Recently in this space, we looked at some of the reasons why classic car owners may or may not choose to store their vehicles away for the upcoming winter season. If you're among those who have chosen to go ahead with such winter storage, there are a few important things you'll want to be thinking about as you go about this process.
At Andersen Restoration Parts, we're happy to offer a wide range of parts and services for classic car restoration, including polyurethane kits, suspension kits, strut rod kits and many other options. Here are some general tips we can offer on how to approach winter storage for your classic car.
There's no single answer for when to begin the process of storing your classic car. Ultimately, it will depend on the type of weather you typically experience in your area and how long you intend to store the vehicle for this particular winter season. Generally speaking, though, most people wait until after the first hard frost has hit before they start preparing their vehicles for storage. This ensures that all moisture is out of the air and that the car is safe from the potential for moisture intrusion.
Once you have made the decision to begin winter storage of your classic car, there are a few basic preparations you'll want to make before actually placing it in its storage location. First and foremost, be sure all fluids are at proper levels in the car. This includes checking and filling the oil; topping off coolant, brake fluid and power steering fluid; and adding fuel stabilizer to the gas tank.
In addition, it's important to lubricate items such as the door latches, hinges and locks to prevent them from freezing. Many people also like to purchase a can of fogging oil that will coat the inside of their gas tanks prior to placing the vehicle in storage. This helps reduce condensation buildup inside the tank while you're away.
Another important liquid you should be thinking about here is fuel stabilizer, which is specifically designed to prevent the buildup of moisture in your gas tank. This can be especially important if you plan to store your classic car for several months at a time — in which case, it's best not to use any gas from the tank and replace it entirely with fresh fuel.
Lower Tire Pressure
You don't want to be putting undue wear and tear on your tires for the long winter storage period, so it's best to slightly lower the tire pressure. Aim to have it about 20% below standard operating conditions — which is something that can be easily done with a quality air compressor and gauge.
This will help you avoid an issue known as "flat spotting," which happens when the car is stationary for a long period of time on a flat surface. This can create an impression in the tire, which is actually quite difficult to remove once it appears — although you can do so with some effort using a deep tread rubber or dedicated wheel flattening tool.
Check the Battery
Another thing to consider when storing your classic car for the winter is checking and maintaining your battery — especially if it's of a type that doesn't have much drivability during the winter months. If you're not sure what kind of battery your vehicle has, check with your owner's manual or consult a professional.
In some cases, especially for older batteries in some classic cars, the prudent move will be to remove the battery for the winter and simply keep it on a trickle charge. This will help ensure you won't have any issues with the battery wearing out due to sitting unused in the cold for several months.
Keep Pests Out
As you're arranging the area where the vehicle will be stored, one important thing to take note of is the potential for pests. These can cause untold damage to the interior and exterior of your classic car over time — and nobody wants that.
There are a few different ways you can go about keeping rodents away from your vehicle during storage. One option is simply to place traps around the area where the vehicle will be stored, which will help you capture any potential intruders before they get inside and have a chance to do damage. You can also use mothballs or similar substances in an effort to repel pests from your classic car's storage space. These will work by giving off a strong odor that repels rodents, bugs and other creatures that may be interested in finding a place to set up camp for the winter.
While you're considering how to keep pests away from your classic car, another important factor to consider is weather — and in particular, rain or snow buildup on the vehicle itself. As such, it's wise to cover the car with a tarp that seals out moisture during storage. This will not only help prevent damage from moisture buildup, but will also typically make cleanup quite simple once you've done the necessary work of removing any varmints that may have taken up residence inside your car during the winter.
And as the winter progresses, it's important to periodically start up the vehicle — even if you're going to be doing so only for a few minutes at a time. This will help keep everything in working order, which will make it far easier to get the car back on the road once winter is over.
It's important to note that not all classic cars are suited for winter storage, as some may be better left out in cold weather. For example, if you have a classic car that is equipped with air conditioning or other climate-control systems, it's advisable not to subject this kind of vehicle to extended periods of cold storage.
For more on how to go about storing any classic car for the winter, or to learn about any of our restoration parts or services, speak to our team at Andersen Restoration Parts today.