For a lot of enthusiasts, fall is the time we get our last drives in, head to the final club event, and detail our babies one last time before packing it in for winter. While we all know what winter can do to a car, not everyone knows what to do when storing them for the season. To break it down and make it simple, here are our top 10 winter storage tips so that come spring, you're ready to run…
- Extra Coverage – Just because your hotrod is stored in the garage, that doesn't mean it's fully protected. Even when you store your car in the garage for winter, use a car cover to add extra protection against dust and other airborne contaminants in your garage.
- Paint Protection – Before you pack your car in for the year, always give it another layer of wax. While you should've waxed in Autumn anyway, you can never protect your paint too much. That said, grab a paint sealant and give your car one last rub down. When you bust it out for Spring, you'll notice the difference.
- Interior Conditioning – When you store your car in a garage, chances are it's a relatively dry environment. This, combined with sealed doors and windows, means your car's interior vinyl and leather are at risk. By conditioning these surfaces before you tuck them away, you're adding vital nutrients that would otherwise be lost.
- Wheel Detail – Although you may think your rims look clean, check again before covering your car. If there's any brake dust, grease or grime, you'll want to eradicate the problem with a thorough cleaning to avoid etching or pitting that can (and will) occur overtime.
- Exterior Trim – Like the porous interior surfaces of your car (#3), your car's trim is vulnerable to dry conditions, too. By treating the rubber or plastic trim before winter, you'll avoid cracks or fading that often occur after a long period of storage.
- Reject Rodents – If you've stored your car before, you might have found a little mouse or two living in your car come spring. By covering tail pipes and placing mothballs inside the car, you can effectively keep these pesky critters out of your car during the offseason.
- Flush Fluids – If you live in the top half of the northern hemisphere, you know it can get pretty cold – even in your garage. Although your car wont tell you, it feels the change, too. Fill the gas tank to avoid condensation and use a fuel stabilizer to keep the gas fresh, change the oil for good measure, and make good use of antifreeze.
- Tire Care – To keep your tires looking and working to their fullest, you have a few options come winter. Some say store the car on jacks to relieve pressure, and some say to inflate them fully before storing – either way you'll be benefiting the longevity of your tires. Also, before you pack it in, condition all 4 tires to keep the rubber fresh through winter.
- Keep A Charge – Winters can ruin batteries. I'm sure you've heard horror stories, so I'll spare you the drama. It's best to either take your battery out for winter and/or keep it hooked up to a battery charger or maintainer while you store the car.
- Lock Your Doors – Seems silly, right? Wrong. More cars are stolen while being stored than you'd think, so it's always a good idea to lock the doors and take the keys – even if it's parked in your garage. Crime happens when you least expect it, and when your flashy Firebird is stored for 3 months, take the precaution.
Storing your car for winter doesn't have to be complicated or tricky, it just has to work. Following these 10 tips will not only help you store your car better, but they will also put a smile on your face come spring. While others will be stuck in the garage for a few weeks, you'll be hitting the road and looking like a million bucks.