Many classic and vintage car owners opt to hibernate their beloved cars once Fall has taken root. This allows them to avoid the worst of winter. It is important to remember that cars were designed for regular use, so leaving them inactive for too long could cause more damage than good.
You should take all precautions before you leave your beloved car in storage for winter. You might find that your car is rusty, moldy, has flat spots on the tires, or that it needs a new battery.
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Here is some advice from Ian Cushway, a VWHeritage classic car enthusiast, on how to keep your car in top shape.
Tip 1 – Get it Clean
There are important tasks to do before you put your beloved vehicle into storage for winter. High pressure water jets will remove all traces of dirt and mud that can cause corrosion in the most difficult to reach places. After the water jet has been turned off, the car can be taken for a final drive to remove any remaining moisture.
To protect the paint from damage caused by airborne pollutants, wash and dry. Chrome bumpers can be treated with Vaseline, or chrome polish.
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Tip 2 – Change your oil
Before you store your car for winter, make sure to fill it with new oil. Old oil can cause engine corrosion due to corrosive chemicals.
It’s a good idea to add fuel stabilizer to your vehicle before you store it.
Tip 3: Animal and Moisture Proof
You should leave one window slightly open. Moisture that has been trapped in your car’s interior can condense and cause damage to the windows. You should not leave too many windows open as insects and other small animals may try to hibernate inside your hot rod.
When we talk about animal infestations, it is a good idea for your vehicle to be stuffed with a rag. Also, make sure to cover any openings where a mouse might nest. You can reduce the likelihood of rodents or mice living in your garage or parking lot by clearing out all clutter.
Silica, a water-absorbing mineral, is available in large quantities online at a reasonable price. They can keep your car’s interior dry for many months.
A heated and humidified garage might be the best option if you have a problem with moisture, such as a car that has real wood interior. For a small fee, your car can be stored at the local museum.
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Tip 4 – Invest in Good Cover
While a cover can be used to park your car in a garage or on the street, there are some limitations. Make sure to get a breathable cover for your car. Air-flow restricting covers can cause more damage than good. They can trap condensation on the paintwork.
An “instant garage”, a temporary structure (some inflatable), that offers protection for a fraction the price of a new building, is next best.
Tip 5: Use a battery charger and conditioner
You might be tempted just to remove the battery from your vehicle and forget about it. It is best to first disconnect your battery and then connect it to a charger/conditioner during storage. If you keep your lead-acid batteries fully charged, they will last longer.
Tip 6 – Give the Emergency Brake an Break
Keep in mind: If the handbrake is left on for too long, the pads/shoes could stick to the drum/brake rotors/drums. To stop it rolling, keep the handbrake off.
Tip 7 – Take care of your tires
Flat spots can develop when a vehicle is left sitting for long periods without moving. Flat spots can be prevented by putting the car on blocks to release the tire pressure.
Tip 8: Secure your Storage Area
Last but not the least, make sure your vehicle is secure and sound. You can prevent vandalism by parking your car in a well-lit place. You can prevent theft by “blocking” your vehicle with other cars by taking out the battery or taking off the steering wheel. To protect the wheels of your vehicle, you can use a few sets of unique lock to keep them safe (or even remove them entirely).