winter car storage

Time for an autumnal drive before winter car storage?

Now is the time to think about preparing for your winter car storage. Most enthusiasts will avoid using their cars in the winter months, and for good reason. Many older cars just weren’t built to last, so if they have survived for several decades it will be because they have been looked after and protected from the worst of what the elements can throw at them. Putting the damage done by not preparing for winter hibernation effectively can be expensive, and by the time it is discovered will then need fixing just when you want to be enjoying your Spring and Summer adventures.

Here’s the first part of our guide to preparing for winter car storage:

  1. Start a list. As you begin preparing your car to go away you will notice all sorts of things that you might want to think about sorting out or improving in the future, and the winter months are a great time to plan and think about implementing these tasks. Time spent focussing on your car is also a good time to realise what you’d like for Christmas!
  2. By giving the car a really good clean you’ll find any new chips and scratches that you’ve picked up, and be able to put them on your list . A good clean will remove any unseen contaminants that could damage your paint or chrome over time. A layer of polish will help protect everything too. And don’t neglect the interior, don’t leave any treats for moths, bugs or anything that might attract other wildlife hidden away under seats or in glove boxes. Why not treat any leather to a feed and woodwork to a polish too? And then find a soft, breathable cover to put over the car to keep the paintwork fresh and protected from dust, grit and sunlight. Is now the time to have a specialist clean and detail the car for you, perhaps? This can prove a very worthwhile investment as a specialist may pick up on things that you might miss.
  3. This is the perfect time to make sure that your engine oil is topped up, that the coolant level is right and that the antifreeze concentration is correct. ¬†Brake and transmission fluid levels should also be checked. Get your list out and make a note of what you’ve done, and then when the time comes to get back on the road after your winter car storage you can check see if anything has leaked away unnoticed.
  4. Modern fuel actually attracts water over time, risking condensation on the inside of fuel tanks, and the creation of a varnish-like substance as the fuel breaks down. This will coat the inside of fuel lines, carburettors and fuel injection components causing problems in the Spring. This is why your mower might not want to start on its first outing of the year . . . A good solution is to fill your tank with fuel and to add a stabiliser like Sta-Bil to the tank – running the engine for a while to make sure the protected fuel is drawn through the whole system.
  5. A battery conditioner costs far less than a new battery, and means your car will be ready to go when you want it to – this is the time to get one and plug your car in.
  6. And don’t forget to pump your tyres up once your car is in it’s winter location. Have a look for the maximum PSI rating on the sidewall, and pump them up to that. 40-50PSI is quite normal. This will help to prevent the tyres from developing flat spots whilst sitting. Don’t forget to make a note of this too, to remind yourself to deflate them to the correct pressure before use.