The reality of winter storms looming just around the corner means it’s time for many of us to store our Classic Cars for the next few months. Classic cars require a little extra care when it comes to winter storage, and while it might be a time-consuming process, it is vital to help ensure easy starting and no expenses come springtime. Taking the time now to properly store your car will save time and money in the long run, and might even prevent some expensive damage and repairs. The following are ten tips from Heacock Classic that car owners should take before storing their vehicles during the winter:
- Detail the vehicle.
It’s important that the vehicle is clean and dry with wax and surface cleaners before being tucked away. Don’t forget the underside while washing, and be sure to protect the chrome as well. The deluxe job includes the trunk, cleaning the glass, shampooing the carpets, and protecting the rubber areas of the car so they don’t crack in the cold weather. Consider using a dessiccant bag inside.
- Replace the engine oil.
When in use, owners should change the oil per their manufacturer’s recommendations, but it’s important to store a car with clean, fresh oil, even if it was recently changed. Old oil contains contaminants, like moisture and acids, which will pit bearings and other engine parts. Be sure the vehicle is warmed up well before changing the oil, so contaminants are flushed away.
- Lubricate everything.
Be sure wheel bearings are up to snuff, and hit all the zerk fittings you can find on the steering components and suspension. Oil the door hinges, the trunk and hood, too, to help keep pivot points from seizing up.
- Stabilize the fuel.
Before you store, first add fuel stabilizer -1 oz. to every 2.5 gallons of gasoline for STA-BIL® Brand. Then fill the tank 95 percent full of fresh fuel, allowing the fuel stabilizer to mix with the fresh fuel. Drive the car for a few minutes to make sure the stabilized fuel is pulled into the carburetor and the injectors.
There is still some confusion among some Classic Car owners who think draining their fuel tank will help protect their engine, but it’s impossible to fully drain your fuel system. The remaining tiny droplets of fuel are exposed to air, which in turn creates gum and varnish buildup and corrosion on the walls of your system. The build-up can develop in key places that can lead to a variety of engine problems come springtime.
- Check the coolant.
Verify that the radiator is filled with the correct mix of coolant and water, or you could end up with ice in your cooling system. If you aren’t sure about the proper mixture, check the coolant label instructions for the temperature range you may encounter and exceed it.
- Prepare the Battery.
Run a trickle charger, either in the car or not, but Safety First – always use eye protection when working on a battery! If you remove it, clean off the terminals with water and baking soda, then rinse with distilled water. Store the battery in an unfrozen dry place off the ground (never on concrete), and attach a trickle charger.
- Tend to the Tires
Avoid flat spotting by either lifting the tires off the ground on jack stands, overinflating them for storage, or simply allow for room to start the car and move it once a month. Any of them will work, but remember – the car on jack stands is immobile in case of an avoidable emergency. Clean and dress the tires and wheels.
- Reject the rodents
Plenty of home remedies here – with Bounce dryer sheets, Irish Spring soap, and ultrasonic devices leading the pack. Of course, cats (of all kinds) and dogs (Rat terrier, of course) always work, and even rubber snakes and traps with Certs glued to them were praised. Products like FreshCab, TomCat, and even bay leaves have worked, but it seems only the CarBag was 100% effective.
- Remove the Obvious
Open the glove box or any other small, dark places a mouse would like to live. Some even suggest opening the hood – after disabling the trouble lamp. Steel wool in the tailpipe keeps them out of that end, and dryer sheets and a cover over the intake manifold to keep them out of the airbox.
- Store in a safe location.
Make sure to store your Classic Car in a locked, secure facility that is dry and has limited light exposure. Check doors and windows for security and water-tight seals. Use a motion alarm or security camera where possible, and always check and double-check all locks. Most important – visit your car often, keep an eye on things, and most likely, you’ll fire right up in the spring.
You care for your vehicle and want it protected through rain, snow, sleet, hail by trying to avoid all of the above. Let us show you how we are more than just another collector vehicle insurance company. We want to protect your passion! Click below for an online quote, or give us a call at 800.678.5173.