Winter Car Storage Tips
Due to the ravages of snow and road salt, many of us park our favorite cars for the winter to preserve their condition and appearance. However, if you store your car incorrectly, you could do just as much damage as you would have driving it year-round. We hear a lot of questions about car storage here at Germain Cars, so we’ve assembled this list of questions and answers to help you store your beloved car properly. Of course, if you still have unanswered questions, don’t hesitate to reach out and ask us – we’re happy to help. And, if you’re looking for your next special car, we hope you think of us.
Where Do I Store My Car?
You’ve likely already figured out that it’s best to store a car indoors, out of the weather. However, like most sensitive things, it’s important to store your car in a dry place that maintains a neutral temperature – not too hot, and not too cold. It’s also important to make sure that the car is parked on a dry concrete floor. A barn may seem like a great place to store a car, but the dirt underneath will retain more moisture and promote rust. An ideal location would be a climate-controlled storage facility, but a garage will work just fine.
How Do I Prepare My Car For Storage?
It’s a good idea to top up all of your fluids (brake fluid, transmission fluid, coolant) before storing your car. Check your oil – if it’s dirty or near the mileage limit, change it prior to storage, or wait and do it first thing in the spring (it’s your call). After you’ve topped up all of the other fluids, take a trip to the gas station to fill your fuel tank. Add a fuel stabilizer, such as STA-BIL or Star Tron.
Fuel breaks down over time, and these products help to slow that process. Follow the instructions on the bottle – it’ll tell you how much to use. You can simply pour it into your gas tank after you’ve filled up. Allow your car to run for a few minutes to let the fuel stabilizer circulate through your fuel system. Inflate your tires according to the max pressure listed on the label inside your driver’s door to prevent flat spots. Lastly, give your car a good cleaning and make sure it’s been dried thoroughly afterwards.
Should I Start My Car Periodically?
In a word, no. Many folks say that you should start your car every few weeks to circulate fluids, but this is actually a bad idea for long-term storage. Moisture can and will build up inside your engine, exhaust, and other vehicle systems. This condensation will eventually result in corrosion, which is exactly what we’re trying to avoid. Keep in mind that, if you choose to take the car out on a “nice” day, you’ll have to run through this entire process again to ensure proper storage and preservation.
What About My Battery?
There are many systems in your car that run even when the car isn’t running. They create a very small drain on the battery that can cause a big problem if precautions aren’t taken. Our advice is to safely disconnect the battery, remove it from your vehicle, and connect it to a trickle charger to ensure that it’s ready for action in the springtime.
How Can I Protect My Car During Winter Storage?
While your car is in storage, it’s still susceptible to damage. There are some precautions you need to take to ensure that your vehicle remains safe while you wait for the snow to thaw. Crack your windows an inch or so to promote ventilation and prevent moisture buildup. To keep rodents out of your car, place dryer sheets in your interior, under the hood (especially near wiring) and in the trunk. It’s also a good idea to ball a few up and plug your exhaust pipes. Just remember to remove the sheets in the spring! It might be a good idea to write down all of the places you’ve left dryer sheets in a notebook you leave in the glovebox. Dryer sheets work better than mothballs – and they smell far more pleasant, too.
Cover your car with a custom-fit car cover designed for indoor storage that still allows the car to breathe. If your garage floor isn’t sufficiently dry, it’s a good idea to place a tarp or plastic sheet on the ground to act as a moisture barrier. If at all possible, avoid storing your car in a place with heavy foot traffic. Try to minimize the number of opportunities the car will have to be disturbed, and be sure to keep your comprehensive insurance coverage current just in case something happens.
Follow these suggestions at your own risk. Germain Cars accepts no responsibility for any damage you may cause to your vehicle, home, or property by following these instructions.