Winter Storage by Susie Q
Some vehicles are just too special to drive on the slushy salty roads of winter. Some vehicle owners take off for warmer climates, leaving the cold winter weather, and their vehicles, behind. Winter or summer, any time you plan to park the car for more than a couple of weeks there are a few steps for making sure it is properly stored.
1. Drive the car to warm up the engine and burn off any condensation in the oil. It’s a good idea to change the engine oil and filter at this time.
2. Fill the tank with fresh fuel. Moisture can get into a tank that is vented, causing fuel contamination as well as corrosion in the fuel system. If the storage period is going to be more than a couple of months it might be a good idea to add a fuel conditioner, such as Sta-bil.
3. Check and fill all fluids. Make sure the engine coolant has adequate antifreeze protection and top it off if necessary.
4. Make sure tires are inflated to the maximum pressure. This helps to prevent flat spots from developing when the car is stationary for a long period time. If the car will be stored for extended periods of time, consider putting it up on jack stands so the vehicle weight is completely off the tires.
5. Use some type of vapor barrier under the car, especially if parking on concrete or dirt in an unheated building. A sheet of plastic or a tarp will do the job. This helps reduce the condensation, which can cause corrosion on the vehicle’s undercarriage. This also makes it easy to spot any leaks when it’s time to get the car running again.
6. Release the parking brake. The brake pads or shoes can fuse to the rotor or drum if left engaged while the vehicle is in storage.
7. Use a battery maintainer to keep the battery fully charged. All batteries discharge over time, leading to deterioration and potential freezing. For shorter storage periods, the maintainer can be attached to the battery while it’s still in the car. For longer storage, consider disconnecting the negative battery cable or even removing the battery and storing it in a cool dry place. Of course with this method the radio presets and other settings will be lost.
8. Cover the air intake and exhaust with a rag or screen to keep small critters from nesting. Some other interesting suggestions include setting mousetraps or placing strong soaps or mothballs under the car. Keep in mind that using this method can leave a smell in the car.
9. Place a note to yourself on the steering wheel as a reminder of what needs to be done to reverse all these steps when it’s time to take the car out of storage.
10. Roll up all the windows and lock the car. This could help prevent your vehicle from being stolen.
11. Place a cover over the car, especially if it stored outside or in a very dusty area. If you plan to use a car cover, make sure the exterior of the car is washed. This is a good idea even if you aren’t using a cover.
12. Call your Insurance Company. Usually rates are lower for a vehicle in storage.
These few simple precautions can really help to protect and preserve that special vehicle.