Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow: How to Winterize Your “Summer Fun” Car

How To Winterize Your Car

As the snow begins to fly, it’s time to say good-bye to the glorious days of summer driving fun. To keep your antique, collector or sports car in tip-top shape over the winter, follow these steps.

Store it Right. Protecting your car from the elements and keeping it at a relatively stable temperature are two excellent reasons to put your car in storage. You can store your vehicle in your garage, if you have room. If not, consider putting your car in a secure public storage facility. New facilities are popping up every day, so you’re sure to find one that fits your budget. If you have to leave your car outdoors, consider purchasing a weatherproof car cover to keep your vehicle clean and dry.

Talk to Your Insurance Agent. While storing your vehicle, you may be tempted to cancel your auto insurance to save money. However, that may be more costly in the long run because the gap in coverage could increase your insurance rate. Consult with your agent, who can recommend the appropriate coverages for your stored vehicle. With PDCM’s reasonable rates, you may want to keep collision and comprehensive coverage on your vehicle year round – especially if a nice day comes along and you’re itching to take a spin. 

Clean it Up. Bird droppings, insect remnants and water stains can damage your car’s paint, so it pays to remove them to keep your ride in top condition. Additionally, make sure all cups, cans, food and wrappers are removed from the inside of your vehicle. These items can attract rodents during the winter months.

 Seal it Off. Cover areas of your car where mice and other critters could get in, such as your exhaust pipe or air intake valve. Consider using steel wool, a cloth or aluminum foil.

Putting mothballs, dryer sheets or cotton swabs dipped in peppermint oil (mice find their smell disagreeable) are natural ways to keep these pests at bay. If you prefer, you can use mousetraps. 

Add Fuel Stabilizer. A fuel stabilizer can keep gas from breaking down over time, which can damage your carburetor or fuel injection components. Add the stabilizer prior to storing your vehicle so you can drive your car and get the additive mixed into the fuel system.

Fill the Tank. Keeping your gas tank full helps prevent moisture buildup and keeps the seals from drying out. Using a fuel stabilizer (see above) will keep the gas from deteriorating for up to 12 months and will keep ethanol from building up in the tank. A fuel stabilizer will also help prevent corrosion in the fuel lines and engine.

Inflate Your Tires. When storing your car, inflate your tires to the maximum PSI rating on the sidewall. Tires can slowly lose pressure over time and with temperature changes. You may also want to consider putting your car on jack stands at all four corners to take the weight off the tires and suspension and prevent getting flat areas on the tires. 

Remove Your Battery. Unused batteries will lose their charge over time, so it’s a good idea to remove the battery and store it in a warm room in your home to preserve battery life. (Cold batteries can freeze and may crack.) To keep your battery in good working order, consider buying a trickle charger – a device that hooks up to your car battery on one end and plugs into a wall outlet on the other. It delivers just enough electrical current to prevent the battery’s stored charge from going down.

 Disengage the Parking Brake. If the brake pads make contact with the rotors for too long, they might become fused to the rear brakes. Instead, place a wedge or block against the wheel to keep the car from moving.

Cover Your Car. A car cover can protect your vehicle from accumulating dust and dirt. Get a cover that’s breathable and keeps out moisture. Never use a plastic tarp, because it will scratch your vehicle’s paint.

That’s it. Your baby is protected. Your “summer fun” days will be back before you know it!


Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow: How to Winterize Your “Summer Fun” Car by
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