Winter Car Storage: Everything You Need to Know

Seasonal storage is crucial if you’re unable to drive your vehicle in the winter.

But there’s a specific routine to follow so your car functions properly and is ready to drive when the ice thaws. Perhaps you’re considering winter car storage but you’re not sure where to begin.

Sound familiar? If so, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s everything you need to know.

Find a Good Location 

The first step of storing a car for winter is to find the perfect location.

Don’t worry about finding somewhere that’s climate-controlled because vehicles can withstand the weather. But avoid anywhere that’s high in humidity or moisture because that’ll cause more harm than leaving your car in the cold.

You must also prioritize security by choosing a quiet building with little windows so no one is tempted to steal it. If you’re worried about rodents, surround the perimeter of your car with dryer sheets and mothballs. Or, for a drastic measure, you can even lay down mouse traps and regularly remove any remains.

Thoroughly Clean the Vehicle

To protect your car in storage, it’s important to give it a good clean. Give your vehicle a thorough handwash then polish and wax the paint so it’s spotless. Although it feels pointless because you’re storing it, water stains or animal droppings can permanently ruin the paintwork.

Don’t forget to tackle the wheels and the undersides of the fenders to wash off mud, grease, or tar. You should also deep-clean the interior by throwing away litter and polishing high-touch areas like the steering wheel.

Check the unpainted metal underneath your car as it’s prone to rust especially in the colder months. You’ll need a can of rubberized coating to spray over it so it stays in great condition. Another useful tip is stuffing the exhaust pipe with steel wool so pests can’t nest but remember to remove it before starting up your car.

Protect With a Car Cover

Not sure how to store a car for the winter?

Simply throw a car cover over your vehicle as it stops spills or dust from settling on the paint. Plus, it’ll prevent any scratches from moving objects around your parked car.

It’s important to invest in a waterproof, high-quality cover that securely attaches to your vehicle. Although it’s cheaper, never cover your vehicle with a plastic tarp as it’ll scratch the paint and won’t give it sufficient protection.

Get an Oil Change 

One of the top rules for long-term car storage is to get the oil changed especially if it’s stored for over 30 days. This is because used oil is packed with contaminants which could ruin your engine and result in a sludge buildup. Further, those in a cold climate should check there’s enough antifreeze in the vehicle.

Once you’ve swapped it out, drive around until the engine oil reaches its full operating temperature so it works properly.

Consider the Fuel Tank 

Before winter vehicle storage, you must fill the tank with fuel as it stops condensation from building up. Next, add a fuel stabilizer as it will protect the engine from rusting. A bonus is that it stops the gas from deteriorating for at least one year.

Check the Radiator and Battery

A crucial winter truck storage tip is to drain the radiator fluid so no contaminants cause the engine to decay. To decide whether you need to add antifreeze, check the freezing point with a hydrometer to make sure it can withstand freezing temperatures.

And don’t forget the battery. The easiest solution is to disconnect the battery cables, removing the negative one first, otherwise, it will eventually lose its charge. Once removed, store your battery in a dry place and top them up with a tender so they stay fully charged. Note that your radio presets and clocks will be wiped out but it’s easy to fix.

If you can’t remove the battery, leave it on a tender so it’ll gently charge throughout winter.

Look After the Tires 

It’s wise to slightly inflate your tires because they’ll lose pressure when the temperature drops. To help you, check the number that’s listed on all four tires so you don’t exceed the tires’ maximum air pressure.

Also, make sure the parking brake isn’t engaged as it could jam. If you’re storing the vehicle for over a month, get wooden blocks so you can wedge the tires.

Crack Your Windows Open

Open the windows an inch so the interior gets to breathe. You can also throw in a few silica packs to absorb any moisture. Because of this, store the vehicle in a warm, dry environment to prevent mold from building up.

Further, you may want to cancel your insurance when your vehicle storage but this is a bad idea. If you remove coverage and there’s a fire or your car is stolen then you won’t be reimbursed. Instead, make sure you have classic car insurance that takes winter storage into account.

That’s Everything About Winter Car Storage

Now you know everything about winter car storage so yours stays in perfect condition.

Begin by finding a dry location and make sure the car is spotless, all the oil has been changed, and you pump up the tires. You should also make sure the area is rodent-free so no critters make a nest in your car. Good luck!

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