It’s winter season and it’s time to put your classic car away. It might seem easy to just park your car in the garage or drive it into a storage unit but, if you don’t know how to store a car for winter, it can have a detrimental impact on the integrity of the car and motor. Classic cars can be very valuable and it’s important that they are taken care of properly. Make sure you aren’t unintentionally damaging your car with these eleven must-know tips for classic car storage.
1. Detail the Vehicle
One of the main classic car storage tips is to put the car away cleaned and waxed. Any kind of dust or debris left on the vehicle in storage can cause scratches or damage to the exterior paint. Make sure to wipe down the mirrors and chrome detailing with a good glass cleaner to give the surface a shiny finish before storing a car for 6 months or more.
2. Lubricate Everything
When preparing the car for winter storage, you must check to see all-wheel bearings are up to snuff and hit all the grease fittings you can find on the steering components and suspension. Make sure to lubricate all door and hood hinges to keep them from jamming up before winter storage.
3. Fill the Tank
Fill the tank up preferably with premium fuel and then add a fuel stabilizer (usually 1 oz. to every 2.5 gallons of gasoline) following the manufacturer’s instruction prior to storing a car for 6 months. Run the vehicle for a couple of minutes to allow the fuel stabilizer to move into the carburetor, fuel rails, injectors, etc. Remember, the fuller the tank, the less room there will be for air, which carries moisture that can lead to fuel contamination and possibly rust within the tank. These are very important winter car storage tips.
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4. Change the Oil
Change the oil and filter when preparing the car for winter storage. Used engine oils contain combustion byproducts, dirt, grease, and acids. These harmful agents can cause deterioration to the engine when storing a car for 6 months or longer. If you change the oil yourself, make sure to use the proper motor oil that is specially formulated for your antique car. Lastly, prevent rust damage to the inside of the spark plugs by adding about a teaspoon of engine oil to each cylinder. Be sure to drive the car around for a few miles after you have finished in order to allow the oil to fully circulate throughout the entire engine of the car before winter storage.
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5. Fill Tires with Air
Maintain the tires by slightly overinflating them before long-term car storage. This will help prevent flat spots from forming. Make sure to stay away from products that increase shine, as these products can dry out the rubber and can cause dry rot. Lastly, inspect the tires for any possible leaks and If necessary, have them repaired or replaced before storing a car for 6 months. Keep reading for more tips on how to store a car for winter.
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6. Remove the Battery
If you plan on storing a car for 6 months or longer, remove the car battery entirely. If the battery terminal is corroded make sure to carefully clean it with baking soda and water, then rinse with distilled water. To start, unhook the battery by removing the negative cable first and storing the battery off the ground (preferably on a wooden block) in a climate-controlled environment above freezing. Attach a trickle charger to maintain your vehicle’s battery life.
If you will be starting the car every now and then, you might want to consider getting a battery tender. A battery tender will keep your battery functioning over long periods of time. This method will prevent you from having to pull the battery in and out of the car if you decide to start it a few times during this winter season. This option will only work if you have a power source in your storage area. These winter car storage tips will prevent your battery from going bad.
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7. Check the Coolant
It is recommended that you drain and refill the coolant as one of your winter car storage tips. Make sure to see that the radiator is filled with the correct mix of coolant and water. It is possible that you could end up with ice in your cooling system if you’re storing a car for 6 months or longer. Check the coolant label for instructions on the proper mixture and the temperature range you may encounter and exceed.
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8. Place the Vehicle on a Jack
If you don’t plan on driving the car for a while, jack the car up and place it on jack stands. This process relieves the weight from the tires and the suspension. The added support will also prevent the tires from flat spotting when storing a car for 6 months or longer.
9. Protect from Insects and Vermin
While the best metal sheds and garages (or wooden garages) will keep lots of critters away from your vehicle, there are additional protective steps you should still take. To keep insects and vermin out of the car, use absorbent, white cotton cloth to seal off all engine openings and the exhaust pipe as one of the vehicle storage tips. This will protect your classic car from moisture, insects, and rodents from getting inside the engine of the car and causing damage. Be sure to remove the cotton when taking the vehicle out of the storage.
10. Close All Windows
These long-term vehicle storage tips are simple, roll up all windows to keep the rodents and pests from getting inside and damaging the interior. Make sure to close all entries when storing a car for 6 months or more.
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11. Choose the Right Storage
Choosing the right classic car storage space is where GoldStar can help you. With a variety of options such as the garage shed, lofted garage, or the double-wide garage (if you have two classics you would like to store) we can help provide a safe place for your classic car. Car cover for winter storage might be a cheaper option but not a safe one when it comes to valuable cars. Check out our collection of affordable garages and request a quote when you see something you like. Download our price list to find out what your antique car garage will cost. We offer rent own options on all of our garages to make them more affordable for you. Click below to check out our Garage Collection.
If your car is a convertible make sure when preparing the car for winter storage, you store it with the top-up. Leaving the top rolled down will cause shrinkage in the material and also large creases to form. Protect the convertible top using silicone spray or something similar and place desiccant sacs on the interior floor board to reduce moisture caused by humidity, which also can damage the convertible top.
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Protect Your Classic Car
We hope these 11 long-term vehicle storage tips were helpful to you. If you read these tips, you now know how to store your car during the winter season and avoid additional expenses when preparing to take the classic car for a drive. Take these 11 vehicle storage tips to avoid rust on your car and engine problems which can result in a costly fix. When preparing the classic car for winter storage, make sure to go through our 11 tip checklist for safe storing.
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