If you're planning to store your car during the colder months of the year, it can be helpful to remember some car winter storage tips.
Why Store Your Car?
There are several reasons you may want to store your car for the winter:
- You'll be out of town and won't be using your vehicle.
- Your car is a convertible or a vehicle better suited to warm weather.
- You want to protect your car from road salt and winter driving hazards.
- You have a different car to drive during the winter months.
Six Car Winter Storage Tips
Cold weather can be hard on vehicles, especially when they are in storage. Changes in temperature and improper storage techniques can damage your vehicle, so it's important to do your homework before storing your car. These tips will help you choose an appropriate storage facility and prepare you car for winter storage.
Find the Right Location
Where you choose to store your car is important. When looking for a place to keep your car, make sure the garage or storage facility has the following features:
- Secure with a locking door or gate
- Clean and dust-free
- Dry and protected from the weather
- Easy to access
- Wired for electricity, if desired
- Climate-controlled, if desired
Before storing your car, you should take your car to a trusted mechanic or perform a tune-up and the following maintenance yourself:
- Change the engine oil.
- Top off the windshield washer fluid.
- Change the engine coolant.
- Change brake and transmission fluid.
- Fill the fuel tank and add fuel stabilizer.
Clean Your Car
When you prepare your car for storage, it's essential that you make sure your vehicle is clean. This will help keep any pests out of your car and will make sure there are no lasting odors or mildew.At a minimum, remove any trash from the car's interior, and thoroughly vacuum the carpet and upholstery. Wipe down the dashboard and any other surfaces to remove dust and grime. Wash the car's exterior, and wax it to protect the paint job. For the best protection, you might consider having you car professionally detailed. Be sure the car is completely dry before placing it in storage.
Add Air to the Tires
If you won't be driving your car for several months, it's important to make sure storage will not harm your tires. During storage, your vehicle's weight will be directly pressing on the tires. Additional tire pressure will help distribute the burden more effectively.You can find the maximum tire pressure on the sidewalls of your tires or on any documentation you might have received when you bought them. Avoid overfilling the tires, as this too can cause damage.
Disconnect the Fuel Pump and Battery
While your car is in storage, pressure from the fuel system can cause damage to the vehicle. To reduce this risk, you can disconnect the wiring harness for the fuel pump. Your owner's manual will have information on how to perform this task for your make and model of vehicle.It's also important to remove your car's battery before placing the vehicle in storage. Using the directions in your owner's manual, disconnect the battery and remove it from the vehicle. You might consider purchasing a battery tender or other device to help the battery retain its charge over the winter.
Keep the Car Clean
Consider sealing off any openings to your car to prevent infestations. No matter how clean your vehicle is when you store it, pests may view it as a warm, dry location for a nest. You can prevent this by using plastic wrap or steel wool to block off any possible entry points.You might also want to cover your car to keep the exterior clean. You can use a vinyl sheet for the bottom of the vehicle, since this will prevent moisture from seeping through the floor of the garage. However, you will do best with a breathable fabric cover on top. A clean canvas drop cloth may be a good choice, and many companies make covers specifically designed for this purpose.
Although there are many tasks to perform when it comes to car winter storage, proper maintenance and the right storage conditions can help extend the life of your vehicle.