Unless you’re a terrible procrastinator, you’ve probably already put your classic car or summertime plaything into hibernation for the winter. If not, and if you live in a northern climate, it is high time that you do.
I’ve culled the following winter storage tips from a variety of sources. You may wish to modify the list to suit your own situation but it is helpful to print the list of your storage steps and leave it on the front seat of the car to remind yourself to reverse those items which need to be reversed (i.e. over-inflating the tires or stuffing steel wool in the tail pipe and air intake).
It is not necessary, or even desirable, to run your car for short periods during winter storage. Doing so can introduce moisture to the engine and exhaust system and shorten the life of components. Once your car is fully prepped for storage, do not touch it again until you are ready to take it out in the Spring.
• Wash & wax the exterior and thoroughly clean the interior.
• Check antifreeze for cleanliness & strength. If replacing it use a 50/50 mixture, antifreeze & water.
• Change oil & filter.
• Add STA-BIL Fuel Stabilizer additive to gasoline following directions on bottle, then fill fuel tank, drive at least a few miles to draw additive into fuel system.
• Loosen gas cap to release any pressure on the fuel system, then re-tighten cap.
• Removing the battery is optional, depending on how long the car will be stored. (If you are storing the car at a remote site away from your home, removing the battery will act as a minor theft deterrent.) Store the battery in a cool dry location, off of concrete floor and attach a smart charger to keep it charged and conditioned.
• Inflate tires to 45-50psi to prevent flat spots or remove tires and mount a cheap set of substitute tires (“donut” spares work well for this).
• To prevent rusting of the brake rotors, remove wheels and wipe both sides of the rotors with a cloth or shop rag sprayed with WD40.
• Place steel wool in the tail pipe and air intake snorkel to keep critters out.
• On convertibles, loosen the top latches to relieve the strain on the top and roll down side windows 1/2 inch or so to remove pressure on the top gasket seals.
• To ward off critters, place a container of Irish Spring soap, shredded or shaved, in containers inside the cabin. Some sources recommend fabric softener dryer sheets, instead. Moth balls are said to be effective but will impart an odor to the interior that will never go away.
• Cover with a high quality car cover, an old sheet or blanket.
• Pray for an early Spring.