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Winter Car Storage: Protecting Your Ride from the Cold



Winter Car Storage

Photo by Paul Cisneros on Unsplash

Winter is just around the corner, and without the proper preparation, the cold weather and extreme conditions could wreak havoc on your vehicle. Knowing how to manage your car in snowy and icy weather is one thing, but taking care of it when it’s not on the road is just as important.

Thankfully, there are plenty of helpful steps you can take to protect your ride from the cold each winter, ensuring it remains in optimal condition no matter how chilly it gets.

Proper storage and the right transportation methods are key when it comes to safeguarding your investment, preventing winter-related damages, and preparing for the road when spring rolls around.

Preparing Your Vehicle for Storage

If you have a summertime car or a vehicle that’s not meant for winter conditions, you probably store it away when the weather gets cold. But, if you’re just pulling it into the garage or putting a tarp over it, it could still get damaged or end up not working properly when you try to start it up again.

Some of the best practical ways to protect your ride, especially if you plan on storing it for a long time, include:

  • Wash it before storing it so it’s free of salt, dirt, and anything else that could erode the paint or metal.
  • Keep your storage space properly sealed and clean so pests don’t get in and make a meal of your vehicle or use it as a warm place to make a nest.
  • Fill your tank with gas to prevent moisture buildup.
  • Inspect and change fluids and filters as needed.
  • Make sure your tires are properly inflated so the cold doesn’t damage them.
  • Remove and store your car battery elsewhere.

If you can’t park your vehicle in a garage or shed, the next best thing is to cover it tightly. Use plastic sheeting or a heavy tarp that covers the entire car so moisture doesn’t come up from the ground. In addition to covering the vehicle, block the wheels to ensure it stays in place, especially if you’re parked on a slope. Avoid putting the parking brake in place, because it could end up rusting there if moisture is allowed inside.

Preventing Winter-Related Damages

If you still plan on driving your vehicle throughout the winter, maintenance is the key to keeping it safe on and off the road. That starts with maintaining your garage or wherever you keep your car when it’s not in use. Seal any cracks, get rid of any debris, and make sure the interior of your storage space isn’t exposed to snow, wind, or moisture.

When it comes to vehicle maintenance, the first thing you should do is have your car serviced for winter conditions by a professional. That might include things like topping up fluids, changing filters, and installing winter tires.

Throughout the winter, you’ll improve the longevity of your vehicle in storage and make driving safer by keeping the gas tank at least half-full, keeping your washer fluid full, and maintaining tire pressure. Cold temperatures can quickly cause the air inside your tires to condense. While no air is technically leaking out, it can reduce tire pressure. Low tire pressure can weaken the traction of your vehicle, making driving on snowy or icy roads even more dangerous. In worst-case scenarios, it can also blow the tire, and the last thing you want is to be stranded on the road in the winter or step out into the garage to see one of your tires has gone flat.

Transporting Your Vehicle for Storage

If you don’t have the space to store your car at home, plan ahead to transport it to a safe location properly. Create a stable base with a trailer to ensure things don’t shift while you’re loading your car. Use the right trailers and hitches to accommodate your towing vehicle, and make sure everything is properly balanced and the weight is distributed evenly so things don’t move while you’re transporting.

When you’re transporting your car to a different location, you might not always have control over how well that storage space is maintained. So, choose your spot wisely! If you’re storing in a commercial garage or public storage space, look for obvious signs that repairs are needed, like sagging door panels, odd noises, or damage to the garage doors. Your car is a major investment, so take your storage solutions seriously to keep it protected.

Whether you drive your vehicle all winter or not, taking proper care of it, especially when it’s not in use, is essential for its performance and longevity. Regular maintenance isn’t something you should put off until spring, or you could risk it not starting up or running properly. Keep these storage tips in mind to make sure your care is safe all winter and runs like a dream whenever you’re ready to hit the road.

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