Winterizing Your PWC: When is the Best Time to Change the Oil?

November 3rd, 2021 by Stephanie Weaver

As soon as you see that first leaf fall from the tree or feel the air start to go crisp, you know it’s time to put your life-vest in the closet and pull your boat or personal watercraft (PWC) from the water. Though you hate seeing the boating season come to a close, your to-do list has suddenly gotten a whole lot longer as you get your boat winter-ready.

But amidst all the hustle and bustle of preparing your PWC for winter storage, you might be wondering if you should change the oil and oil filter before or after your vehicle settles in for its long winter hibernation. This is also a common concern amongst new PWC owners.

So, what should you do? Luckily, the powersport pros at RideNow have you covered! The answer is yes: you should always change your oil before storing your craft for the winter.

Here’s everything you need to know about changing your boat’s engine oil for the winter.


Why Do I Need to Change My PWC Oil Before I Store It for the Winter?

Most personal watercraft engine manufacturers advise changing the engine oil every 50 to 100 hours of usage. This applies to both gas-powered and diesel engines. While many folks might debate this recommendation, it’s essential to change your oil if you spent endless hours aboard your PWC or boat.

Even if your vessel didn’t rack up that many hours of usage, you should still change the oil before letting your machine sit for four months. That’s because old oil that’s full of dirt, debris, acid, and combustion residue can wreak havoc on your engine’s critical components. If you allow dirty oil to sit in the engine all winter long, it can damage crucial engine parts, such as the pit bearings. Fresh, clean oil will also efficiently lubricate and coat your engine, vastly increasing its lifespan. Moreover, an autumn oil change will remove residual moisture and acid that’s still in the crankcase, and remove any stagnant water before it can cause corrosion.



How Do I Change the Oil Myself?

If you’re a DIY enthusiast who enjoys doing the job yourself, it’s important to know how to correctly change your boat’s oil. To do the job properly, start by running the engine until it gets warm. This will loosen contaminants and allow them to evenly distribute throughout the old oil.

Don’t forget to swap out your old filter for a new one. You should also get a new gasket while you’re at it.


Additional PWC Winter Storage Tips

To ensure your boat or PWC is ready for the water come spring, it’s crucial to properly prepare it for winter storage. Some additional tips to get your PWC winter-ready include:


  • Emptying out all gear from the storage compartments
  • Draining out any leftover water
  • Running anti-freeze through your system if you live in an area with colder climates
  • Thoroughly cleaning the exterior
  • Lubricating cables, seals, and other exposed parts
  • Spraying fogging oil in your spark plugs and carb
  • Removing and safely storing the battery


Final Thoughts

Proper PWC maintenance is critical when it comes to extending the life of your craft. Before you store your boat for the winter, change the oil and oil filter and ensure your vehicle is clean, covered, and sufficiently lubricated. These steps will guarantee that your personal watercraft is ready for some fun in the sun once warmer weather rolls around again.

Posted in How To's, Tips