Winter is here. That means the holidays are just around the corner. It also means that you need to get ready for nail-biting winds, a snow-filled driveway and below freezing temperatures. Just like your house needs to be prepped for the winter, your car too needs some tender loving care before being stowed away in the garage during the chilly months.
After a home, most people tend to invest a significant portion of their savings on automobiles. Therefore, in order to increase the longevity of your four-wheeler, you need to take certain steps to protect it in the winter. Even if you’re planning on storing it in the garage.
Here are 10 steps to storing a car for winter:
Step 1: Check your tires
Even if your car’s equipped with all-season tires, you need to check the tread to make sure it’s not worn. Also, damaged tires need to be replaced ASAP.
Besides the tire’s tread, you need to check its pressure. During the winter, the pressure generally drops since the air is cool. Inflate your tires to the maximum PSI (pounds per square inch). If you don’t know what your tire’s maximum PSI is, just look at its side. They usually list it down there.
Step 2: Test your batteries
Storing a car for winter is incomplete without checking your batteries. Why? Because once the mercury dips, the temperature inhibits certain chemical reactions in your batteries. The result: You lose lots of battery power.
“At zero degrees, you lose 60 percent of your battery power,” Tom Cera, an AAA employee in Rockville told WUSA, “At 32 degrees you’ve lost 35 percent of the battery power. If you didn’t have 100 percent to start with it, it doesn’t leave you with much.”
So go to a mechanic to check your battery’s power and recharge it if need be. Keeping your car in the garage during winter is a good way to conserve some power. You can also remove the battery and stash it somewhere warm in the house.
Step 3: Maintain your car’s fluids
While it’s important to examine the tires and batteries, it’s equally essential to top off fluids when storing a car for winter. Keep your gas tank half full, add antifreeze if you’re living in a place that closely resembles the climate of Winterfell, and add fuel stabilizer.
Once you’ve done the needful, take the convertible for one last spin before placing a car cover on it (and, of course, saying goodbye!).
Step 4: Repair cracks on the windshield
Don’t forget the windshield. Cracks tend to worsen in cold weather, so always repair them before keeping it in the garage for a couple of months.
Step 5: Repair your garage door
Your garage is the best place to store your vehicle but in order to be completely sure everything is ok, there are some safety measures for keeping your garage door in perfect shape. Garage doors tend to malfunction or stop working altogether when the temperature drops. Wind, snow, and ice are a deadly combination for garage doors.
If your door is old, broken or the spring has stiffened (a common problem in the winter), then you might consider repairing it or buying a new one altogether. You can purchase fiberglass batt insulation from a hardware store and insulate the garage walls or opt for weather-stripping to seal your garage door and the opening.
If you want to keep the garage toasty during the winter, opt for a modern garage door and install a heater. It’ll prevent your car’s fluids from freezing and keep your car warm in chilly weather.
Step 6: Wash your car
Salt might be good for icy roads, but it isn’t good for your car. Slush and dirt tend to accumulate in even the sleekest pickups. Worse, rust tends to creep in cars during these frosty months.
Before storing a car for winter, it’s recommended by many mechanics, like Nick Burlow, owner of Isles Auto Repair, to wash your car. You don’t need to pamper your motor with a fancy wash. A simple cleansing in any car wash service will do.
Step 7: Wax your car
Remember your car’s enemy – rust? Even if you wash your car, the paint can get oxidized while it’s idling away in the garage. To truly prevent this and keep your car’s paint shiny, several winter car storage tips suggest putting a coat of polymer wax on it.
In fact, you can make a car wash and wax a family affair. Gather the kids and make it a fun afternoon. It’s better than hiding behind blankets all day!
Step 8: Clean the car’s interiors
Remove any and all junk from your car – sippy cups, mobile chargers, wrappers, half-eaten snacks, pen drives.
Step 9: Prevent pests from making it their home
Rodents love to make a warm, cozy four-wheeler their home till spring. So it’s pertinent that you set rat traps around the car. Unless you want to be greeted with chewed wires or worse, a dead rat, we suggest setting traps before storing a car for winter.
Step 10: Finally, cover your car
At last, the final step. Cover your automobile with a waterproof cover. There are ample custom-fit car covers available online. While it should wrap around your four-wheeler well, ensure that it’s breathable and keeps the moisture away
Do not use a plastic tarp since it can damage the paint.
So there you have it – 10 winter car storage tips. It’s never too late to start the process of stowing away your car and keep it safe in a long run.
Ran Keller is an experienced handyman who’s been working for EliteGarageWA for 10 years. When he’s not fixing garage doors, he likes to share his repairment ideas and knowledge with others.