The perfect driving season will come to a close before you know it and you will then be faced with storing your baby for the winter. The ideal place to store your vehicle for the winter is in a climate controlled storage facility but for about 99 percent of the population this simply isn’t going to happen.
Regardless of where you store your vehicle for the winter the worst thing you can do is pull the vehicle in and turn off the ignition and then walk away. Even if you are only going to store the vehicle for a month there can be a lot of damage done if you do not properly prepare the vehicle for storage.
Here are some tips that will help you properly prepare your vehicle for its long winter slumber:
- Change the Oil: A natural byproduct of combustion is moisture. If the old oil that is in your vehicle is allowed to sit then you run the risk that moisture will evaporate and then condense on the internal parts of your engine where the moisture can then cause corrosion. Another reason to change your oil is that fresh oil will not be as acidic as the old oil that has been running through the vehicle for some time. Once you change the oil start the vehicle just long enough for the oil to circulate and then shut her down for the winter.
- Prep the Spark Plugs: Loosen the spark plugs on your vehicle and use about a tea spoon of motor oil in the spark plug holes. This will help stop the rings on the plugs from corroding and seizing to the cylinder walls. Once you start up your vehicle in the spring time the oil in the holes will be burned up within just a few minutes of the engine being run.
- Address the Tires: Here you have a few choices. You can pay to have your ties filled with Nitrogen gas which is a dry gas and will prevent dry rot. You can also increase your tire pressures to a couple of PSI over the max suggestion on the tires. Some suggest that the vehicle be jacked up, but if that is your approach then you should be sure that the vehicle is put on jack stands under the axles and suspension and not the frame itself this way the proper load is maintained.
- Take Care of the Inside: To keep moisture from building up in the interior you can buy desiccants for the vehicle and store them on the floorboards. This will help maintain the leather and will prevent that nasty mildew smell from popping up after the winter is over.
- Cover it up: If you do not have a quality vehicle cover that is breathable then you should obtain one for the winter time. They will help any dust or pollens from building up and can save your paint job. Quite simply they are worth their weight in gold.
- Wash and Wax: Washing your vehicle and putting a good coat of wax on it before you store it will help to repel any nasty winter time gunk from building up on your paint.
- Battery Away: Take out your vehicle’s battery and store it where it will stay warm. If you have a battery maintainer it is a good idea to use it.
- Get some Vinyl: If you are storing your vehicle on concrete for the winter such as in your garage then you need to lay down a sheet of vinyl to park your vehicle on. The reason is that garage floors have a tendency to seep moisture through during the cold winter months and this moisture can wreak havoc on your vehicle’s underside.
- Gas it Up: Many people feel that you should drain you gas tank but this still leaves behind some moisture that can cause all sorts of problems. Instead of emptying your gas tank, fill it to the brim. Then add a quality fuel stabilizer so that the gasoline does not have a chance to gunk up.
- Check Antifreeze: Unless you are storing your vehicle in a nice climate controlled unit then it is also a good idea to check the antifreeze levels and be sure they will be adequate for the cold winter weather.
The wonderful thing about preparing your vehicle this way for the winter is that come spring time you will already have a full tank of gas, a fresh oil change, and a clean vehicle to begin the new driving season with.