti-freeze

Flushing the engine/pump with non-toxic rv anti-freeze will displace any residual water within the engine, exhaust, and cooling system, and will prevent damage to components due to freezing.  Use an appropriate bilge pump with proper pressure to pump the antifreeze into your machine until you see pink anti-freeze pouring out of the unit.  Make sure you turn off the antifreeze first, and the engine last, that way your system is purged of any excess anti-freeze.


Fogging the Engine

Fogging the engine is a method of injecting an oil mist into the combustion chamber to coat all moving parts of the valve train and pistons.  This is usually accomplished by removing the injector rail, taking care not to damage the injector seals and squirting inside the injector chamber with the specified lubricant.

Re-install the injector rail, torque the bolts as per manufacturer’s specifications.

Turn over the engine for about 5 seconds or as specified by the manual, to pass the lubricant through the system.  Make sure the PWC is in the Drown Engine Mode so it will not start when the engine is cranked over. (Most PWC obtain Drown Engine Mode when the throttle is wide open, however check your users manual for the correct procedure of your specific model).


Remove the Battery for Storage

Remove the battery by disconnecting the negative cable first.  Once removed, store the battery in a warm location such as a garage, placed on a rubber mat, not concrete as a cold floor will drain the battery.  Add a trickle charger to the battery, making sure the voltage and polarity are correct.  Check the water level of the battery monthly to make sure it is not evaporating.


Lubricate Moving Components

Prior to storing your personal water craft, using the manufacturer’s recommended spray lubricant, apply the lubricant to all exposed and moving metal parts to prevent corrosion and maintain proper function of all moving parts.


Test Antifreeze

Using an inexpensive antifreeze hydrometer, check if the antifreeze is sufficient in protecting the engine at the lowest temperatures in your region.  If the antifreeze mixture will not protect the engine to the lowest temperature levels, drain and replace with fresh antifreeze, to obtain proper temperature protection levels against freezing.


Clean the Hull

Cleaning the hull from the outside and inside not only extends and beautifies the appearance of your PWC, but it allows to spot any early oil or fluid leaks due to leaky gaskets or seals.  Also wax the hull with marine wax as a clean hull not only looks good, but it will increase your performance and mileage due to decreased resistance.

Please keep in mind that the above steps are intended as a general guideline for informative purpose, and is not intended to replace the manufacturer’s owners manual procedures for winterization and maintenance.  Present day PWC’s are technically advanced machines that require proper maintenance and mechanical knowledge, and therefore it is important that all maintenance and winterization procedures are performed in accordance to the manufacturer’s owners manual.


Personal Water Craft Storage

Storage of your PWC is important in cold climate regions.  It is preferred to have it stored in a sheltered, heated area such as a garage or self storage facility.  If you require storage space for your PWC or any other items, please contact us or call at 604 464-5090.


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