Winter Car Storage - How to Winterize a Vehicle for Storage
A little bit of snow on your car throughout the winter is expected. You dig out your brush and scraper and clear it away, and then wash your car regularly to rinse away the road salt or sand.
But what if you’re hanging up your car keys for the winter? The last thing you want to do is leave your vehicle sitting out in snow, sleet, ice, cold temperatures, and other winter elements.
Whether you’re putting your classic car away for the winter months, switching over to an older “winter” car instead of putting the miles on your nicer “summer” ride, or you simply don’t like driving on ice and snow, having a winter car storage plan in place is critical in order to keep your car running properly and to avoid rust or other physical damage.
With that in mind, here are 6 things to consider when it comes to properly winterizing your car for storage.
Wash and Detail Your Vehicle
Ideally, you’re keeping your car or truck clean throughout the year, but one of the most important items when it comes to winter car storage is starting with a properly cleaned vehicle.
On the exterior, give it a thorough wash. Don’t forget to check those nooks and crannies, like the insides of your wheels and up and under your bumpers and fenders.
Inside, a thorough vacuum should be considered the bare minimum before putting your car away. Give your dash, seats, and all other surfaces a proper wipedown, as well.
If in doubt, consider getting your car detailed by a professional, who can take both the interior and exterior work off your hands and ensure your vehicle is spotless before it heads to storage—and therefore all ready for you when you bring it back out.
Top off all Fluids
In a similar vein, the last thing you want when you take your car or truck back out of storage is to start with an empty gas tank or to make your first trip a drive to the store to fill up on washer fluid.
Going straight in for an oil change doesn’t sound like much fun, either, so get that changed or change it yourself, even if your car isn’t necessarily due for its next change.
On top of that, some other fluids you’ll want to check are antifreeze and brake fluid.
Also, depending on whether your storage area is heated or not and how long you are planning to keep your car there, you’ll want to consider cold weather-specific fluids and/or long-term stabilizers or additives.
But don’t just park your car in storage and then top everything off. Fill the fluids, take a quick trip to circulate them, and then your car is all set for winter storage!
Perform Other Routine Maintenance
Just like making sure your fluids are all in good shape, you’ll want to make sure that all your equipment remains in good working order.
That starts with the tires. Unused tires can tend to deflate over time. And even the slightest deflation could lead to flat spots and eventually untimely tire repair or replacement. So before storing your car for winter, make sure all your tires are inflated to the maximum PSI recommendation.
This would also be a good time to double-check that all headlights, taillights, and turn signals are working.
And while you’re giving your car or truck a winterization once-over, check in on your wiper blades, as well.
Take Care of Your Battery
We could have included this under the maintenance section but figured your car’s battery deserves its own mention.
Letting your car battery sit plugged in but unused for a prolonged period of time will have it losing its charge.
Instead, consider disconnecting it or getting a trickle charger.
If your storage space has an electrical outlet, hooking your battery up to a trickle charger will make sure it remains charged over time and is ready for use when you’re ready to get driving again.
If you don’t have a wall outlet at your disposal or don’t want to purchase a trickle charger, disconnecting your battery and storing it in a warm space is probably your next best option.
Should you use a car cover? If you search that on Google, you’ll come up with all kinds of answers.
If you’ve followed the washing and waxing tips above, you shouldn’t have any issues when it comes to using a cover to further protect your car.
If you choose not to cover your car, consider at least covering and/or closing any points of entry. Shutting vents and using something like steel wool to close off your tailpipe will ensure you don’t find an unwanted “pet” taking shelter in your vehicle.
Got the Perfect Storage Spot?
All of these winter car storage tips and plans could be rendered useless if you haven’t carefully picked the right spot to store your vehicle.
For certain, you need a secure, dry, well-maintained space. And beyond that, find somewhere with any additional amenities (like if you need electrical for that trickle charger!) that you need.
FOX DEN STORE-IT offers a wide range of different-sized storage units, including some with electricity or higher doors. We provide secure, 24-hour access. Our units feature raised floors with sealed concrete, and sloped access roads to prevent any standing water.
Think we’re a fit for your winter car storage, or need more tips on how to properly winterize your vehicle? We’re here to help. View our locations to find winter car storage near you!