To quote the popular saying from HBO’s Game of Thrones, “winter is coming.” Now if you happen to have a car that you want to keep in good condition (you do, right?), you probably want to keep it off the road until things thaw out. It is important to know that how you prep your car for the winter will significantly affect the condition that it is in once spring comes. For those of you who are looking to have your car hibernate this through the season, here are some tips on how to ensure it makes it through the winter in great condition.
1. Pick a spot. The best case scenario is that you have a nice (relatively) warm garage to stash your car. This would serve as the best defense against the elements. One of the goals with storing your car for the winter is to keep condensation to a minimum, and a garage will regulate the temperature better. If you have to put it outside, try to find a spot that offers some shelter (like right next to a wall) but that gets at least some sunlight.
2. Clean out everything. Give your car the complete scrub down. Use protector on all of the surfaces. Most importantly, vacuum the interior completely. You don’t want to leave behind any food particles that could attract vermin.
3. Defend Against Pests. On the subject of vermin, you will want to invest in some mouse traps and put them underneath your car. Also, seal any type of possible entry, such as the air intake and the exhaust. Pests are the biggest danger to your vehicle while it sits through the winter, so you want to take every measure in preventing them from creeping in.
4. Prep your fluids. You should change your oil before you stash your car away, just to eliminate any waste that may have accumulated. Next, add STA-BIL® fuel stabilizer to your gas tank to prevent corrosion, fuel degradation (varnishing) and water/phase separation. This is especially true with today’s ethanol fuels (e10). You will want to keep the engine near-full of fuel with the stabilizer mixed in to help keep out moisture over those long winter months.
5. Fine details. You will want to remove your battery and hook it up to a trickle charger to sustain it through the winter. You should also fill your tires with as much air as they can safely handle in order to keep pressure off of the wheel bearings and springs.
After all of this is done, then cover up your car, kiss it goodbye (if that’s your thing), and leave it until spring.
Do you have any tips on storing your car for the winter? Please share them in the comments below.
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