Before you put your classic car in storage for the winter

By |2018-01-15T18:33:02-05:00October 5th, 2006|Guides|

Winter will be here before you know it, and wild animals won’t be the only ones going into hibernation. This is the time of year the majority of classic car owners put their “babies” to bed as well.
Whether you have an old Thunderbird, Chevelle, Dodge Coronet or some other classic, you’ll want to make sure it’s protected from the elements during the winter months. Just putting a cover over it in the garage is not enough.
Offer your car adequate protection by following these expert tips:
* Find a clean, dry building to store your vehicle.
* Replace oil. Moisture and acids in old oil will pit bearings and other engine parts while in storage. Run the engine to warm the oil first. More of the dirty oil and contaminants will come out if it’s warm. Add the oil type recommended by the vehicle’s manufacturer.
* Stabilize Fuel. Fuel can deteriorate in as little as 60 days, causing gum and varnish build-up in engines and resulting in hard starting, poor performance and reduced engine life. Add STA-BIL Fuel Stabilizer to fuel to prevent fuel deterioration. STA-BIL is available in automotive and hardware stores nationwide. Log on to to find a list of authorized retailers.
* Next fill fuel tank. A full tank prevents water condensation from getting in the tank and causing corrosion. (Draining fuel does not prevent varnish formation in engines, as fuel is left behind in the fuel system. Plus gaskets can dry out, resulting in leaks in the spring.) Run the engine for a few minutes to get treated gas throughout system. Running the engine will also circulate fresh oil to internal parts. If you use your car infrequently, stabilize the gas at each fill-up.
* Antifreeze. If it is near the time to change your antifreeze, do it prior to storage. Antifreeze contains additives that prevent corrosion to internal radiator components. These additives wear out over time and need to be replaced.
* Transmission fluid. Check transmission fluid levels. If it’s time to change transmission fluid, do so before storage because transmission fluid contains anticorrosion additives that deplete over time.
* Disconnect battery. Remove the negative battery cable to prevent the battery from draining, or connect a trickle charger to the battery. Better yet, remove the battery and store in a cool, but not freezing, location connected to a trickle charger.
* Protect Finish. Wash, wax and cover with a car cover. Be sure to use a cover that can breathe, otherwise mold will develop in the interior.
* Protect Tires. If storing your car for more than 12 months, remove weight from the tires by placing the car on jack stands (This prevents flats spots from forming on tires). Apply a protectant to tires to prevent rot.
* Parking Brake. Do not apply the parking brake during storage as it may become rusted to the brake drum. For manual transmissions, leave the gear in neutral. Use car stands or wheel chokes to keep the car from rolling.
* Mildew prevention. Place moisture absorption tubs or desiccant tubes in the vehicle interior and trunk to prevent mold and mildew growth.
* Protect Rubber. Apply a rubber protectant to weather stripping to prevent rot.
* Protect interior. Remove valuables. Remove any food or food packaging that could attract vermin. Place mothballs in the interior and trunk to repel rodents.

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BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.