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dtthiaga 09-21-2003 07:40 PM

Winter Storage
This is the first time I'll be storing a car over the winter.
I've done some research and compiled a list/recommendations I was planning to follow.

Most of the information is from other sources on the net. I will be leaving the car on the winter steel wheels in the garage, and won't be starting it unless I can take it out for a ½ hour drive or so (good weather permitting). I will also trickle charge the battery.

Any Comments/Suggestions would be helpful from members who have stored their cars before.

Winter Storage Procedure
  • Put in fresh oil/filter and change the anti-freeze (does depend on the car/system). It's also a good idea to bleed the brakes so there is fresh brake fluid in the system.
  • Fill the gas with fresh fuel from a top quality station using high octane (no alcohol if you can help it). Top it off, but not to the top of the neck, leave room for it to expand and contract with the temps. Use a gas preservative such as stabil.
  • Put plenty of air in the tires (over inflate slightly). 5 to 15 pounds should be enough.
  • Make sure the car is thoroughly washed, including the underbody.
  • Wash and wax your car right before storing it.
  • Store the car only when it is dry.
  • Make sure the car has had a good run on the highway before storing it. By getting your car up to operating temperature it helps to burn off contaminants in the oil and it also gets rid of moisture in the crankcase and the exhaust system.
  • To stop moisture from getting under the car put a couple layers of plastic sheeting under the entire car and several feet either side/ends. This plastic is cheap and a good vapor barrier.
  • Close all the windows and put the system on max a/c to close the outside vent. If the garage is heated, then the window can be left open a small crack to allow air circulation.
  • Put a large bag of desiccant gel inside the car. This absorbs excess moisture in the air. Put them in a pie tin on the floor of the car. You can also place an open box of Baking Soda on the floor of the car to absorb moisture. The Passenger Side floor works fine.
  • Treat all rubber with a good rubber cleaner/conditioner. Meguires makes a good one. Clean your interior and vacuum it out, use leather cleaner/conditioner and vinyl cleaner/conditioner as required. Do NOT use water on the carpets/seats right before storage, mold and mildew will follow. Do NOT treat inside surfaces with Armor-All (or similar) products before storing your car. They contain a lot of water and chemicals that can encourage mildew and mold. You may get a musty spell concentrated over the winter.
  • Take out the battery and store it inside, and trickle charge it once a month. If storing the battery outside the car, place it on wood blocks.
  • If storing the car on the wheels, place cardboard or old carpet pieces under the tire to separate from the cold concrete. If you put the car on jack stands, use them under the suspension so all the bushings and springs are the way they are supposed to be, and not drooping down. Drooping from the weight of the wheels etc is hard on the suspension, and exposes parts to rust that normally are hidden.
  • If the car is manual, leave it in gear. Use wheel blocks to prevent it from rolling.
  • If the car is stored on its wheels, it may be helpful to roll the car slightly once a month.
  • Never set the parking brake. The brake shoes or pads could stick to the drums or rotors or the cables could rust or freeze up during storage. Use wheel blocks.
  • Put steel wool or rolled up scotch-brite pads in the tailpipes.
  • IMPORTANT!!!!! It is far better to let your car sit for four or five months without starting it, than to start it once a week, or once a month and let it sit for 10 minutes. NEVER start your car unless you plan on driving it on the highway for at least 1/2 hour and get it to full operating temp. Doing otherwise will just load the engine and exhaust with moisture to start rust etc.

crusher 09-22-2003 12:29 AM

WOW!!! good write up. Thanks


fitz318is 09-22-2003 01:49 PM

Great write up!

Just a couple of additional things that I do:

1. Get fogging oil from Canadian Tire and fog the engine, this coats the inside and prevents rust inside the engine.
2. If you get wind and snow blowing into the garage when its open like I do (two car, single door), take the vapor barrior and tape it along the bumper with electrical tape (electrical tape because the glue rubs off easy) this keeps the moisture from getting under the car and seizing your breaks (ask me how I know)
3. Fill your tank all the way up it prevents condensation inside that would lead to rust but like in the above list use stabelizer.
4. I leave my car on its suspention, not jack stands, it was designed to be on it.
5. Change your rims and tires to somthing you dont care to much about if you can. Either way, fill them to almost there max pressure, this will prevent flat spots, just remember when you drive it the first time to take some of that air out.

Every year it starts up like it was never stored.

dtthiaga 09-22-2003 09:32 PM

Several years ago, I read an article that talked about the fogging oil. They recommended that you run the car, and spray the fogging oil into the engine (through the throttle body or Carburetor) until it stalls or you get a puff of smoke.

I just didn’t find any body doing this lately. Do you change your sparkplugs after this??? Does the oil get deposited on the spark plugs???

They are only a few dollars, so it’s a small price to pay for protection, come spring time.

fitz318is 09-23-2003 12:37 PM

Just like you said, spray into the TB until it really stumbles, you have to hold the air duct at the same time or the car will stall before your done. Then I actually take out each plug and spray inside the cylinders.

The plugs are fine because the stuff just burns away, but you could use it as an excuse to get new ones. In the spring I spray some TB cleaner in the TB and work it with a tooth brush just in case some of that stuff is left over.

blacknblue-e30 11-11-2003 01:19 AM

that was really really helpful, nice info

BladeRunner 12-23-2003 10:44 PM

Great stuff guys gotta compile these into one document, Guideline for Storing Your Vehicle. fitz318is great stuff, well written few mistakes and easy to follow. If the rating system of the forums is working i'm giving this one a 4 at the least.

sadda///M 01-31-2004 02:48 AM

They're good tips for those who are winter storing their cars.

"If the car is manual, leave it in gear. Use wheel blocks to prevent it from rolling." It's in gear so you dont need wheel blocks.

bmdoubleya 03-07-2004 05:01 AM

Great tips thanks

I would like to say that I have stored my car for 2 winters now and done nothing you said to do and the car still starts right up.

raffa 03-16-2004 12:42 AM


BladeRunner 03-17-2004 01:04 AM

raffa haven't seen you here before, any videos I and many other would love to see what an M30/S38 can do?

MCK 10-18-2004 06:06 AM

That would be pretty much the same for summer storage?

sonic07 10-27-2004 01:27 AM


Originally Posted by MCK
That would be pretty much the same for summer storage?

wow.... do you guys store the car for summer too in Australia ?
when do you get to drive it ....spring & falls ?

MCK 10-27-2004 02:34 AM


Originally Posted by sonic07
wow.... do you guys store the car for summer too in Australia ?
when do you get to drive it ....spring & falls ?

Nah man we drive our cars here all the time....Im just going to America, to work on the slopes in Colorado for 6 months so thats why I am storing my car.

Im also hoping to get some parts over there.

Betray 10-27-2004 02:45 AM

winter sucks

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