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Tire Service Blog

How to Store your car for winter

How to StoreYour Car for Winter
Fight Moisture
Moisture is a persistent adversary that, if not controlled, can cause severe damage to various parts of the car. Moisture within the fuel tank can cause corrosion and leaks that will harm not only the vehicle but also the driveway and storage area.
To ward it off, fill the gas tank all the way to the brim to displace the air, which is the source of water vapor and moisture. Use non-alcoholic fuel containing a high percentage of octane, as a low-quality fuel will lose its structure and mutate into a gluey substance.
Adding a fuel stabilizer such as Sta-Bil and Pri-G will help keep the gasoline’s composition fresh for up to a year.
Freshen Fluids
Additionally, flush and change the oils, oil filter, coolant and all other fluids. Take the car for one last ride to circulate the new fluids. If the car remains inactive for over three months, change the oil and filter again before driving, as the oil can also break down over time.
Shampoo Before Bed
Next, wash every inch of the car including the belly with a car shampoo. Once the car is dried, wax the bodywork to prevent dust and other foreign particles from getting into the paint. Ensure the wax is thoroughly rubbed in, or it will leave a stubborn residue.
Follow this by cleaning the interior of the vehicle thoroughly, as any food crumbs and spills will fill the car with odor and possibly mold over the storage period. Shampoo the carpet and place a few bags of desiccants or silica gel in the interior and trunk to help ward off moisture that can build up beneath the rug.
Removing the carpets and storing them in warmer environments will also prevent them from becoming musky.
Got It Covered
When it comes to choosing a car cover, it is critical to use a breathable model, as it will help dispel any trapped moisture between the body and cover. Fit is also crucial, especially for outdoor storage, as it will help keep out the wind and the moisture that is carried with it.
Also consider placing some plastic sheeting or old carpet under the car to reduce the risk of moisture rising from the floor and rusting the car’s underbelly. Fill the ends of the tailpipes with steel wool to repel both moisture and critters.
Proper Lubrication
Don’t forget to lubricate the hinges, latches and locks and release the parking brake to avoid the brake pads from sticking to the rotors.
Wiper blades also have a tendency to stick to the windshield. Placing a layer of plastic wrap under the blades will keep the rubber from sticking. If the car is stored outside, remove the blades completely and stock them in a warmer environment.
Also consider removing the battery and store it indoors to maximize its lifespan. If unsure of how to remove the battery, another option is to connect it to a trickle charger or battery tender, both of which usually cost less than $50.
Start Me Up?
One of the biggest debates in storing a car is whether or not to start the car once every other month or so. If the vehicle is stored properly, this should not be necessary.
Should an owner wish to run a routine warm-up, the exhaust must be emptied of the steel wool and the cover taken off completely beforehand. Leave the engine running for approximately 30 minutes to ensure that the battery is charged and the engine is fully warmed up. Test the brakes and go through all the gears several times to lubricate them.
Note to Self
Lastly, leave a note outlining which steps to reinstate (e.g. normalize tire pressures, replace wipers, remove wool from exhaust) so that after the winter months, all necessary actions can be checked-off, ensuring you can confidently drive off at the arrival of spring.

Written on Tuesday, February 10, 2015 by
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