It’s been a mild November, probably one for the record books. If you’ve been holding off storing your car for the winter but expect to put it away in the near future, here’s a summary of the thinking on winter storage drawn from the many posts on the subject on the PCA website:
- Either pull your battery and store it in a warm place for the winter or use a trickle charger which will keep the battery charged to the optimal level. Don’t use a standard battery charger. If you use a trickle charger, make sure your storage space is well ventilated to prevent explosion of the hydrogen gas generated by the battery while it is charging.
- If possible, put your car on blocks or stands to elevate the tires off the ground to prevent flat spots that can develop as the car sits in one position for an extended period of time. Otherwise, over-inflating your tires can help- some posts recommend up to 50 PSI. Check your tire manufacturer’s recommendation for maximum tire pressure- that information should be on the tire. If possible, move your car a few feet now and then to change the section of tire that’s in contact with the ground.
- Start your car periodically? Most posts recommend doing so. Once a month should be enough. If you start your car, let it warm up thoroughly and run for a while to burn off any condensation that might be created. If your can is running, this might be a good time to move it the few feet mentioned above.
- Change your oil before you store the car for the winter rather than waiting until spring when the car returns to the road.
- Fuel stabilizers are not necessary if the car is only stored for the winter months. Porsche does not recommend them and some posts claim it upsets fuel chemistry.
- Virtually all posts recommend fully filling the gas tank before storage to prevent condensation. In the spring, run your car almost to empty and then fill with fresh fuel. A very small minority of posts suggest leaving little fuel in the car over the winter. These posts argue this small amount of fuel can be burned off quickly in the spring, allowing fresh fuel to be added sooner.
- Be aware of rodents that can chew wires and clog exhaust systems with nests. While no posts examined recommended dryer sheets, many car maintenance websites suggest placing dryer sheets throughout areas open to rodents. Steel wool can be used to block tail pipes.
- Check your insurance policy- some insurers provide “withdrawn from use” coverage. The car cannot be driven; but, it remains insured at a lower cost, providing an alternative to turning in the plates and re-registering the car in the spring.
Again, these recommendations are taken from PCA posts. Any additional recommendations or comments on the above suggestions will be appreciated- just leave a reply.
If you drive your car all winter, we’d love to hear about. Think about putting together a piece for the blog; or, just jot down a few notes and send them to the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll take it from there.