It’s that time of year, and things are starting to get a bit chilly. It’s about time to park your vehicle for the winter months. But first, there are a few things to consider before tucking your beloved hot rod away.
The experts at Steele Rubber Products have put together a list of helpful tips and tricks to protect your classic vehicle while it is stored. You may have your own rituals, but a few more couldn’t hurt.
For those of you living in warmer parts of the country, the checklist for winterization is fairly short. Remember to check the antifreeze, put a stabilizer in your fuel, and start it up once a week. If possible, it is advisable to drive it at least once a month. If you live in a place that rarely gets below freezing and almost never sees snow then this should be all you need to do.
If you live in colder climates, the winterization checklist can seem a bit daunting. But, it’s actually quite simple if you follow the simple steps below.
Official Winterizing Checklist:
- It is beneficial to wash your car before storage. Perhaps this is a good time to add a fresh coat of wax so as to avoid scratches from putting on and removing a car cover.
- Cover your vehicle with a soft, breathable fabric car cover.
- Make sure your car has a full tank of gas before storage. Parking it with a full tank will help prevent moisture that will contaminate your fuel.
- Add a fuel stabilizer to extend the life of the fuel. This is especially important with today’s ethanol fuel. More important than simply adding the stabilizer to your fuel tank though, is running the car to ensure the stabilizer makes its way into the fuel lines and carburetor or injectors.
- Make sure you change your oil and the filter to reduce the risk of contaminants that can potentially do damage to your engine while your car has a bit of downtime. Additionally, there are oil manufacturers that make oil specifically for vehicles that are often stored for long periods of time.
- Placing boxes of baking soda in the trunk, interior, and under the hood will help absorb moisture and eliminate odors.
- Close all your windows.
- Store your vehicle in a place that’s dry and dark. Somewhere with a concrete floor is preferred. This will help keep moisture away from your vehicle.
- Place drip pans under the engine, transmission, and differential to see if there is an accumulated leakage you are unaware of.
- Start the car once per week and keep it running for at least 10 minutes to avoid leaving any water in the combustion chamber and exhaust components.
- If you have to store your vehicle offsite, call your insurance company to make sure your coverage is valid at that particular storage location.
- Make sure you either unhook the battery and store it where it will not freeze. Avoid keeping the battery on concrete floors as it will discharger. Otherwise, you can place the battery on a trickle charger.
Of course, not everyone has the luxury of garage or climate-controlled storage for their hot rod. As such, you may have no choice but to keep it outside. Well, listed below are some specialized tips just for you.
Storing your vehicle outside:
- Keep the car covered and dry at all times. (This should go without saying.)
- Place a plastic barrier under your vehicle to keep the moisture from getting to it.
- Place carpet or plywood underneath the tires to keep them from sinking into the ground.
- If your vehicle will be exposed to freezing temperatures, make sure to remove any personal belongings that may freeze, burst, and make a mess.
- Put plastic bags on the air cleaner/air inlet and exhaust pipes to keep rodents out. (Thank us later.)
A few extra precautionary to-dos:
For those of you who are extra meticulous about preparing your vehicles for long storage, here are a few more tips to go above and beyond.
- Put rubber snakes in and around the car to discourage mice. (Okay, this one might be ridiculous, but it couldn’t hurt.)
- Put the vehicle on jack stands and remove the tires/wheels. Make sure to place the jack stands under the vehicle at lower suspension points and not on the frame or body. This way the suspension isn’t hanging.
- Put the tires in a sealed, black trash bag to reduce rubber breakdown due to sunlight.
- Put nitrogen in the tires to reduce the water absorption that tends to occur with compressed air,
It doesn’t take long to prepare your classic vehicle for winter hibernation, but it’s well worth it. These simple precautions are cheap insurance and can make all the difference in ensuring your ride is show-ready as soon as the warmer weather rolls around.
Steele Rubber Products not only has all the products you need, but they have the knowledge to get the job done. This check list was complied by them after all. Just check out their YouTube channel for a full library of how-tos and installation videos.
Until next time…