There are a lot of things to consider when you decide to store your car, or any other vehicle, for a season or longer. This is especially true when you are storing your car for the winter. Here are just a few tips and suggestions for getting ready to store your vehicle for the winter.
Any fluids that might freeze should be removed or improved. What I mean by that is some cars, like our old Model A Ford, can run perfectly fine during the summer months using water in the radiator (no radiator fluid). However, I don’t suggest it. When storing it for the winter, I purchased a radiator fluid tester and found the fluid was only good down to 30 degrees Fahrenheit or so. Not good in our harsh, Midwest winters. So, I flushed the radiator and put in a good mix of radiator fluid.
Other fluids that might freeze include improper window washing fluid. In the summer, you can certainly put clean water in your window washing fluid reservoir to clean your windows. This is a cheap choice. But in the winter, the water can freeze and crack the lines. So make sure you empty all of the water, or better yet, fill the windshield washer fluid reservoir with a good, non-freezing window washer fluid. Make sure also to run the window washer fluid enough to run out all of the water.
Any water in the gas tank can freeze too. This obviously should be avoided. I recommend either storing the car with minimum gas in the tank or using a stabilizing additive. Either way, water can, and does, seep into the gas tank naturally over time, so be aware of this.
Get the Tires up, off the Ground
There is some degree of debate over whether or not you really need to get the tires off of the ground. If you are storing the car for more than a few years, I recommend that you put the car on blocks (or other solid stands) to get the tires off of the concrete. Some higher-end storage facilities have vinyl or painted floors that are better for your tires than cement floors.
It’s especially good to keep the tires off the floor if you have tires that are older. Older tires can “cup” or otherwise deform over time. Although, this is usually not something that happens if you are storing the car for a short period; say one or two seasons.
Take Care of the Battery
You can either disconnect the battery or put it on a trickle charger (if you have power). Older cars that have limited or no computers should have no problem having the battery disconnected. However, if you are concerned and you have power, it’s good to have a trickle charger on the battery to keep it in peak condition.
There are also “quick disconnects” for car batteries. They are essentially terminals that attach to your battery. With a twist of the dial, you can disconnect the battery and reconnect it with another twist.
This is just a limited list of things to keep in mind when preparing your car for storage. Be sure to talk with your storage facility manager to make sure you properly prepare your vehicle.