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View Full Version : I will be storing my car this winter and I need advice...



dirtybird91
10-22-2005, 09:44 AM
How many of you guys have a garage and store your car in it for the winter? I will be buying a "beater" and storing my car in my garage for the winter and I have a few questions:
Should I use a car cover?
What special gas additive should I use to keep the gas ripe for four months?
Should I set the car on jackstands?
How do I protect the car against mildew? (anything I should put in it?)
Should I roll the windows up or down?

I know I should unhook one post on the battery. :D
Any advise will be appreciated. :cool:

CMac89
10-22-2005, 12:11 PM
If you have your car in a garage, or some type of enclosed area where no weather can get to it, you don't have to worry about any windows, car covers, jack stands, etc.....

Unless you don't want your car to get scratched by somebody walkin around your car you don't need a car cover. Windows can stay up or down, whichever you prefer it won't make a difference.

I don't think they make any additives except for fuel injector cleaner. Park it with the least amount of gas you can and whenever the winter is over you can just get a couple gallons of gas at a gas station then put it in.

Give her a hug and tell her night night for me. :)

xThunderbirdSCx
10-22-2005, 12:19 PM
Actually thats not the best idea what was stated above. This exerpt from the Super Coupe Club of Iowa seems to be very accurate and trustworthy. I will be following these guidelines this winter for my car.


Before you put your car away for the season give it a good wash and wax job. It is VERY IMPORTANT to always store your car clean. Don't forget to wash off the undercarriage. After all, that's were most of the rust starts. A good coat of wax on the car will protect the finish against stains if something happens to get on it during the time it is stored. If you use a car cover, put it on while the car is clean and dry to protect against dust and possible scratches. DO NOT cover your car with plastic or one of those blue tarps you get at the hardware store, It only traps moisture. Trapping moisture between the finish and a piece of plastic will make the paint bubble and rust will begin to form.

Take your vehicle for a drive and get everything warmed up before you park it. By getting your car up to operating temperature it helps to burn off contaminants in the oil and it also gets rid of moisture in the crankcase and the exhaust system. NOTE: Don't start your car during the winter unless you plan to drive it or allow it to get up to normal operating temperatures. "Short running" the engine will allow moisture to build up in the crankcase and exhaust system.

Change your oil and oil filter. Fresh oil will protect the internal parts of your engine better because there are less hydro-carbons and other contaminates in fresh oil. If you would rather change your oil in the spring, be sure to do it as soon as possible after you get the car out of storage.

Check and fill all major fluids, including brake fluid, clutch fluid reservoir (5-speed owners) and supercharger oil (On SC's). Also be sure your antifreeze is clean and fresh to avoid the cooling system from freezing or possible corrosion.

Fill the gas tank just before you park the car for the winter. (This will help prevent moisture from condensing inside the tank). Remember, premium unleaded gasoline without alcohol is the only thing you should use in your SC's. If you are not planning to visit your car during the winter, be sure to add a good fuel stabilizer.

Remove the battery and keep it charged. When storing a battery you should keep at as close to room temperature as possible and it should be kept off of the floor so that it doesn't discharge. Store it on a wooden shelf or on a large block of wood (a piece of 4x4) several inches off of the floor to keep it from discharging.
Put steel wool or rolled up scotch-brite pads in the tailpipes and also in the air-intake openings to keep mice from using your car as a food pantry.

On cars with 4 and 5-speed transmissions you can place a board on the clutch pedal rod to partially depress it, that helps to avoid the risk of the clutch and flywheel rusting together. (If you are only storing the car for a few months this really shouldn't be necessary). Never set the parking brake. The brake shoes or pads could stick to the drums or rotors or the cables could rust or freeze up during storage.

If you store your car off of the ground, (on jack stands), the stands should be under the suspension. If not, damage to the shocks and other suspension parts can occur.

If you store your car on the ground be sure to over-inflate the tires slightly. Five to 15 pounds should be enough. Even tires that are new or in good condition can lose around one or two pounds of pressure per month. When you get your car back out in the spring, re-check the pressures to insure against tire damage. Put a moisture-absorber, like baking soda, inside the car to keep mildew from starting inside the cars interior. (From mildew come mold, from mold comes a new interior). If you store your car inside a heated area leave the windows opened about 1/4 to 1/2 inch to allow the air to circulate.

Do NOT treat inside surfaces with Armor-All (or similar) products before storing your car. They contain a lot of water and chemicals that can encourage mildew and mold. (I did the dash on my Chevelle one time before I stored it and it took all of the next summer to get that musty smell out of the car). Mouse traps or poisons placed around the car is also a good idea, BUT be sure that your dogs and cats can't get to it. Place them around the car every several feet. Leave your sun visors down so it is more difficult for mice to get into the headliner if they do get into the car. NOTE* Mothballs will repel some pests, but the smell stays in the car for a long time. Don't put them IN your car. Bars of soap placed in an open plastic butter tub or coffee can in the trunk and front and back floorboards work good too. They smell a lot better too.

Always store your car on a vapor barrier like a large piece of plastic. Try not to store your car where vehicles will be coming in and out during the winter months. They bring moisture in with them. If you are like me, (somewhat forgetful), make notes and leave them on the front seat or tape them to the windshield to remind you what needs to be done in Spring to get the car ready for the summer season.

Lastly, be sure you have plenty of photos of your car to look at all winter. Otherwise you'll go nuts by the time you get to drive it in the spring. It also helps if you have some racing games on your computer!!!

CMac89
10-22-2005, 01:01 PM
Everything mentioned about rust isn't true if it's in a garage, especially if the garage is heated. You can tell what's necessary and what isn't if you just think about it.

Changing oil isn't a bad idea. About driving it around and parking it warm it all depends on the temperatures when you store it. I would start it and get it up to operating temperature once a week or two.

dirtybird91
10-22-2005, 05:01 PM
You guys are invaluable! :cool:

Mike8675309
10-22-2005, 08:05 PM
Trying to get one opinion on how to store a car is going to be tough. Some pretty much universal things though:

Store it with a full tank of fuel. It will help to prevent condensation.
If at all possible make sure the tank and lines are full of non-oxyginated fuel and a fuel stabilizer. I don't believe MTBE is used anymore, so most oxygenated fuel has ethly alcohol in it. This stuff attracts moisture and could promote corrosion. It also will seperate from the gas which could lead to performance issues when you first get it out of storage.

Take the battery out and store it inside somewhere that's temperature controlled and keep it charged. It'll freeze for sure if left outside. If the car is going to be in a temperature controlled area, disconnect the battery and charge it evey month.

After my transmission was rebuilt, I was told that I should run the car once a month and run the trans through the gears to get it warmed up a bit and get the fluid flowing. If it sits for a while in one place, the part of the seal that doesn't have oil on it (from it settling) can get dry and stiff.

Some people like to change the oil before storing, others like to change the oil after. I don't know that it matters all that much unless the oil is just filthy and you don't want to store it like that as it'll have stuff in it that could corrode inside the motor.

If left outside, I don't know that a cover will help. If it's sheltered, a cover can help with dust which can be abrasive. Just make sure the cover can let moisture pass through it so that it doesn't trap condensation.

I've heard that Bounce or similar perfumed dryer sheets work well when placed around the ouside of the car or under the cover to keep rodents away. Under the hood as well.