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Winterizing your summertime vehiclesYes, sadly it might be time to face the facts – we probably won’t get many more nice days on the boat, motorcycle, or personal watercraft (jet ski, wave runner, etc). Fall is also the perfect time time to take care of any issues or maintenance you may have encountered with your summer vehicle so you’re not at the shop during the busiest season and also you’re all set to get on the water or on the road when spring comes. If you intend on doing this yourself,  it’s way easier to tackle this task before the weather gets too grisly, so here are some things to think about.

Winterizing Your Boat

In Cliff Gromer’s article on winterizing boats in Popular Mechanics, he states that, “Winterizing is more than just sloshing in some fuel stabilizer, draining the engine and adding antifreeze. Consider it to be a methodical process that runs from bow to transom. Because boats and engines differ, start by checking the winterizing/storage sections of your owner’s manual.” That’s a good place to start, but also be mindful that ice can crack fiberglass so have a really good cover if you’re storing your boat outdoors, remove barnacles, look into vinyl protectants, and protect your engine from freezing, corrosion and fuel degradation.  Read Cliff’s whole piece in Popular Mechanics here:

Winterizing Your Personal Watercraft offers these in-depth steps for winterizing your Personal Watercraft:

Drain the engine
The first thing you’ll want to do when you take your PWC out of the water is drain the water from the engine. The best place to do this is right at the loading dock when the craft is out of the water and the trailer is tilted so the stern is lower than the bow.

Clean It Up
Wash down the exterior of the craft using the same kind of soap that you would use to wash your car. It might take some extra elbow grease to remove all the build-up, but removing the algae and grime now will be much easier than trying to clean it off after the storing period.

Gas It Up
Top off the fuel tank with the appropriate amount of gas stabilizer, according to the instructions on the container. Using stabilizer prevents the gas from getting gummy, which can eventually clog the carburetors and make for a messy problem.

Oil It
The next step is to spray fogging oil through the carburetors and spark plug cylinders.

Remove the battery
Check your battery and battery chargers for specific safety instructions.

Because your craft will have a full tank of gas, remember to be cautious about the location that it will rest.

Place steel wool or a rag inside the exhaust to prevent any animals or bugs from nesting there.

Finally, place your cover over your PWC to keep it clean and protected while it’s being stored.

Winterizing Your Motorcycle, RV or Camper

When looking to best winterize your bike, Michael Ross, who is a roadracer, writer and instructor at the Motorcycle Mechanics Institute, has some tips. He believes that the most crucial areas in need of protection are the piston rings, cylinder walls, and valve seats. The enemy here is moisture, which can enter the engine from any of a number of places and cause serious damage. Since its not really practical to try and close up all of the possible areas of entry, we will concentrate on moisture proofing instead. For his step-by-step process, check out his blog on Super Bike Planet:

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