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How To Winterize a WaveRunner [A Step-by-Step Guide]

How To Winterize a WaveRunner [A Step-by-Step Guide]

How do you winterize a WaveRunner properly? This is a typical question asked by many Yamaha owners, and with good reason.

Winterizing your WaveRunner is important to do so you can avoid damage and keep it in good condition during the winter months.

Don’t forget that beyond winterization, many other important maintenance tasks may be required depending on your craft’s type, age, and engine hours!

If you’re looking for a guide on how to winterize a WaveRunner, this post is for you.

We, at JetDrift, have gathered all you need to know into this step-by-step guide!

Do You Need to Winterize a WaveRunner?

Yes, you need to winterize your WaveRunner before the winter to avoid damage and keep it in good shape. Even if you live in a warm climate, you have to prepare your WaveRunner for long-term storage if you don’t want to use it for a while. Overlooked or improper winterization on a WaveRunner may end in malfunctioning and serious damage caused by expanding ice, rust, or even contaminated engine oil.

How to Winterize a WaveRunner

To winterize a WaveRunner, you’ll need fuel stabilizer, RV antifreeze, and a lubricant spray. Fill up the gas tank and add the right amount of stabilizer to the fuel. Then you have to flush the cooling system with antifreeze, and lubricate the moving and metal parts. Don’t forget to remove the battery and attach a tender to it. Finally, store the WaveRunner properly and securely for the winter months.

Also keep in mind that winterization is not the same as annual maintenance! Beyond the winterization, you also have to change the oil and the oil filter every year.

The best practice is if you do it as part of the winterization process.

Moreover, depending on you your WaveRunner’s model and engine hours, additional maintenance may be required.

Regarding this, it’s highly recommended you refer to the manual each time prior to servicing or winterizing your WaveRunner!

Yamaha WaveRunner Winterization Guide

1. Inspection

Every WaveRunner’s winterization should start with a thorough inspection.

Make sure everything works on the ski, check the engine compartment, pump, and the other parts which are stated in the manual.

2. Stabilize the Gas

After the inspection fill up the tank with fresh gas and add stabilizer to it. Gas tends to go bad in a few months, so using a stabilizer is a must in case of long-term storage!

Attach the garden hose for supplying water, and run the engine for around 2-3 minutes. In this way, the stabilized fuel can reach the whole fuel line including the injectors or carbs.

3. Oil Change

If your WaveRunner is powered with a 4-stroke engine, it’s highly recommended to change the oil before winter storage. This is very important as contamination and water may accumulate in the engine oil during the season. If you don’t change the oil before the winter, these materials can incur damage and malfunctions in your engine and or other internal parts.

Because of this, it makes sense to change the engine oil at the same time you winterize your WaveRunner. If you want to do it by yourself, you can make good use of our tutorial.

4. Flushing the WaveRunner with Antifreeze

As WaveRunners feature open-loop cooling system, flushing it with antifreeze is the most important part of the winterization. It’s a must in cold weather areas to avoid serious damage!

First, it’s recommended you flush the cooling system with fresh water to clean it. To do this properly, attach the garden hose to the flushing port, which you can find in the engine compartment.

Then start the engine first, and just after, turn the water on. Run the engine for 2-3 minutes at idle speed, turn off the water, and finally shut down the engine. Never confuse the order of the steps as it may force water into the engine through the exhaust system, causing a lot of damage!

After flushing the cooling system, you may want to rinse down the intake grate and the pump, carefully.

Once it’s done, you have to flush the system again with antifreeze, so mix one gallon of RV antifreeze and one gallon of water in a bucket.

Attach a water pump or bilge pump to the hose and flush the cooling system again with this mixture for 2-3 minutes. Be sure to follow the steps described above!

Finally, stop the pump and “blip the throttle” for 10-15 seconds to remove the rest of the mixture from the cooling system.

Yamaha recommends never running the engine over 4,000 RPM because it can overheat!

5. Lubricating

The winterization of a WaveRunner couldn’t be complete without lubricating the moving and metallic parts.

Make sure to lubricate the steering and the throttle cables, as well as the other areas specified in the owner’s manual!

Yamaha recommends using Yamalube Lube-Zall for this process, and you can also make good use of a “power cable luber” tool.

6. Battery

Beyond the engine, cooling system, and other parts, you have to winterize the WaveRunner’s battery as well.

It simply means you have to remove the battery, store it in a cool and secure place, and attach a battery tender to it. In this way you can keep your battery charged during the winter.

Don’t forget, if you have a regular flooded-acid battery, it may require additional maintenance.

That’s why you should replace it with an AGM sealed battery, which is currently considered the best WaveRunner battery on the market!

7. Cleaning

After the required maintenance steps, it’s recommended you clean your WaveRunner carefully, but you can’t go wrong with a polishing either!

8. WaveRunner Winter Storage

As the final step, you have to store your WaveRunner for the winter months.

First, check the bilge; it should be completely dry!

Then put the cover on, and store the WaveRunner in a dry and secure place. Check the level, as the hull should be in a horizontal position.

Tip: Don’t forget to remove your valuables from the storage bin!

What Happens If You Don’t Winterize Your WaveRunner?

If you don’t winterize a WaveRunner, the expanding ice can cause serious damage in the cooling system, exhaust, or the intercooler. Additionally, other parts are also prone to rust so you have to lubricate them and change the engine oil before the winter storage. Moreover, the gas can turn bad and clog the fuel line so don’t forget to add stabilizer to it!

How Much Does it Cost to Winterize a WaveRunner?

If you get it done by a professional, the average cost of winterizing a WaveRunner is around $150-$300, which doesn’t include the oil change! On the other hand, if you do it by yourself, winterizing your WaveRunner costs you no more than $25! ($10-gas stabilizer, $10-lubricant, $5-antifreeze).

If you change the oil as well, it would be an additional cost. You can expect to pay around $30-$70 for the oil and the filter kit.


Do Yamaha WaveRunners need to be winterized?

Yes, Yamaha WaveRunners need to be winterized to prevent serious damage. Even if you live in a warm climate, it’s highly recommended to prep your WaveRunner for long-term storage!

Winterizing a Yamaha WaveRunner isn’t rocket science; just follow these easy steps:

  • Inspect the whole ski thoroughly
  • Fill up the gas tank and add fuel stabilizer to it
  • It’s best if you change the engine oil and the filter at this time
  • Change the oil in the engine, as well as the filter
  • Attach the garden hose to the flush connector
  • Flush the cooling system for 2-3 minutes with water
  • Mix 1 gallon of water with 1 gallon of RV antifreeze
  • Flush the cooling system with this mixture for 2-3 minutes
  • Lubricate all of the required parts stated in the owner’s manual
  • Remove the WaveRunner’s battery and attach it to a tender
  • Clean the whole ski thoughtfully
  • Store it in a horizontal position, in a secure place
Even if the oil change is not considered part of the winterization procedure, the best practice is to do both at the same time, and store the WaveRunner for the winter months with fresh oil.

If you winterize your WaveRunner by yourself, you can expect to pay around $25 for the required accessories such as RV antifreeze, fuel stabilizer, lubricant spray.

If you change the oil as well (as you should) it means an additional cost of $30-$70.

If you’re getting your WaveRunner winterized by a professional, it may cost you around $150-$300 depending on the service shop/dealership’s location and rates. Be aware, that this price usually doesn’t include the oil change and other required periodical maintenance.

As a final word, if you winterize your WaveRunner by yourself, always refer to the owner’s manual. Keep in mind that doing it wrong may end in serious and costly damage!