The cold weather winter will soon be about us. Father winter can do good damage to your vehicle – be it a car, truck, S.U.V. or other automotive product. If you are storing your vehicle for the winter – whether you be a winter “Snowbird” spending the winter in southern climes or just a car guy or gal with a vintage or classic vehicle to store over the winter there are basic procedures to follow as well as situations and damage to avoid and prevent to your automobile.
First and foremost wash your car thoroughly. In addition if you have chrome well take off any dirt and grime. Use a metal brush carefully if necessary. Moisture can be retained in the dirt and grime causing rust and corrosion over the winter time period.
A nice application of auto wax is also nice as well. In addition ensure that the interior is fully cleaned and vacuumed – lets pests locate any residues and left overs inadvertently left and are attracted to the vehicle to do their damage. Not only are you giving your car a once over. In the springtime you will have a car that is clean and enticing and looks good. It is often said that a clean car runs and rides better.
Next check all fluid levels. Fill up the gas tank full. Fuel and water do not mix. A ¼ full tank of gas can be a center for corrosion development. These rust particles can move along and cause you woes in your fuel system – be in a vintage carburetor or a newer more modern vehicle with fuel injection. Ensure that your radiator antifreeze is set for a worst case, coldest day on record, temperature. In addition check your windshield washer antifreeze. Ensure that the windshield washer antifreeze is filled with winter ready solution. At the worst drain this reservoir empty.
Next you may want to do an oil change for the winter storage. On first note this may seem a waste. After all the car will be just sitting there over the winter not being used in any way. Still motor oil used in the fall and summer may contain its share of moisture and condensation, dust and dirt particles which are abrasive and residues of fuel. The resulting compounds in the oil may make your engine oil acidic and will cling not only to the oil pan but any of the vital engine components that it has lubricated and resides on. It might be a safe bet of insurance not only to fill the gas tank and check antifreeze levels but also to change your engine oil.
In terms of choice of storage, any can be good as long as there is good security over the winter and your pocket book is not hurt too much. Storage can be actual indoors heated storage, it can be unheated. It can be outdoors – which if properly done can be just fine. First if possible enclose the vehicle in a covering – a cocoon so to speak.
Especially if your car is outside do not cover your vehicle with a plastic or canvas tarp. Winter storms with strong winds can cause tarp and tie down ropes to be moved around, with some force. Repeatedly over the length of the winter time storage period, the result can be scratches on the paint surface of the vehicle and even cases where paint is wore right through. In addition a tarp may trap condensation encouraging rust, corrosion and even fungus. Spring for a proper custom made cocoon fabric covering if at all possible.
If there is one point and consideration to follow in storing your vehicle over the winter, to look for, is to store your vehicle with adequate ventilation. Without adequate ventilation and air flow exchange, a stored vehicle, in its cocoon, is most susceptible to damage from condensation. Without proper and adequate airflow condensation can do great damage to your paint, painted surfaces, chrome and exposed or even hidden metal parts and components. Ditto humidity concerns for your vehicles interior and upholstery.
Lastly if your car is stored outdoors, in the winter, a highly recommended form of protection can be afforded easily by a portable, free-standing portable garage. These are relatively inexpensive and easily set up. Storage in a safe, outdoor compound is generally much less expensive than indoors. Such a setup of a portable garage allows for the best of many worlds – protection from snow, no physical contact, very good ventilation and lastly less cost to the auto owner.
By taking the time to perform a few simple maintenance procedures and providing for proper and safe storage you will be providing for longer vehicle longevity with a car of fantastic appearance. In addition you will save yourself a lot of automobile headache and heartache come next spring. All in all taking the time to prepare your vehicle for winter storage is the best value of all when it comes to car care and maintenance.