If you and your family like to maintain an active lifestyle throughout the year, renting a storage unit is an excellent way to preserve items that are only used for specific seasons like summer and winter. In this article, we’re going to explore jet ski storage and snowmobile storage more in-depth. If you want to know how to store and maintain these larger seasonal investments properly, keep on reading.
For proper jet ski and snowmobile storage, you’ll need the following:
- Fuel Stabilizer
- Cinder Blocks
- Cleaning agents
How to Store and Winterize a Jet Ski
Jet skis are a source for endless summer fun, yet failing to store and winterize your jet ski the right way can dramatically limit the number of summer seasons you spend with this equipment.
Here are a few tips for storing your jet ski properly:
- Drain any water from the engine prior to bringing the jet ski into storage. Make sure when you bring the PWC onto the trailer, you position the backside (stern) lower than the bow so water is able to drain. To get the remainder of the water out of the engine, start the motor for intervals of no more than 20-30 seconds. While the engine is running, crank the throttle a few times to force any remaining water out of the engine.
- Fill the gas tank. Keeping gas in the tank is one of the more important aspects of jet ski storage. Make sure the tank is topped off and add a fuel stabilizer to prevent the gas from growing stale. This protects the integrity of your gas lines and engine.
- Get an oil change. A fresh oil filter and new synthetic oil will give your jet ski the best chance at starting up again like new next season. Make sure also to lubricate areas like the brakes and steering equipment using a spray lubricant to prevent corrosion.
- Remove the battery and place on towel or mat. If you keep the battery plugged in, it will lose its charge over time. Removing it is the only way to ensure it’s not drawing any power from the PWC. Make sure the battery is kept in a climate-controlled environment. For added protection, keep your battery connected to an automatic battery charger during the offseason away from anything flammable.
- Consider adding antifreeze to the exhaust system. While this step is optional, it is of particular importance if your jet ski will be kept outside or exposed to extremely low temperatures. Get out your owner’s manual and follow winterizing instructions regarding antifreeze. Each model will have particular recommendations to follow.
How to Store a Snowmobile for the Summer
Storing a snowmobile is very similar to storing a jet ski. Protecting the integrity of the engine, battery and various parts are critical to ensuring your first ride of the season will be an enjoyable one.
Follow these steps to properly store a snowmobile:
- Thoroughly clean the snowmobile. After removing excess grime, make sure the unit is completely dry. This is an especially important step for snowmobile storage because excess salt and dirt build-up can lead to overall deterioration.
- Fill the gas tank and add the fuel stabilizer. Much like storing jet skis and other vehicles, keep the gas tank full and top it off with some high-quality fuel stabilizer.
- Fog the engine. This is when you apply a coating of extra lubricant to the engine and other components using a fog spray specifically designed for storage. This is another step that will help prevent premature corrosion. Along with the fog spray, make sure to oil all other metal parts using WD-40.
- Remove the battery and place on towel. Remember, if you remove the battery, make sure it is kept in a climate-controlled environment, which might mean removing it entirely from an outdoor storage unit and storing it elsewhere instead. Like with the jet ski, keep the battery on an automatic battery charger away from anything flammable.
- Block off all vents. Fill the exhaust, cooling and air intake holes using steel wool. This will prevent dust, debris and unwanted critters from taking up residence inside. Just don’t forget to remove the steel wool before you start up the engine the following winter!
- Elevate snowmobile using cinder blocks. It’s important to keep your snowmobile off the ground at all times during storage. This gives your snowmobile more space to breathe by keeping it away from ground moisture that can corrode the vehicle. After propping the snowmobile on cinderblocks, ease the track tension by loosening the tensioning bolts. Just don’t forget to tighten them before you take the snowmobile out of storage.
Note that while leaving gas in the tank is recommended, gas can leave substantial deposits that block the carburetor. We recommend bringing your snowmobile out of storage in mid-September or before the first snow and consulting with professional technicians to inspect the machine before using.
Other Factors to Consider
Getting things in and out of storage every season can seem like a significant pain. It doesn’t have to be. If you own items like jet skis and water skis for use in summer, and snowboards, snowmobiles, or skis for use in winter, plan two days a year where you switch out one season’s equipment for the other. By planning a designated switch day, you’ll effectively consolidate the maintenance and moving time needed for these items.
While you’re at it, consider other items that can be seasonally stored and in turn reduce clutter. Do the kids play hockey? Or maybe golf? Seasonal sports equipment can be transferred in out of your storage unit, making more room in the basement and garage for the things you use year-round.
Storing jet skis and snowmobiles properly can help maintain the integrity of the vehicle. However, no storage method is completely fool-proof, and these toys are wear items in need of continual maintenance and repair. Make sure you contact a professional technician with any issues regarding your seasonal vehicles before attempting to go for a ride. There’s one thing that should be considered above all others: safety first!
Learn more about vehicle storage at Life Storage and let one of our experts help you extend the life of your seasonal toys.
Updated 9/27/17 from an article originally published 7/29/13.
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