While you might still be squeezing in those last few pre-winter rides with your most prized set of wheels, remember that storing a car for the winter means more than just throwing a sheet over it and locking it in the garage. Keep these 10 tips in mind as you prepare to put away your sports car or antique car for the winter:
- Find the right place to store your car. Whether you have space in your own garage or you plan on taking your car to a storage facility, be sure to:
- Avoid locations with excess moisture. Your vehicle probably doesn’t need to be stored in a climate-controlled space, but too much moisture can lead to rust.
- Store your vehicle on a level concrete or asphalt surface. Don’t store it on gravel or bare earth, as both can expose it to extra moisture and other contaminants. It could also sink into the ground if it’s left for an extended period of time.
- Top up all of your vehicle’s fluids. Condensation can form when there’s empty space inside your vehicle’s fluid tanks for an extended period of time, and this can lead to corrosion and other issues. It’s essential to fill up on fuel, antifreeze, windshield washer fluid, and brake fluid, then take your car for one last spin to get the fluids circulating before you store it. If your storage space isn’t heated, be sure to use winter-appropriate antifreeze and windshield washer fluid. You should also use a fuel stabilizer to extend the life of the fuel for long-term storage and protect your gas tank and gas lines.
- Protect your car from pests. This means closing all air vents and blocking your exhaust pipe with steel wool to keep small animals and insects from getting in and making themselves at home. You can also try placing mint leaves or mothballs around your vehicle to deter pests.
- Give it a good wash, inside and out. Loose crumbs or food wrappers can attract pests, so be sure to remove all garbage and give the inside a good vacuuming. Don’t forget to clean the wheels, inside the wheel wells, and under the fenders and mud flaps, then give your vehicle enough time to dry before you put it in storage.
- Consider a professional detailing. Most professional car cleaning services will be able to help you prepare your vehicle for a season in storage. They can also apply wax, which can help protect the paint from corrosion.
- Keep the interior dry and odour-free. Consider placing silica gel packs or another desiccant (dryness-promoting) product inside your car to prevent dampness from settling in. You can also place a container of baking soda on the floor inside your car to absorb odours and prevent the air from going stale.
- Get an oil change shortly before storing your vehicle. Even if you’re not due for an oil change, it’s a good idea to get this done. As oil gets used, corrosive materials can build up in it and eventually start corroding your engine if they sit in your tank for too long. After your oil change, be sure to drive around long enough for the engine oil to reach its full operating temperature.
- Inflate your tires to prevent flats. When vehicles are stored over the winter, the tires can deflate, resulting in flat spots. To prevent this, inflate your tires to the maximum pressure rating recommended by the manufacturer. You should also make sure the tires are cold when you fill them so you get an accurate reading.
- Protect your wiper blades. Prop up your wiper blades or wrap them with cloth to keep them in tip-top shape and avoid leaving marks on your windshield.
- Contact your car insurance broker to ask about potential savings on insurance while your vehicle is in storage. You may be able to reduce the cost of your car insurance by making some changes to your coverage until you’re ready to drive your car again. If you do change any portion of your coverage while your vehicle is in storage, remember to get fully covered again before you pick it up in the spring.
Have questions about your insurance coverage and how it could change when you store your vehicle for winter? Reach out to your licensed car insurance broker for support. Or, if you’re shopping for insurance for a new vehicle, find a broker near you today.
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