How to prepare your vehicle for storage

Porsche winter storage
Before you say goodbye to your summer ride for a few months, follow this winter storage checklist.

It doesn’t matter if you own an expensive sports car, a modest soft-top convertible or just something you don’t plan on driving for a while, there may be a situation when you might think about storing your car over the winter season. It isn’t quite as simple as just hanging up the keys for a few months — there are a few things, like the 10 tips listed here, that you should look into before doing so.

1. Fill up

Having a full gas tank stops moisture from collecting inside and also helps to keep the seals from getting dried out.

2. Get an oil change

Replace the dirty engine oil to prevent potentially harmful contaminants from settling in over time.

3. Tend to the battery

A vehicle that hasn’t been driven for months will be guaranteed to greet its owner with a dead battery. There are a couple of ways around this — you can unplug the negative cable, or install a battery tender that plugs into a standard household outlet and constantly provides a small amount of electricity keeping the charge topped up.

4. Pump your tires

Inflate the tires on all four corners to the recommended psi to stave off flat spots from developing where the rubber is contacting the ground.

5. Disengage the parking brake

Although the risk is minimal, there’s a chance the brake pads may not want to separate easily from the rotor after being in contact for a long time. To prevent the vehicle from rolling, use wheel chocks instead.

6. Plug any holes

Even without any prior evidence of uninvited animal guests living in the garage, there have been many documented cases of mice and other four-legged creatures turning an automobile into their home. Cover obvious entry points, i.e. a muffler opening, with something like steel wool.

7. Crack the window

To promote air circulation and cut down on moisture build up in the interior, roll down one of the windows a few centimetres.

8. Wash and dry

You don’t want dirt and grime embedding into the paint while the car sits for a long period. Give it a wash and let everything dry out before the next step.

9. Put a cover on it

Especially important if you have to store your prized possession in an open car park or completely outdoors, a waterproof car cover shields it from the elements, and assists with step six, as well.

10. Purchase insurance

Rather than let the insurance run out, change your policy to a less-expensive option designed for storage. This protects your investment from anything happening to it during dormancy like acts of nature or vandalism. 

Posted by Benjamin Yong

Benjamin Yong is a freelance journalist and communications professional living in Richmond, B.C. He is often found writing about cars and the auto industry, amongst other things, or driving around in his work-in-progress 1990 Mazda MX-5. Twitter: @b_yong Instagram: @popuplights