Tips for Storing Vehicles During the Winter

By Auto News Log • October 3rd, 2009

winter_storageFall is here and winter is fast approaching. As any auto enthusiast knows that means it’s time to get your car all set for a long winter’s nap.

Actually, today I got started preparing my Corvette for storage by giving the interior a good cleaning and putting the glass top back in… always kinda a bummer doing that.

I searched all over the web for some decent tips on winterizing and storing a car over the winter and found the below list to be the best and most comprehensive. These 12 tips are on the money in my opinion and make the most sense.

1. Get it out of the elements! No amount of precautions will protect a car that is stored outside where the sun, rain, or snow will beat on it day in and day out. Put it under a canopy or keep it in the garage.

2. Keep the fuel fresh. When gasoline sits, it can break down and forms gum and varnish, which will clog a fuel system. What’s more, any moisture left in the system can cause rust.

3. Don’t let the cooling system freeze during the winter. Drain the system (including the radiator) and refill it with a rust-inhibiting antifreeze.

4. Change the oil. It’s important to remove any acid, moisture and other contaminants from an engine by changing the oil and filter before putting a vehicle to sleep for the winter.

5. Avoid flat-spotting the tires. A vehicle that sits for a long period of time can ruin a set of radial tires. The best way to save those expensive tires is to store the vehicle up on jack stands. Some people also may want to remove the vehicle’s wheels and tires—or let some air out of the tires to reduce strain on the shocks and other suspension components.

6. Keep the battery alive. When a battery loses its charge over time, it can freeze and explode. To avoid a dangerous mess, hook up a battery charger/maintainer, which will keep the battery properly charged, no matter how long the vehicle sits.

7. Protect the paint. Give the vehicle a good washing before it’s put away for the winter to remove any road salt or grunge, and be sure to dry it thoroughly, too. Then apply a protective coat of wax. Finally, slip on a breathable cloth car cover. Plastic covers will trap condensation and provide a fertile breeding ground for rust.

8. Check the insurance. Just because a vehicle is sitting undriven doesn’t mean liability coverage is unnecessary.

9. Prevent rust. Unpainted metal surfaces, from engine parts to tailpipes, can use a good coat of rust inhibitor.

10. Protect vinyl, leather and rubber. If the vehicle will be stored in a dry climate, it’s wise to apply a preservative to prevent seats, armrests and dash pads from cracking.

11. Provide critter protection. All kinds of small animals find vehicle wiring, seats and carpet delectable, and they think cars and trucks make a nice den, too. To keep critters out, place mothballs inside a vehicle, including under the dash, and cover the tailpipe.

12. Store convertibles with the top up. Convertible tops can actually shrink if they are left in the down position for an extended period of time.

I hope you find these tips helpful. If you have any questions or something to add I’d love to hear from you!


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