After a few months, the sun is out, the water is warm again, and you’re ready to go swimming. But you haven’t used your jet ski at all this winter. If you know how to get your ski back up and running, it will be easy to get back into the water, and if you know how to keep it in good shape, you can ride it for years to come.
Whether it’s been a long winter or you haven’t used your jet ski in a few years, you need to be careful when you start using it again. Depending on how long it has been sitting, you may need to replace some parts, check it carefully for leaks or damage, and give it a thorough cleaning.
If you used my recommended proper storage techniques the ski and took good care of it before putting it away, you will have a much easier time riding it again when it’s time. Taking your time and being careful with your work will save you in the long run.
How to get your Jet Ski back up and running
If your jet ski has been sitting for a long time, you won’t be able to just start it up and head out on the water, no matter how tempting that sounds. To get back on the water safely, you need to take some steps. These steps will also help the jet ski last longer in the long run.
When we push any engine or motor too hard, whether it’s in a car or boat, bad things will happen. We’ll go step by step through the things you need to think about, the parts that might need to be replaced, and everything else that will get you back on the water with a jet ski that works at its best.
When long is too long?
There is a big difference between putting your jet ski away for the winter in a colder climate and letting it sit in your garage for five years because you haven’t been using it. Most of the inspections and safety measures should look the same in both cases and in everything in between. But the longer it has been sitting, the more work there may be.
So, it’s best to give yourself more time to get the jet ski ready before you plan to go out on it. Don’t think you can take it out of storage and ride it later that same day. You might be able to do that sometimes. But you shouldn’t count on it because you don’t know what kind of shape it will be in or if anything big will need to be fixed or replaced.
So, the longer it has been sitting, the more you will want to check the boat to make sure it is still in good shape. Give yourself some time to make sure you’ll be ready to take it out when the time comes.
I know this doesn’t sound like much fun, but once you take the dust cover off your jet ski, it will need to be checked out. Even though we all want to get back on the water right away, we need to take the time to make sure everything works right. You’ll check it from top to bottom for leaks, holes, rust, or any other kind of damage.
Pay close attention:
- The Power Pack
You should look for rust on the battery and in the area around it. Even though this looks fine, it may still need to be replaced. But the first thing you’ll do is look at how it looks. Keep a small, portable battery jump box in the ski’s storage compartment at all times. Check out the Tacklife T8 on Amazon. Ideal for small places to store things.
- Spark Plugs
Check them for damage and take them off so you can clean them and spray some penetrating oil into the cylinders.
The cylinders need to be oiled and cleaned, but you should also look at them carefully to make sure there is no damage.
- Engine and Carb
Your first look at these will just be to make sure there is no obvious corrosion or damage to the structure. We’ll talk more about some of the engine parts that often need to be replaced later.
During your inspection, you will also need to clean all of these things. When you start taking things apart, you might as well clean your jet ski while you’re at it.
During your inspection, you should also look for leaks of any kind. Check the siding for cracks, the battery for leaks, and the tires for holes. You want to make sure that everything is tight and sealed. If you find a hole in something, you will probably have to buy a whole new one. Talk to a dealer who sells and fixes jet skis first. They might be able to fix it for less.
Using up all the gas
It’s smart to leave gas in the tank while the car is in storage, but you shouldn’t use that gas after you take it out. This is more important the longer the jet ski has been sitting. Adding a fuel stabilizer to skis before putting them away for the winter can keep the gas in the tank from going to waste. After adding it, let the motor run for a few seconds to make sure it gets everywhere. But you should drain gas that has been in the tank for more than a year.
Make sure to empty the tank and fill it with new gas. This will help make sure that everything runs smoothly and well. If the gas is old, the engine won’t be able to run at its best. You might be able to use a stabilizer to give it some of its power back, but that’s not the best solution. Make sure to get rid of the fuel in a safe way so that our rivers and oceans stay clean.
Another problem with gas that has been sitting around for a long time is that it could damage rubber seals. When gas sits for that long, it breaks down the seals. So you should drain the jet ski’s gas before putting it away, right? If only things were that easy.
Hope you didn’t use up all the gas before putting the car away. With all this talk about gas and why it shouldn’t be used if it’s old, you might be wondering why we leave any gas in there if it’s just going to sit there.
You should still put gas in your jet ski tank before putting it away so that there is less room for air in the tank. If there isn’t much gas at the bottom of a tank, there is too much space for air, which can pull in water. When you want to start it up again, this moisture can make things hard. This can not only hurt performance but also make it hard to keep going in the long run.
Tip: A can of seafoam can help stabilize a gas tank that hasn’t been sitting for too long. If it has only been sitting for a few months and you just want to give the gas a little kick, this will usually be enough. This method should only be used on gas tanks that have been sitting for a few months. Stabilizers are better for longer times.
Don't Mess Up
During the inspection phase, we talked a little bit about cleanliness, but it’s worth going over it again in more detail. This is more important as time goes on and the jet ski sits. By making sure everything stays clean, you help make sure that nothing rusts or breaks while it’s in storage.
When you do your inspection and take apart any parts, it’s a good time to clean everything. If you plan to keep the jet ski in storage for a long time, give it a quick clean every now and then.
All of these steps will save you time when you take the car out of storage. They may also save you money on new parts that will last longer.
Parts Replacement and Repair
After your inspection, hopefully, you will find that nothing needs to be fixed or replaced in a big way. But depending on how long it has been sitting, there are probably a few parts that will need extra care.
Here are some things to keep in mind because they may need to be replaced:
- Jet Pump
Depending on how it is stored, the jet pump may need to be replaced every 4 or 5 years or so. When you take the jet ski back out, you should make sure that the pump and the impeller inside the pump are still in good shape. This impeller is a very important part of the pump because it speeds up the water pressure before it comes out of the back nozzle.
Pumps can be hard to store because the main reason they don’t work well or get damaged is because of debris that slowly wears away at all of their parts. So, this is an important part to clean if it has been sitting for a long time.
- Fuel Lines
People sometimes forget about the fuel lines when they think about things that could affect how well your engine works or cause it to break down. The fuel stabilizer we talked about, which will help the gas work better, will also help keep the fuel lines in good shape.
The job of the stabilizer is to make the system run better and keep it running well. So when you use it in your tank, it also helps keep everything moving smoothly through these lines. So, it will make it less likely that the fuel lines will need to be fixed or replaced.
If you see rust, cracks, or clogs in the fuel lines, you will probably need to replace them.
Just like in our cars, if the engine won’t start, it’s a good sign that the battery might be the problem. This is a common part that will need to be replaced if you live in a cold place and store your jet ski for the winter. The cold will slowly drain the battery’s power and help it lose its charge.
Follow my advice and store the battery separately in a warmer place where harsh conditions won’t be able to hurt it. This is a great way to keep it safe. Like any other battery, it will run out and need to be changed. But if you store and care for it right, you can make it last longer.
- Seals on engines
If the sealing has been broken, you can bet that your jet ski will run less well and last less long. Most jet ski engines have gaskets as their seals and making sure that your gaskets are made of the right material will help them last longer.
Many people will suggest metal seals if an engine will be in storage for a long time or if it will be used in harsh conditions. Metal will, of course, cost a little more. But if you spend a little more at the beginning, you won’t have to buy new ones as often.
Too many jet skis, especially ones that were not stored properly, have crankshafts that are rusty. Welded crankshafts and unwelded crankshafts are the two types of crankshafts that fans and people who are rebuilding their cars talk about all the time. No matter which type you choose, it will still be exposed to the weather, and there is always a chance that it will rust and need to be replaced.
These are not the only problems, though. There may be more problems when you take your skis out of storage, but these are the most common five.
How to Take Care Before Storing
Before you start your jet ski, you need to know the best way to do things, but it’s just as important to be ready. If you don’t take the right precautions, the list of things you’ll have to do when you’re ready to start it back up will be much longer.
Here is a short step-by-step guide to help you put your ski away:
- Put gas in the car
We have already talked at length about why this is important and how it can hurt the engine and fuel lines. So, put this at the top of your list when you store.
- Change your oil.
Doesn’t that seem silly? Changing the oil right before you’re not going to use the car for a long time. But when you take it back out, it will be worth it. After sitting for a long time, it has the best chance of starting normally if the oil is changed, the oil filter is replaced, and synthetic oil is used. While you’re at it, you can also lubricate any parts that might be prone to corrosion, like the steering equipment or the brakes.
- Get rid of any water
You need to make sure that all of the water is out of the engine and the whole jet ski. Place the back of the jet ski lower than the front when you put it on the trailer. This will help the water flow out on its own. If there is still water in the boat, you can start the motor for 15 to 20 seconds at a time and give it a few throttles turns. This will force out anything that is still inside.
- Get rid of the battery
Take the battery out of the jet ski before putting it away so you don’t have to worry about replacing it. Place it on a towel or mat and store it somewhere that won’t get too hot or too cold. Your battery won’t last nearly as long in cold weather.
This might not be important for everyone, but it should be on your list if you’re putting it somewhere where it will get very cold. Your model’s owner’s manual should tell you how to prepare your car for winter and how to use antifreeze correctly. Don’t just wing it, because each type of jet ski has its own set of instructions for how to use antifreeze.
Making sure your Jet Ski lasts longer
When you own a jet ski, it becomes a part of how you live. It’s a fun and interesting thing to do that never gets old. But it can also cost a lot. It will cost more if you don’t take care of it and don’t follow the rules when you store it. So, to keep your jet ski running at its best, be careful about the steps you take before putting it away.
Once you get the jet ski back out, give yourself some time to make sure everything is working right and fix anything that needs to be fixed before you use it again. If you do all of these things, your boat will last longer, work better, and be more fun to use on the water.