How to Prepare Your Summer Car for Storage
One of the pleasures of summer is driving a car that provides as little separation as possible between you and that beautiful summer sky. Classic cars, convertibles, soft-top Jeeps and a select few other vehicles were made for warm-weather driving. To help make sure your car is ready for next summer’s fun in the sun, many owners opt for winter storage to eliminate the risk of damage from snow and ice.
But before you send your baby off to hibernate, there are a few important steps you should take to properly prepare it for winter storage:
Give it a bath:
Photo credit to Brood_wich
Sure, most of us wash our cars to make them look good while we’re on the road, but washing a car before storage is an important step that shouldn’t be skipped. A thorough washing removes corrosive sediment and grime that could cause pitting or staining if left until spring. Clean underneath the fenders and in the wheel wells to remove tar and caked on grime, and then consider applying a protective coat of wax.
Change the oil:
Leaving oil in an unused car for a few months can allow a buildup of contaminants that can end up damaging your engine. Have the oil changed before you place your car in storage to help ensure it’s ready to roll when spring comes.
Fill ‘er up:
Making sure the tank is full helps eliminate the chance that moisture will build up and it will also keep seals from becoming dry and brittle. Add a fuel stabilizer to prevent gunk from forming in the tank and to prevent ethanol accumulation and engine rust.
Photo credit to
MIKI Yoshihito under cc2.0
Tend the battery:
Ideally, even though it’s technically in storage, you’ll be able to drive your car briefly every couple of weeks to keep the battery charged and help parts stay lubricated. But when that’s not an option, you have two choices: Either disconnect the cable on the battery’s negative terminal or install a trickle charger, which uses power from a wall outlet to prevent the battery from completely losing its charge. Of course, if no electricity is available or if you don’t like the idea of leaving something that’s unattended plugged in next to your car, the disconnect option is your best bet.
Inflate the tires:
Like your battery, your tires also will benefit from intermittent short drives. But whether or not that’s an option, making sure tires are properly inflated can help reduce the risk of flat spots, which can become permanent, requiring tire replacement. To eliminate that risk altogether, remove the wheels and put the car on jack stands. Flat spots are more common with performance tires and low-profile tires.
Photo credit to
Jason Young under cc2.0
Ward off unwanted passengers:
To a mouse or rat, nothing says “home, sweet home” like a dry, protected car. Keep critters out by blocking your exhaust pipe with steel wool and placing a few cotton balls or rags soaked in peppermint essential oil – a natural deterrent for rodents – on the floor around your car. Mothballs and flakes are another effective option. When selecting a storage unit, always check to ensure there are no obvious means of critters getting in.
Check on insurance:
Dropping insurance may save some money, but it might also increase the risk of having your rates raised. Call your insurance company and ask about rules that apply in your area.
Keeping your car safe and sound over the winter can offer you considerable peace of mind and prevent the need for costly repairs in the spring. Take some time to prepare properly and your car will be road-ready when that warm springtime sun beckons once again.
If you’re looking to rent a storage unit, contact us now for rates.