If you’re the lucky owner of a convertible or of a classic car—or simply someone who needs to store their car for winter—then you’re probably stressed out every time it gets cold outside. You love driving, but if you own a car that is basically impossible to drive during those cold winter months, then you have to spend some time making sure you store it in perfect conditions. Here are some tips that will help you prepare your car for winter:
Prepare your garage.
The most important thing to consider is where you’re going to store the car. If you are going to keep it in the garage for the winter, first you have to make sure that it’s a safe and proper space for your car. You have to make sure that there isn’t any moisture; a dry space is essential in order to create the best storage conditions for the car. You should also pay attention to your garage door and check if it works properly.
Get your car ready.
Before storage, you must thoroughly clean the interior and the exterior of your car. Show some love to your automobile, give it a good wash, polish the chrome, and don’t forget to apply a coat of wax on the paint. If you’re considering steam-cleaning your carpets, don’t do it too close to the moment you’re putting the car in storage, in order to avoid mold and moisture buildup.
If you’re afraid that mice or other small animals will find their way inside the car, put some sheets inside it to make it look less fascinating to them. You can also use mothballs inside and outside the car, but the smell will probably linger a lot more than you want to.
Check the Fluids
After your car is nice and ready for winter, take a final trip to the gas station to fill up the tank. You should add fuel stabilizer and run the car for about five minutes to let the stabilizer run through the fuel. You should also check that the other fluid levels are topped up and pay close attention to the anti-freeze levels, especially if you live in a colder climate. Change the oil and the oil filters and take the car for a final drive to allow the new fluids to circulate.
Inflate the Tires
It’s a good idea to inflate the tires to a higher air pressure before storage, because in time and when the temperature changes, the tires can lose pressure. Just be careful not to exceed the maximum air pressure (listed on the side of the tire). If one of the tires is already leaking, then you have to change it because it will definitely deflate completely over time and your car will end up leaning on its rim.
Obviously, the car needs to be parked on a level surface. Disengage the parking brake and leave the car in neutral. Usually, automatic transmission cars can be left in park, but if you’re worried that your car might start rolling, block your tires.
Decide what you do with the battery.
Some people choose to take the battery out and store it somewhere safe, connected to a battery tender. If you don’t want to take it out, you should connect it to a battery tender or a trickle charger. Keeping the battery charged prolongs its life and it also makes you feel certain that the car will start when you need it.
Let it truly hibernate.
After all the careful preparation you’ve put into making sure your beloved car has a good winter, you may find yourself tempted to mess with it, starting it up from time to time. Although this has always been a hot topic among people who store their cars, starting up the car isn’t necessarily a good idea, because condensation will build through the systems and it won’t burn off easily.
If you want to start it up, though, you have to remove the cover and anything you may have added while preparing it for storage. Also, don’t forget to open the garage door when you’re doing this. Let the car warm up to its operating temperature in order to remove condensation and to let the oil lubricate the parts for a while.
These are a few guidelines that will help you properly store your car for winter. Don’t forget to find a high-quality cover for the car, one that allows it to breathe, and to make sure that the car is completely dry and cool before you cover it.