Guide to Maintaining Your PWC
One of the greatest joys of summer is breaking out your Jet Ski, WaveRunner or SeaDoo and getting started with an entire season of summer fun on the waves. From visiting your favorite spots on the water to passing on your this joy to the next generation, there’s a lot to love about owning a personal watercraft (PWC).
Owning a Jet Ski, WaveRunner, SeaDoo or other PWC isn’t all fun and games, however. There’s also a lot of responsibility involved. These small crafts need a lot of love and care to continue performing to the best of their abilities, and if you start to neglect them, you’ll certainly notice the difference.
Are you a new PWC owner? Or maybe you’ve owned a PWC for a while, but you’ve never taken care of it yourself before. Whatever position you’re in, we believe everyone should know how to maintain their PWC to stay fast and functional all season long.
Check out our full guide or jump to a specific section below:
- How to Wash a Jet Ski or Other PWC
- How to Flush a PWC After Use
- Properly Fueling Your PWC
- PWC Maintenance Schedule
- Post-Ride Jet Ski & WaveRunner Maintenance Tips
- Seasonal PWC or Jet Ski Maintenance Schedule
How to Wash a Jet Ski or Other PWC
The first and most important part of knowing how to maintain a Jet Ski, Sea-Doo or WaveRunner is learning how to clean it. This might initially seem counterintuitive, especially since you just spent the past hour or so cruising around the waves. Didn’t this already “wash” your PWC? But the truth is that saltwater does a poor job of cleaning, and even if it didn’t, there are many nooks and crannies that it takes a personal touch to reach. If you want your PWC to last for years to come, you’ll need to clean it yourself. Even if you’ve been riding in freshwater, you’ll still want to complete this essential process on a regular basis.
Here are our steps for how to clean a Jet Ski or other PWC after saltwater or freshwater immersion.
- Remove as many accessories as possible, opening the hood, storage areas and glove boxes and removing any removable seats or seat covers. This allows you access to as much of the craft as possible, so you can better clean the saltwater out of every crevice.
- Remove any bungs and open any bung plugs. This lets any water in the craft or any compartments drain out as efficiently as possible. Any sand, dirt or debris that’s made its way into the PWC also can drain out more easily with these plugs open. Every few rides, it’s even a good idea to remove these plugs completely for maximum drainage.
- Chock the wheels on the trailer carefully. Place a crate under the jockey wheel to elevate the front of the ski in a way that will maximize drainage.
- Use a hose to spray down the entire craft, inside and outside, from one end to the other. In doing so, be careful that no water enters the air intake, coils, electrical areas or fuel breather.
- Take extra care to clean beneath the fuel tank, coupler and motor, since the siphon bilge can easily become blocked. Give some attention to the supercharger belt and pulley as well.
- Once you’re finished cleaning the body itself, don’t forget about cleaning around and underneath accessories like the tubs and seats. This helps clean away salt and sand that will otherwise easily collect in these areas.
- Spend some extra time cleaning out the area around the pump in the back and the intake area, as salt can easily collect here and lead to corrosion. If you find that you’re having difficulty accessing this area, try lifting the reverse bucket.
Not sure where these parts are located? Consult your PWC manual! Each craft is slightly different, and it’s worth taking the time to get familiar with your particular watercraft.
Once you’ve finished cleaning, rinse everything down with clean water and dry it all off with a microfiber cloth. If there’s any water remaining inside the craft, use a pump to remove it.
How to Flush a PWC After Use
While flushing might sound like a synonym for washing, it’s a different process and an essential one for maintaining the health, functionality and the longevity of your PWC. With this process, you’ll use water to flush out the insides of your PWC’s intake, cooling systems and pump, removing any traces of salt from your craft’s interior which would otherwise corrode and eventually break down the system altogether.
Even if you’ve only been riding in freshwater, it’s still important to complete this flushing procedure. While salt may not be a concern in freshwater, you still need to flush sand and algae out of the system.
Here are our instructions for how to flush a WaveRunner, Jet Ski, or other PWC:
- Start by making sure the PWC is in a level position. If it’s tilted one way or another, you’ll have a harder time doing a thorough flush job, as the water will remain stagnated in one corner of the internal systems.
- Every PWC is different and will require a slightly different procedure when it comes to flushing. For the very best results, we recommend referring to your owner’s manual. This document will likely detail the exact process you should follow, and this will result in your internal system becoming clear with the least chance of complications happening along the way.
- The general procedure is to “blow” any water that might remain in the water box by gently blipping your throttle. Check the owner’s manual for more specific instructions regarding how many revolutions to make when out of the water, especially with no cooling or backpressure.
- You might also choose to use a gentle additive cleaner when flushing, as these will go the extra mile towards keeping your craft’s inner components clean and free from any corrosion.
How long should you flush a Jet Ski, SeaDoo or WaveRunner? There isn’t any set time limit that applies to every PWC. Instead, refer directly to your owner’s manual for the answer that will be best for you.
Properly Fueling Your PWC
An essential part of any PWC maintenance checklist is making sure it stays fueled. This means keeping the fuel tank full, but it also means getting rid of unused or outdated fuel at the start of a new year. All of these different practices work together to ensure that when you’re ready to hit the waves, your craft will be safe, functional and just as prepared to go as you are.
However, fueling your Jet Ski, Sea-Doo or WaveRunner isn’t always as simple as it might sound. Depending on the precise model you own, it may need different kinds of attention in this department. Certain older models of PWCs, for instance, require you to fill their systems with pre-mixed fuel and oil. Most updated models don’t need this pre-mixing, and instead, have separate areas for both oil and fuel. If you aren’t sure what your model requires, never guess. Always refer to your owner’s manual to make sure you’re treating your craft correctly.
Are you planning to put your PWC in storage for the winter? Maybe you know that you won’t end up riding it for the foreseeable future? Take the precaution of topping off the fuel tank before you set it aside. This prevents condensation from forming while you’re away. Another excellent precaution you might take is to add fuel stabilizer, to ensure your fuel doesn’t cause any problems during the weeks or months it will be sitting idle.
When you do get back to your trusty PWC, be sure to dump any old fuel that you’d left in the tank and refill it with new fuel. Be careful how you dispose of this fuel, however. Dumping it into a body of water leads to ground contamination and pouring it in the trash could cause a fire. Hire a professional to drain and dispose of your fuel, instead.
PWC Maintenance Schedule
You clean and flush your PWC after a ride. You clear out the old fuel after it has sat in storage for a while. But what other items show up on a typical Jet Ski maintenance checklist, and when should they be performed? To keep things simple, we’ve broken these additional PWC maintenance tips down into two sections — maintenance you should perform after every outing and maintenance that you’ll only need to complete once a year.
Post-Ride Jet Ski & WaveRunner Maintenance Tips
So you’ve just gotten back on dry land from an afternoon on the water. You’re getting ready to put your PWC away for the night or the next few days — what do you need to do to make sure it stays in top condition until your next adventure?
1. Clean Your Jet Ski
We’ve already talked about the specifics of what this looks like. Whether you were riding in saltwater or freshwater, this is still an essential part of your post-ride maintenance routine. Make sure to clean both the outside and the inside for maximum effectiveness and refer to your owner’s manual for any specific instructions.
2. Flush the Intake and Cooling Systems
Any time you take your PWC out, you’re also committing to flushing the internal systems once you’re done. Failure to do this means putting your PWC at risk for corrosion of the internal systems, which in turn can wreak havoc across your entire PWC. No matter where you were riding and what type of water it was in, you’ll need to complete this process after every ride.
3. Check for Damage
Ideally, this is something you’ll do before you get on your PWC and head out into the water, but it also doesn’t hurt to take a quick look after a ride. This doesn’t have to be an extremely in-depth check. It just means giving your PWC a thorough once-over, looking for anything out-of-place, broken or missing. If you treat your craft well and take consistent care of it, then the odds are good that you’ll rarely notice any damage. It’s still a good habit to build, however, as you never know how much damage might be building up before you notice it otherwise.
4. Use a PWC Lift
Storing your PWC in the water for long periods is a sure way to create damage build-up. Instead, every time you come in from a ride, take the precaution of using a PWC lift to store your craft. These lifts help prevent fouling of the intake and hull delamination. On top of preventing these problems, lifts also make it much easier to clean and flush your craft.
5. Use a Cover
If you’re storing your PWC outdoors, take the precaution of putting a cover on it. This protects it from surface-level damage and prevents more serious problems from occurring as well. Just put this cover back on it once you’re finished cleaning and flushing it after every ride.
Seasonal PWC or Jet Ski Maintenance Schedule
While you’ll need to clean and store your PWC properly after every single venture out onto the water, there are other larger tasks that you don’t need to complete as often. Once a season will suffice, either at the beginning of the year or the end. Here are our top tips for your seasonal PWC maintenance.
1. Take Care of the Fuel
We’ve discussed this topic at length — always top off your fuel before storing your Jet Ski, Sea-Doo or WaveRunner for a long period, and always dispose of old fuel once you bring it out again for the new year. Fuel stabilizers are also a good idea, as they prevent the fuel from becoming potentially dangerous over the long months of sitting idle.
2. Change the Oil
How often should you change the oil in a Jet Ski or other PWC? We recommend doing this at least once a year, preferably at the start of the summer season when you’ll be using your PWC more. Be sure to change both the engine and the pump oil while you’re at it, as both need attention.
3. Lubricate the Fittings
Sitting idle for a year can cause joints, fittings and seals tighten up. Solve this problem by taking a bit of lubricant and making sure everything still operates smoothly and all the moving parts function correctly.
4. Winterize Your Jet Ski or PWC
Once the season is over, make sure to put in the work to winterize your PWC properly. This means draining all the water, cleaning it thoroughly, lubricating all the moving parts, topping off the fuel and adding a fuel stabilizer before covering it and storing it in a safe place where it can wait safely until next season.
Store Your PWC Safely With EZ Dock PWC Ports
We all want to take care of our PWC’s so they can continue to run smoothly for years to come, providing us with many more summers of enjoyment. In addition to taking care of them through things like cleaning, flushing and proper storage, you may be wondering what else you can do to protect your WaveRunner, Jet Ski or Sea-Doo. We think one of the best things you can do is install one of our EZ Dock PWC ports. If you’re new to the world of PWCs, we think you might especially enjoy our EZ Dock VXP, which is designed for smaller watercraft.
Our innovative designs make it easy to dock your PWC with minimal hassle. Through the use of adaptable rollers and split entries, we’re proud to call our design one of the easiest and most convenient ways to dock your PWC. Contact us today to request your quote and learn more.