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The Car Coach: Ten steps to proper winter car storage

Written By | Nov 1, 2020
winter car storage, ten tips, the car coach

The Car coach

If you don’t drive your favorite convertible, sports car or classic in the cold, snow, and ice, proper storage can prevent problems that can be costly to fix. A storage mistake could lead to blemishes, rust on your paint job, mechanical problems, or even rodents taking up a new home in your tailpipe.

  1. Make sure your car is insured.

It’s important to protect your car with standard car insurance or classic car insurance, even when it’s in storage. There are several reasons to avoid letting your policy lapse even when you’re not driving the car.

First, a gap in coverage could cause your premium to increase once you’re ready to reinsure your car. Second, if something happens to your car while it’s in storage (such as fire, theft or rodents ) insurance can help cover the costs of repairs.

It’s a good idea to maintain your comprehensive coverage, as long as you don’t plan to drive your car, you can drop your collision coverage until you are driving again. Make sure that you update your storage location with the insurance company.

  1. Decide where to store your car.

If possible, store your car in dry location with a concrete floor, such as your garage or an indoor storage unit. Many self-storage facilities offer indoor and/or outdoor vehicle storage options. You can safely store your car in the elements for several months if you cover it properly, however, if you need to store your car for years, it definitely should be kept inside.

  1. Swap out fluids.

Leaving dirty, used oil in your car can cause engine damage. Therefore, if you plan to store your car for a month or more, have the oil changed. I highly suggest full synthetic oils as they don’t breakdown like regular oil.

  1. Fill up the tank.

Before storing your vehicle, use up most of the fuel, add StaBil then fill up the tank before storage. Topping off the tank keeps water out and seals lubricated. This will extend the life of your gasoline and stop potential damage known as “varnishing,” that can plug up your fuel injectors and cost hundred of dollars to clean.

  1. Protect your battery.

It’s best to have your stored vehicles on a trickle charger or battery maintainer. This inexpensive device helps your battery maintain power instead of gradually losing it over time. If you let it sit more than six months, you’re more than likely going to have a dead battery. Save yourself the hassle, and possibly the cost of towing, they typically cost around $40.

  1. Take care of your tires.

Tires can lose pressure over time when there are changes in temperature. Loss of tire pressure can lead to “flat spots” on the bottom of the tires. Flat spots can ruin your tires, requiring you to spend hundreds of dollars to replace them. To ensure your tires remain in good repair, you can remove them and use jack stands to hold your car off the ground.

  1. Keep critters away.

Put a rubber ball or rag in the tailpipe to prevent mice or insects from setting up shop there. Also, cover heater vents or other openings that could provide access to cozy nesting spaces. As a third precaution, place dryer sheets in the vehicle to drive away critters.

  1. Wash That Ride

Wash your car to remove bird droppings, tree sap or other substances that could damage your car’s paint. Make sure to clean the tires to get rid of dirt and grease as well. Apply a coat of wax to your car to protect its exterior while it’s stored. That way, in spring you’ll have a nice clean car, ready to go.

  1. Get a pad to soak up leaks.

Certain vehicles leak fluid while sitting, use cardboard or buy an absorbent mat designed to be placed underneath a car during storage to keep leaks from staining the driveway, garage or storage space floor.

  1. Cover your car.

Whether your car is sitting in your driveway, your garage, or a special storage facility, you should keep it covered while you’re away. Use a good quality car cover that breathes, not a plastic tarp that traps moisture. If your car will be stored outside, you’ll need a weatherproof car cover to protect it from rain, sleet, and snow.

Read More from The Car Coach – Lauren Fix

When spring arrives and it’s time to drive your car again, first, remove the ball or rag from your tail pipe. Disconnect the trickle charger and put that car cover in a safe clean spot.

Some people want the peace of mind that comes with extended warranties, so this is something you might want to consider unless the car is still under the manufacturer’s warranty or is a CPO vehicle. Do your research and check out places like

Don’t forget to check out our all-new website Car Coach Reports in English and Spanish.

There are more features, designed information that we cover in our video review. Check out the Car Coach Reports Ratings on this video before you buy any vehicle.

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Lauren Fix

Lauren Fix

Lauren Fix, The Car Coach®, is a nationally recognized automotive expert, analyst, author, and television host. A trusted car expert, Lauren provides an insider’s perspective on a wide range of automotive topics and aspects, energy, industry, consumer news and safety issues.