Winter is Coming. Is Your Car Ready?
Autumn is the time for football games and apple cider. It’s the time the air smells like bonfires and sounds like the crackle of dry leaves. And if you’re the owner of a classic, exotic, luxury or muscle car, it’s the time you start to think about winter storage.
Like a sleepy bear, your car needs a place to hibernate for the cold months. It needs a place it can be kept safe, warm and dry… and your home garage or carport likely isn’t going to cut it. Read on to learn more about the pitfalls of exposing your vehicle to winter weather… and what you can do to be proactive as we head through the fall.
Winter Pitfall #1: The “Maple Syrup” Effect
The fluids in your car keep it running smoothly, but once it’s exposed to consistent cold temperatures, those fluids become more viscous. Like syrup, these liquids will gunk up your car’s inner workings pretty quickly. Starting the car and warming it up (which comes with its own host of issues) will help thin the fluids, but by then, it might be too late. Cold-thickened liquids can tear seals and cause big problems internally.
How to Avoid: Top off the fluids in your car before storage and be sure each is at the proper level. Ideally, storing your vehicle in a temperature-controlled facility is the best way to keep fluids at the right consistency.
Winter Pitfall #2: Rodent Hotel
Mice and other furry critters will soon be looking for a dry, warm place to spend the winter months. And if that place has a bunch of wires, upholstery and other expensive items to gnaw on, even better. In the winter, your sitting car becomes a sitting duck for rodent infestations. Neither barns nor garages are mice-proof, so don’t fool yourself into believing that putting a door between your car and nature is going to prevent an invasion.
How to Avoid: A fully-staffed, 24/7 storage facility is best for keeping critters at bay. However, if you have to have your car in a garage or outbuilding, make sure it’s prepped and ready to repel. Place steel wool in the exhaust pipe or intake valve, and consider placing moth balls or rodent repellent near the exterior of the vehicle (but only if you don’t have curious pets or children in the area).
Winter Pitfall #3: Unstable Gas
When you fill up your car, it’s typically because you plan to drive it in the near future. With a classic or luxury car, you may not get behind the wheel for months at a time, especially in the winter. However, fuel only remains stable for a period of one to three months. After that, the fuel breaks down and can cause major damage with the fuel injection or the carburetor.
How to Avoid: Wherever your car is stored, be sure to fill it up before you park it. Then, add a fuel stabilizer, which can often preserve the gas for as long as a year. Be sure to drive the car briefly before storing, so the stabilizer can mix with the fuel.
Winter Pitfall #4: Deflated Tires
Temperature can have a significant impact on tire pressure, especially during the winter, when the cold weather can often lead to a decrease in pressure. Sagging, deflated tires can cause some big problems, including a greater risk for flatspotting and wear on the tire.
How to Avoid: When preparing to store your car, inflate all tires to the maximum PSI indicated on the sidewall. If you’re in a temperature-controlled facility, your car can be regularly moved to help prevent flatspotting. If not, you can store the car on jacks or overinflate to help protect the tires.
Winter Pitfall #5: Moisture Troubles
Wind, salt and precipitation can all wreak havoc on your car, even if it’s inside a garage. Unless you’re willing to park it in your living room (or in, say, a secure storage facility), you can’t completely protect it from the elements. That means moisture may build up inside or outside the car, leading to mold or rust. If you think a cover is the answer to your problems, think again. Covers can trap moisture against the body of your car, causing surface damage. Wind can blow a cover around the car, leaving scratches and other body issues.
How to Avoid: Place baking soda inside your car to absorb moisture. Avoid covers, and be sure to wash and thoroughly dry your car before parking. Ideally, a storage facility with the appropriate humidity levels is best for preventing moisture damage.
At SILO Auto Club & Conservancy, we can help you address and avoid all of these pitfalls. Whether you’re interested in storing long-term, or only for the winter months, we can design a storage plan that’s just right for your needs! Contact us today at (317) 220-8373 or firstname.lastname@example.org