How to store a classic car over winter

Alfa Romeo racing rally snow

How to store a classic car over winter or for a long term

You must have read a lot of articles about how to store your car over the winter, here is a good summary adding up all the info available. What is mainly required is common sense.

Before storing it

    1.    Be aware leaving a cherished classic car unused can do more harm than running it through the winter. All machinery works best when it is used. Even the simplest motorbike suffers in storage, and complex cars can be a nightmare.
    2.    Avoid driving on salty roads anytime, particularly if it has snowed or rained. This brine and salt mix is certainly dangerous for paintwork, alloy wheels and it helps corrode the underside of the vehicle, modern and classic alike. This will save you some money with some restoration.
    3.    It's not just the corrosion you need to worry about; perished rubber and leather, sticking brakes and clutches, flat-spotted tyres and varnished carburettors or fuel injectors can be equally vexing.
    4.    If possible, try to drive the car at least once a month and take it for a short stroll to bring the engine to full operating temperature, making sure all the fluid inside the car get used too. 
    5.    If you can't and the car is being stored for a long time, remove the spark plugs and pour a tablespoon of Redex into each cylinder. Then turn the engine over to ensure everything gets coated and put the plugs back. 
    6.    Even if you do this, monthly, you should always still turn on the engine over occasionally to prevent the compressed valve springs from becoming permanently shortened and to move the oil around the engine and gearbox. You should also pump the clutch pedal occasionally to stop the friction plate sticking to the flywheel. And keep doing visual checks of any possible fluid leakage or possible punctures.

Choosing the right storage

    1.    The ideal storage should be a dry and airy garage or a car bubble where humidity is controlled due to the dry airflow blowing around. 
    2.    Brick and wood garages are preferred to concrete ones as it tends to sweat on very cold weather. If you keep them in a bubble that is irrelevant though as long as it is a covered.
    3.    If the car remains stored on a bubble, the use of a car cover is not necessary.

How to store the car

    1.    Pump your tyres to the right pressure to avoid an unwanted flat-spotting.
    2.    Oil, filter and coolant changes are desirable. Old engine oil can contain contaminants that damage the engine if left to sit for long periods of time. Check your handbook for the manufacturer’s recommended oil too. It’s also good to swap your oil and air filters at the same time.
    3.    Any unpainted metal parts under your car can be painted with special product that prevent rust, but please, always avoid spraying belts, hoses and braking surfaces.
    4.    Clean the body of the car and apply wax. Don’t polish the car, leave the wagon as will protect the body agains corrosion.
    5.    Fill the tank with premium fuel and add some additives for mainly 2 reasons a) the fuel lines don’t get clogged and b) as modern fuels tend to go off very quickly, in the past, you had to drain all the fuel and replace it with paraffin in order to prevent rust in the tank. Nowadays there are a number of fuel preservatives that promise to ward off corrosion, oxidation and keep the fuel in grade. 
    6.    Top up the anti-freeze liquid too, then run the engine so it gets circulating and moving into the system too.
    7.    Don’t leave the hand brake on. By doing that you risk fusing the brake pads to the discs. Instead, use tyre stoppers to prevent the car from rolling.
    8.    In order to make sure you can start the engine whenever you require, unplug the battery so that there is no drainage possible from any electrical part of the car. You can also get a trickle charger if you don’t want or can’t unplug the battery but requires having a plug close by to make it work. Classic cars tend to have little electrical needs when switched off, so a smart charger is not usually required. 
    9.    Unplugging a battery it is recommended if the car is going to be unused for 3 months or more. Remember unplugging the battery it is a cheap and effective anti theft system.
    10.    As a final advice, you should write down all the steps you’ve taken on a notepad, so when the time comes to restart your car in the spring, you won’t accidentally end up damaging it by, for example, forgetting to pull out the rag you’ve left in the exhaust.

We hope you can have a great next spring driving with your immaculate classic car.
Picture thanks to stevemckelvie.wordpress.com

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