How to Store Your Car for Winter
When winter comes around it is time to put your nice car in storage. It is important to store your car properly during the winter so it can come out in great shape in the spring. There are ways to prepare your car before storage that can be important. It is also important how you store your car for winter. By putting your car into a storage unit properly you ensure the best return on your storage rental.
Now that you are putting your car into storage for the winter months it is important to set your storage unit up properly. We learn many new tips from our car guys who store with us year after year. They always remind us of additional things. Some are car specific while others are great for everyone to know.
Cardboard or Tarp Under Car
When putting your car into a storage unit remember to line the floor with cardboard or a tarp. Make sure the floor is covered below the footprint of the oil pan and rear axle. These areas are some of the most common to drip fluids onto the concrete floor of the storage unit. Loose gaskets or seals in your engine may end up leaking while your car is in winter storage.
Nothing is worse than having an oil or coolant stain to clean off concrete when you take your vehicle out next summer. Many storage facilities have security deposits and an oil stain is a quick way to ensure you aren’t going to get yours back. Take a couple of extra minutes and few dollars to cover the floor of your storage unit in case your car leaks. Additionally placing a plastic drop cloth or cardboard on the floor of the storage area acts as a barrier to keep moisture seeping through the cement floor, attacking the underside of the car.
If your engine and battery are in front of your car, you should back your car into storage. This way if your car doesn’t start you can easily get access to both the engine and the battery. Another tip is to back your car in as close to the passenger side as you can. This will give you plenty of room to get out of the driver’s side. Lastly, have someone spot you in so that you don’t nick your car on the side of the storage door or rear wall by backing in too far!
What About the Tires
Don’t engage the parking brake for storage as it can become “frozen” and difficult to disengage. When parking your car for long periods of time it can be smart to chalk your tires. Put a block of wood on both sides of either your front or back tires. Parking brakes can fail when left on for long periods of time.
It’s worthwhile to inflate your tires to a higher air pressure before storing your car because tires can slowly lose pressure over time and with temperature changes. However, don’t exceed the tire’s maximum air pressure, which is listed on the side of the tire. Also, be sure to fill all four tires to the correct air pressure when you take your car out of storage. If you already know one of your tires has a leak, replace it before storage so it doesn’t deflate over the winter.
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. If you’re 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.
How to Store Your Car Battery
Now that your car is fully in your storage unit and won’t be moved again until spring. It is time to decide what to do with the battery. What storing option is best for your battery? Having a plan prevents your battery from going dead during the winter. If it is convenient for you to stop by your storage unit periodically, the easiest solution is to unplug the battery so the charge is not drawn down and you can stop by to quickly connect and run your car for a while.
Another popular option is to simply bring the battery home with you and keep it in a warm place in your house. Here you can elect to keep on a trickle charger or battery tender. Make sure your tender or charger has a float mode or automatic shutoff feature so your battery does not get overcharged! Place a piece of wood or other protective material between your battery and floor so nothing stains your floor!
Store Your Car and Leave It Be
A common discussion among people who store cars for winter is whether or not to start it every so often. Car experts indicate that if you do a proper job storing a car, you don’t need to start it. But if you want to start it up, just remember that you will need to remove any covers, connect the battery and remove any socks or steel wool stuffed in the exhaust! Keep in mind if you select this option, you will want to pick a good weather day to do so when running your car that you pull the car out of the storage unit so your exhaust fumes don’t contaminate your neighbor’s storage unit!
Covering your car in storage
Even if your car is inside a storage unit you should still think about putting a cover on it. When storing for multiple months dust build-up can occur. You want to keep your freshly washed car as clean as possible while in storage. You may also want to crack the windows a bit so that moisture doesn’t build up inside, leaving a musty smell! Lastly, you should make sure your car is cooled off and dry before covering. Remember to remove garage door openers or phone chargers, needed back home before covering too.
Remember to let your insurance agent know that your car is now in storage. Your plan may change while your car is in storage.