As the temperatures lower, and the fluffy white stuff makes more frequent appearances, most of us face the sad reality that our vintage, sports, and classic cars must go into storage for the all-too-long winter. Before the garage is shuttered for the final time, here are some recommendations to follow so that come Spring, your car’s recommissioning will be headache-free.
- Change your oil. Fresh oil will limit the amount of water the lubricant absorbs while static. Most folks don’t realize oil is hydroscopic, and with absorption of water it can partially lose its viscosity.
- Over-inflate your tires. This is to reduce the possibility of incurring flat spots due to the tire remaining static while supporting the weight of the vehicle. The best method to avoid flat spots is to store the vehicle on jack stands to eliminate concentrated pressure on the tires.
- Fill your gas tank. Having a full tank helps to prevent moisture from building up in the tank and corroding the fuel lines. A good fuel preservative is highly recommended as well.
- Protect the undercarriage. A large piece of plastic dropcloth placed beneath your vehicle can prevent excess moisture evaporating from damp concrete and settling on your chassis. This is an easy, inexpensive way to prolong the metal bits underneath the shiny bits.
- Install rodent deterrents. Mice and (heaven forbid) rats are incredibly injurious to automobiles in storage. They love to eat wiring, insulation, leather, and just about anything else they can sink their teeth into. They also love to create nests in the engine bay, heating system, and exhaust areas. First, block off your tailpipe(s) to prevent mice from using them to get into the exhaust system. Also, if possible, block off the intake to airboxes as well. If your car is running rough, you just may find the air filter chewed to pieces and a season’s worth of acorns stored there too. Electronic pest chasers are very effective in reducing the number of unwanted garage guests, and for those who do get through your first line of defense, mouse and rat traps are a must.
This is just a short list of suggestions to keep your stored car in top condition, and to avoid frustration when the weather warms once again.