Whether you’re avoiding driving in the snow or preserving your prized show car, keeping your vehicle in storage until spring is a smart choice. While storing your ride will keep it safe from most hazards, there are some things you need to keep in mind to prevent damage.
THOROUGHLY DETAIL YOUR VEHICLE
Wash your car to get all the dirt, sap, bird droppings, tar, and bugs off of it. You don’t want these things eating away at your clear coat all winter. If a good scrub doesn’t get the paint clean, try claying it. A clay bar will remove bonded contaminants like brake dust, water spots, overspray, and small scratches or swirls. Once your paint is as smooth as glass, apply a coat of wax to help protect the finish.
Waxing a car with a microfiber cloth
Clear out any trash or perishable items from your cabin. Then, give the dash and trim a good dusting and vacuum the whole car.
You should also scrub your floor mats, whether they’re carpet or rubber.
Finally, clean off any dirt or stains from the rest of the car with an all-purpose cleaner. Then, apply your favorite protectant to the dash and trim. If you’ve got leather seats, wipe them down with a leather cleaner and conditioner to finish your detail.
DO SOME COLD WEATHER MAINTENANCE
Get an Oil Change
Used oil is full of contaminants that could cause damage to the engine in your car or truck if it sits for a month. Make sure to get an oil change and run the car long enough to let the new oil circulate through the engine.
Add or Top Off Coolant
Using distilled or softened water as coolant in warm months is a common practice on performance cars. But once cold weather hits, you need to make sure you add coolant. You can either flush your cooling system and fill it with coolant, or use an additive with what’s already in the reservoir.
FILL YOUR TANK AND USE A FUEL STABILIZER
To protect your fuel system, you’ll want to fill your tank all the way up before you put the car in storage. Keeping the tank full will allow less room for condensation to form, which will keep water out.
You’ll also want to pick up a bottle of fuel stabilizer from an auto parts store and add it to the tank. Fuel stabilizers prevent the gas in your car from becoming oxidized while it sits for the season. Due to the rapid evaporation rate of fuel, if you don't use a stabilizer, the fuel could turn into a sticky resin that can damage the fuel system.
Once you’ve added the fuel stabilizer, go ahead and run the car for a few minutes to circulate the gas and stabilizer throughout the system.
PREVENT MOISTURE DAMAGE
Moisture can cause damage to the fuel system, engine, tires, body, and interior. So you’re going to want to do all you can to keep your vehicle dry.
KEEP CRITTERS OUT
Plug Up Entry Points
Plug the tailpipes and air intake ducts with steel wool or aluminum foil to prevent small animals from getting into your car.
Important: Don’t forget to remove the steel wool or foil from your ducts and pipes before you start your car.
Loaded mousetrap on the cement floor
Place a few traps outside your vehicle (never inside) or near known points of entry to catch critters before they can do any damage.
PRESERVE YOUR TIRES TO AVOID FLAT SPOTS
If you're going to lift your car or truck on jack stands or blocks. You might also want to put some wood planks under the jack stands to prevent indents on your floor.
A car cover can keep your ride’s paint and finish safe from dirt, animal droppings, and even the elements. Where you plan to store your car has a big impact on which type of cover you choose, though. If you’re keeping your vehicle in a covered area with sturdy walls, a simple dust cover will be fine.
A heavy-duty weatherproof cover is essential for vehicles that will be kept outside. These covers protect the paint from UV rays, acid rain, sleet, and ice buildup.
If there is anything missing, please help us add it, or share some photos of your winter storage setup.