Do These 5 Acts of TLC to Your Car for Winter Storage
In our recent post about winter car storage, we discussed the reasons why it is a good idea for some drivers. We divulged into a number of factors, including maintenance costs, appearance, and fuel economy. We also acknowledged that it’s not as simple as leaving it in the garage. There’s still work to be done. So if you’re thinking of parking your car in the garage this winter, there are some tasks you’ll have to undertake to keep your car in good shape throughout the months. We’re going to tell you how to store a car for winter, so that it rolls out in the spring as the shiny beast it was meant to be.
1. Location, location, location
Picking the right location should be the first factor that should come to mind when thinking about parking your car. You can’t haphazardly pick a storage space. The expression “product of your environment” applies to vehicles when dealing with winter storage – you must keep your car in a place that offers maximum protection from wear-and-tear, weather its elements or meddling hands (vandalizers, criminals).
Ideally, you’ll store your vehicle in your garage. If you don’t have access to a garage, it’s important to find a storage space that has concrete flooring, rather than dirt or gravel surfaces. Additionally, there’s the issue of climate control. The best location will be one that doesn’t have an overabundance of moisture, but neither should it be too dry or cold (as this affects the battery, which we’ll discuss later).
2. Make fluid top ups a top priority
There’s a misconception that fluid status stays the same in a motionless car. It isn’t true. If you left a glass of water out in the open for weeks, there would be changes. Some of it would evaporate, and most likely get dirty even if it’s not outwardly visible (due to bacterial contamination). Likewise, your car’s fluids are susceptible to changes as well.
Water condensation and gasoline molecules (which break down in 60 days), can diminish the quality and quantity of gas in your tank. So it would be wise to fill up before parking your car. Also getting an oil change beforehand is vital as well. Modern oil can remain stable for a year in the engine, but you should change it if a look at the dipstick is dirty. Also, other fluids such as coolant/antifreeze, wiper fluid and brake fluid should be changed as well before hiding your car for the winter season.
3. No pressure, but keep your tires inflated
Fluids aren’t the only thing that change over time in your car. Tires are susceptible as well. Pressure loss occurs over time and in frigid weather as well, due to the fact that cold air shrinks. To avoid flat spots on your tires, it’s essential that you inflate them before parking your vehicle. In fact, slightly overinflating them is not a bad idea (remember, slightly is the keyword here).
You may remember the sight of cars parked away for months, sitting tireless on blocks. However, this isn’t necessary for modern tires, and it is even not recommended. You can also have your tires inspected for defects or punctures that may lead to increased pressure loss, giving you a chance to replace a tire ahead of time if necessary.
4. Keep the spark alive in your battery
Earlier on, we mentioned the idea of keeping a car in a storage space that is climate controlled. It shouldn’t be too hot or cold. Heat isn’t a problem, especially if you live in a region known for brutal winters, but cold air certainly is. And that can have a serious effect on your batteries – they could die. So attention to your battery is important, especially if the only space available to you doesn’t have the ideal temperature.
It’s good to remove your battery and plug it into a maintainer. This will keep it charged (not to mention away from the cold). Before doing this, make sure to consult your manufacturer if you’re driving a newer vehicle and at the very least, look at your driving manual for storage procedures.
5. Don’t be a slob
You might assume that your car will remain undisturbed and unhindered during its long hiatus of motionlessness. But that’s not the case. Rodents are sneaky little creatures that can find their way into your car, and cause serious damage by chewing wires in your vehicle. That brings cleaning and pest prevention to the light. Make sure to put a ball of steel wool in your exhaust pipe to block access for pesky rodents (which are usually mice).
There’s also the cleaning aspect. For exterior cleansing, make sure to give your car a full body wash to remove dirt, grime and other particles that could damage your car’s paint or lead to rusting. Throw on a cover to give your car further protection from particles that could leave your vehicle untidy.
Also, give the interior a good cleaning as well. Vacuum the seats and upholstery to remove food crumbs and dirt. Make sure to toss out the food wrappers and coffee cups – you don’t want them to sit in your vehicle four or five months later, with your nose and stomach cringing because of an odor.
Give Your Ride a Caring Touch
Parking your ride from the frigid fury of winter can be the perfect answer to your money and maintenance woes in the upcoming months. However, you must know how to store your car for the winter seasons. Fortunately, the work needed to keep your vehicle in good shape isn’t too strenuous or complicated. Your mechanic can actually carry out many of these tasks for you, if you’re low on time or unsure of what you need to do. Of course, you can do it yourself and check online sources such as YouTube. All that matters is giving your car the TLC it needs for winter hibernation. You’ll thank yourself when your car rolls out like a beast during spring.