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.