How do I….Prepare my summer car for storage?
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Sad to say, but the warm and sunny days when we can enjoy our favourite sports cars, bikes, or muscle cars are coming to an end. It’s nearly time for our beloved summer toys to hibernate.
It’s possible that you’re new to this and have never faced storing a vehicle for months at a time. Fortunately, the basics apply regardless of type.
Where you’re storing the vehicle matters a good deal. Obviously, climate-controlled indoor storage is best, in the open outdoors (especially over grass or dirt) is worst and should be avoided. An enclosed garage is a suitable option for most of us.
Batteries in all vehicles will discharge over time (they’ll naturally do it even sitting on a shelf), but anything with so much as a clock in it will hasten the process. Leaving the battery in the vehicle, connected and attached to a maintenance charger (like a Battery Tender) is preferable. Keeping the battery maintained and in a safe warm place is good; in place and disconnected is the bare minimum.
Adding fuel stabilizer, filling the tank, and running or driving the vehicle briefly prior to parking will reduce fuel deterioration and moisture contamination.
If your coolant is old, consider flushing it prior to storage rather than waiting for spring, in order to reduce internal corrosion while sitting.
Indoors or out, covering (or not) is a personal choice. If yes, a cover sized and intended for the purpose should be used. Tarps can mar finishes and trap moisture, and any covering allowed to flap will cause damage.
I leave my windows up to keep out bugs and other unwanted guests, and I throw a few dryer sheets under my seats to keep the interior smelling fresh.
Opinions differ on tire pressures and putting the vehicle on stands; I prefer no stands to facilitate moving my car outside on a nice day (to safely run it or free up workspace).
Note that some high-performance tires will be damaged if driven on at all in below freezing temperatures, so mind those sunny-day excursions!
Brian Early is a longtime Wheels contributor and a Red Seal automotive technician with over 25 years experience.