Picture this: you straddle your snazzy jet ski, insert the key, push away from the dock, squeeze the levers behind the handle bars…and immediately sink to the bottom of the ocean or lake. All because you didn’t properly winterize and store your jet ski.
Okay, maybe you wouldn’t exactly sink, but you might face a gunky fuel system, dead battery, or broken engine casing—which can be not only dangerous, but will immediately reduce any ability to amaze onlookers with your so-called cool factor.
In order to avoid this disaster, plus expensive repairs, be sure to take care of your jet ski before storing it for the winter. You’ll need to find a place to store it that doesn’t include your front lawn or driveway because the elements—sun, rain, snow—are a great way to ruin your water vehicle. Storing it in your front yard is also a great way to look like a backwoods country hick—especially if it’s next to an old truck propped up on cinder blocks.
So here are some simple jet ski storage tips for newbies:
Right-sized Storage Unit
Store this baby indoors. If you haven’t got room in your garage, or your newly-licensed teenager is likely to back into it, opt for a handy self-storage facility. A 10×10 unit works best because it’s big enough to fit the jet ski but not so big that a small family could also live in it. Unless, of course, you’re planning on renting it out for the extra cash. Kidding. Living in a storage unit not allowed.
Storage Facility Amenities
Self storage units are ideal places to stash your seasonal equipment, but not if your unit is on the top floor or a facility when the elevator breaks down. For such items as a jet ski, you should think about renting at a place with drive-up access so that you can pull your truck right up to the unit.
Stabilize the Fuel
Whether you store your jet ski in a storage unit or your teenager-free garage, be sure to add a fuel stabilizer to the gas tank. This will prevent contamination or residue build up. Add the stabilizer first, fill up your tank, then run the engine for 30 seconds to allow it to circulate.
Remove the Battery
Remove the battery and store it in an open-air location (away from any flammable substances, obviously). Do not store it in your home unless you’re interested in inhaling harmful fumes all winter long. To make sure the battery doesn’t completely discharge while it’s being stored, attach an automatic battery charger to it.
Service the Jet Ski
If you’re uncomfortable doing any of these things by yourself, get a professional to do it for you. Whether you get it ready for storage or someone else does, it’s a good idea to get this baby serviced prior to storing it anyway. That way, when you’re ready to take it out on the water next summer, it’ll be ready to go. Servicing typically includes an oil change, lubricating cables, and performing jet pump maintenance.
Not only will properly storing your jet ski ensure that it’s in tip-top condition before you get back on the lake or ocean next summer, but you can rest assured that you won’t have to sand off bird droppings or illiterate graffiti.
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