Fill Er’ Full Of Gas + Add Fuel Stabilizer
Preparing your car for winter storage also means adding a fuel stabilizer to your fuel mixture. Since your car’s fuel will be sitting in a tank for months on end, it’s prone to degrading. So, make sure your car is filled up either full, or at the very least, a quarter tank full, and add a fuel stabilizer.
If you think you can get away with storing your car with little to no gas, you’ll be pretty disappointed in spring when your engine comes knocking .
Any empty gas tank in winter is very susceptible to collecting moisture which can cause your fuel to corrode inside the tank.
A fuel stabilizer helps slow down the oxidation process over a long period of time, so you don’t have this issue.
Check Up On Your Insurance
If youll be storing your vehicle outside of your property, be sure to check in with your insurance company to let them know some insurers require that you report if your vehicle will be stored off your property in case of theft or damage. Its not wise to cancel your car insurance when storing your vehicle for the winter you should always maintain your cars comprehensive coverage, including fire and theft.
How Long Can A Car Sit Without Being Driven
The worst part about storing your fun summer car over winter is not being able to drive it. Especially because it’s not all that great for a car to sit for months on end, unless you prepare it properly for winter storage.
If you’re storing your car indefinitely, there’s a lot more to the process than what’s on this list.
The general rule of thumb is to drive your car every two to three weeks.
This is to prevent fluids from deteriorating, tires from losing pressure or getting flat spots, the fuel going bad, and your battery from losing charge.
BUT, when it comes to winter storage, since your car will only be stored for six months at most , you can let it sit those six months assuming you follow these pro tips.
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Clean Your Cars Interior
If youre going to the trouble of following the proper procedures for winter car storage, its clear you love your classic car or sports car. Therefore, its unlikely youve left your beloved cars interior filled with garbage.
Even still, it bears mentioning that you should ensure your cars interior is clean before storing it. Anything food-related definitely needs to be removed. This lowers the chance of any pests trying to get inside your car and you also wont have any unpleasant odors to face after months of winter car storage.
Seat covers are a smart idea for providing extra protection for your upholstery. And its also a good idea to add some packs of desiccant inside the vehicle. They can be bought at your local dollar store and will absorb extra cabin moisture.
A Few Insider Top Tips
Something that you should place inside your car is silica gel the stuff that comes in a sachet in boxes of shoes. Electronics and camera shops often stock this in large sachets and the silica gel will absorb moisture helping to prevent your interior from becoming musty or mouldy whilst the car is stood stationary over the winter.
Dont engage the handbrake when you store your car for a long period of time, as it can seize on. Instead, use wheel chocks or blocks of wood to make sure that your vehicle isnt going anywhere.
It can be a good idea to remove your wiper blades from the arms so that the rubber doesnt stick to the glass and spoil over time. If you do this, make sure that the naked wiper arm isnt going to damage your screen as new ones arent cheap! Put your wiper blades away somewhere safe, too, so they can go back on in the spring or whenever you choose to fire it up.
Oiling your door hinges and spraying some WD40 in your door locks will help to stop them seizing. No one likes a squeaky door after all at any time of year
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To Jack Stand Or Not To Jack Stand
Im of the opinion that this is optional and depends on how long you are storing the car, but for the more mechanically inclined, and for owners of collectible cars, you can put your car on jack stands to take the weight off the tires and suspension. By doing this, you can avoid getting flat areas on your older tires and wheels. Procedures for doing this vary greatly from car to car, so if youre unfamiliar with the proper and safe way to raise your car, consult with someone who knows. In all instances, be sure the floor of your storage site is completely flat and made of concrete before undertaking this.
Watch Out For Rodents
We dont mean to be the bearers of bad news, but your stored car is a very inviting environment to rodents over the winter. First of all, rodents are prone to find nice cozy small places to set up house in, and your exhaust pipes are top-notch as far as theyre concerned. To prevent stumbling upon a family of rats who have moved into your exhaust system, make sure that you block your exhaust tailpipe and any possible inlets into the car.
If you happen to have a newer car, its likely that there is some soy-based wiring inside of it. Unfortunately, mice and rats love to munch on this as a snack. It is a good idea to put rodent repellent around the outside of the car to dissuade them from eating your wiring. You can also try putting mothballs inside of your car to drive away pests, but this can leave an unpleasant odor when you open your vehicle in the spring. Some people swear by using dryer sheets to keep unwanted rodents away but still have the car smelling reasonably nice for the spring season. There are a multitude of rodent repellant sprays and sacks that you can put in and around your vehicle to prevent anything from taking up residency.
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Place The Car On Jack Stands
If its possible and allowed at your local storage facility, putting your car up on jacks will help with the longevity of its suspension, which would otherwise be bearing the weight of the car throughout its stay in storage. It will also help keep undue weight off the tires that could cause them to become deflated or misshapen.
Clean And Polish The Car
Wash and wax your car thoroughly, inside and out. This is especially important if you plan to cover your car in storage a clean, polished car is less likely to sustain scratches when putting on or removing a cover. As part of this step, make sure that any items that can freeze or rupture from the cold are removed from the caras even most garage-style storage units are not climate-controlled.
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Get Your Battery Squared Away
When it comes to preparing your battery for winter storage, you have a few options. The most common way to do it is to set up a trickle charger on your battery. If you store your car in a 3rd party storage unit, make sure you get one with an outlet!
Trickle chargers slowly charge your battery or rather maintain your battery’s charge over an extended period of time. When spring comes, your car should start right up with a charged battery.
You could also disconnect your battery entirely and store it in a warmer space.
So, if you get stuck with a storage unit that doesn’t have an outlet, this is the best option for you.
Make Space In Your Garage For Winter Car Storage
Yes, it can be a lot of work getting your vehicle ready for winter car storage, but your cherished ride deserves it. And when you take it out for that first invigorating drive in the spring time, youll be reminded all over again why putting so much tender loving care into your hobby was worth it.
Do you need better garage organization and storage solutions to make space for the winter storage of your prized vehicle? If so, schedule your free consultation with one of our design experts.
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Prop It Up On Jack Stands
This step may seem a little on the extreme side, but its an important one especially if the vehicle is going to sit stationary for weeks on end. Leaving the car on its tires for a prolonged period can lead to flat spots, particularly if its fitted with retro bias ply tires or softer radials. Start by placing wheel chocks behind the tires and loosening, but not removing, the lug nuts while the vehicle is firmly on the ground. Next up is to raise the vehicle one end at a time using a floor jack rated for the weight of your vehicle. Once the front or rear of the vehicle is in the air, place at least two jack stands rated for the weight of the vehicle under safe lift points and lower the vehicle to rest on them. Do the same for the other end of the vehicle, and, once the vehicle is resting completely on the jack stands, finish loosening the lug nuts and remove the wheels. Store them in bags on their sidewalls in a climate-controlled area like a garage or basement.
Add A Dehumidifier + Dryer Sheets
Adding a dehumidifier to the interior of your car when it’s in storage really comes in clutch if you want a fresh car in springtime.
More importantly, if you don’t want to find mold growing on your seats, carpets, and steering wheel. Yes…mold.
It’s not uncommon to hear of mold growing in-store cars if not properly prepared for winter. This is especially important if you live in any sort of humid environment.
While winters are not particularly humid, the periods of time before and after the heavy winter weather, your car may sit in some rather humid weather which could easily spark some mold growth.
Dehumidifiers will remove any moisture that accumulates inside your car to prevent that dreaded musty smell and any mold growth.
As an added pro tip, throw a ton of clean dryer sheets on your carpets, seats, and in the trunk to keep the smell super fresh.
Again, you can find dehumidifiers meant for car storage pretty cheap online. It’s a super easy thing to do that could prevent a seriously nasty situation.
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Plug The Exhaust Outlet
Closing up the tailpipe prevents rodents, spiders, and other pests from climbing in and making homes. Stuffing a rag into the exhaust or sealing it off with aluminum foil will do the trick. The same goes for other openings, such as air intakes. But remember to unplug these entry points before re-starting and driving the car.
Take Care Of The Battery
When it comes to the vehicle battery, you have a couple of choices. You can disconnect the battery and deal with resetting the cars clock, radio and power seat memory, or you can use a battery charger designed for long-term storage. These float-style chargers maintain, rather than recharge a battery.
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How To Store A Car Long Term
Various circumstances can call for long-term storage of a vehicle. In some cases, owners want to store their cars during the winter months until better driving weather returns in the spring. For others, it may be due to an extended vacation, a temporary relocation for a work assignment, or even a military deployment. Whatever the reason, storing a vehicle for ample time requires specific preparations to keep it safe and protected while it hibernates. Here are some essential storage tips and considerations to keep in mind.
Invest In A Good Car Cover
This will keep dust, debris and small animals away from your car. For extra safety, stuff clean rags into the exhaust pipe and any other areas creatures could nest.
If youre storing your car outside on a driveway, make sure the cover is waterproof and tied securely so the winter storms wont blow it away. Dont cover the car with a plastic tarp as this could damage the paint opt for a soft and stretchy cover that also allows any moisture to escape easily. Our guide to the best outdoor car covers explains more.
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Leaving A Car Unused For An Extended Period Of Time Can Be Worrying Heres How You Can Keep Your Car In Top Condition While Its Not In Use
If you know you wont be using your car for a while it can be difficult to know what to do. Perhaps youve started working from home or want to look after your car during winter. Fear not, however, as weve teamed up with experts at Euro Car Parts, the AA and Nextbase in order to figure out the best ways to prepare your motor for whats to come and minimise the risk of any problems developing.
How long can a car sit without being driven?
Before we start, lets just clarify when we mean by storing your car. Under normal circumstances, experts recommend driving your car every two to three weeks. Using the car any less than this will increase the likelihood of problems flaring up when you plan to get back out on the road.
Its perfectly possible that you could leave your car in a garage or parked outside for months with no problems but the longer you leave it, the greater the chance of issues developing and the more measures you should take to mitigate the risk. Our guide is all about reducing that risk of the worst coming to the worst when the time comes to put your car back on the road again.
Take Care Of Your Tires
Before putting away your vehicle for the winter, youll want to make sure your tires have the proper pressure while this is important whether or not your car is in storage, its even more vital that your tires are at the right pressure if your car will be parked for a longer period of time. This is because its much easier to develop flat tires when the rubber tires are being continually compressed especially in colder temperatures.
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Keep The Critters Away
Critters like mice will be drawn to your stored vehicle, which can provide a comfortable winter home for them if youre not careful.
If youre aware of issues with mice in your garage, try and resolve the problem before winter arrives. And if they continue to be a persistent problem, take a few steps to protect your vehicle.
Use mouse traps outside the vehicle or wherever you notice critter activity in your garage. Mouse traps are reusable and provide visual proof that youve caught one of the pests. The effects of mouse and rat poisons, on the other hand, dont leave evidence as readily. You also wont want to use them if you have pets.
Be sure that all air inlets are closed in the car and put steel wool in the air filter boxs intake duct. Check under your hood periodically during the winter to make sure its critter-free. Also, plug up your exhaust pipe with steel wool to prevent critter access.
Occasionally Start Your Caror Not
One long-running debate concerning winter car storage is whether or not you should start it every few weeks. Those who dont think this is necessary believe that if youve taken the proper steps to store your car properly, theres no need to run it during the winter.
There seems to be a more widely-held belief, however, that it is a good idea to start your stored car every 3-4 weeks. Those in favor believe this keeps the cylinders lubricated and removes moisture from operating components. If youre able to move your car , this also prevents brakes and clutches from sticking.
If you do decide to start your vehicle during winter car storage, just remember to do these four things:
- always remove your car cover when its running
- remember to remove anything you were using to keep critters out of your car
- run your car for about 10-15 minutes until it reaches its optimal operating temperature
- leave your garage door open while your car is running
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How To Properly Store Your Car For The Winter
Everything you need to do to prepare your prized possession for long-term storage.
There are actually a ton of steps that need doing to make sure your car is in top shape come spring. Some of these tips from RK Motors may seem like a hassle, but trust us, they’re all worth it.
We wrote an in-depth step-by-step guide on how to keep your gas from going bad this winter, but here’s a reminder. Fuel only lasts around 30 days before it goes bad, so it’s essential to use fuel stabilizer if you’re thinking about long-term storage.
It can’t hurt to have fresh oil in your engine just before you store it away. This way, once you fire up your car for the first time come spring, it’s using clean, untouched lubrication.
If you stop using a car for an extended period of time, parts that are supposed to flex and move will become brittle and start to crumble or crack, especially in the cold. It’s important to keep these pieces fresh until the next time you hit the road.
If you don’t store your car in a climate-controlled garage, be mindful of how much coolant-to-water mixture is currently in your car. Without the right amount, the water can freeze and expand, causing catastrophic damage to your engine.
You have three choices when it comes to battery preservation in the winter. Leave it connected, disconnect it, or install battery tenders. Read our in-depth guide here to learn how to care for your battery properly during long-term storage.