How to Prepare Your Car for Winter Storage

Any car guy dreads the winter season, and for good reasons. Most of use prefer to keep our babies in storage during the harsh winters, especially if we live somewhere that gets a lot of snow and ice.

To help with winter car storage, we have compiled the best techniques for storing your car during winter.

To properly store your car during the winter: wash and wax the car, keep the interior free of clutter, clean and dress your tires, and attach a battery tender. Additionally, cover your vehicle with a thick waterproof cover and take it for regular drives to keep it actively running.

Proper car storage during the winter reduces the likelihood of unexpected repairs. In addition, it keeps your vehicle in perfect condition for spring.

In this piece, you will learn everything relating to winter car storage.

10 Tips For Winter Car Storage

There are several ways to ensure safe winter car storage, but the best methods are highlighted below.

Wash and Wax Your Car Before Storing It

This is the most crucial step to ensure proper winter car storage. Wash and wax your car gently with good cleaning agents and water-free products. Always remember to wash the entire body of the vehicle. The underbelly should also be treated with extra care to avoid blemishes.

Before storing the car, check that the interior is free of food particles and debris, so ants or other pests don’t make your car their new home. While you’re there, throw out any food wrappers or leftovers to avoid unwanted odors in your vehicle. 

Furthermore, to help make the car’s interior more breathable, steam clean the carpets, adopt carbon-coated seats, and desiccate the upholstery.

Care For Your Tires

Leaving your car tires stationary and under pressure for an extended period can cause flat spots on the tires. This results in changes in the circumference of the tires, which is difficult to correct and can result in permanent damage.

Thus, it is essential to maintain proper tire pressure to reduce the possibility of flat-spotting. Sticking to your tires’ maximum cold inflation pressure is a good idea.

Other winter car storage tire hygiene practices include:

  • Clean tires regularly to remove dust and dirt before and during winter car storage.
  • Always pump tires when you observe any slight tire deflation
  • Make sure the car tire’s wheel alignment and balance are checked by a mechanic regularly.
  • Perform routine tire pressure checks with a good tire pressure gauge.
Use a car cover for extended winter storage

Guard Against Bugs and Rodents

During winter, pests like mice, rats, and bugs enter your garage and head straight for your car.

However, they will leave nasty stains and damage sensitive car parts if left unchecked. To prevent this, use pest traps, vacuum cleaners, and eco-friendly pesticides. In addition, close all interior holes in your car and regularly inspect the underbelly for infestation.

Add Fuel Stabilizers

Fuel only stays fresh for around 30 days before going bad. So using a fuel stabilizer is crucial if you’re planning on long-term winter storage.

According to fuel industry experts, the gas tank should be at least 90% full to avoid condensation, which is dangerous to your car during the winter. 

If you decide to fill your tank, we recommend adding a fuel stabilizer; an excellent choice is Ethanol-based fuels. These products prevent degradation and fuel line corrosion.

Check Your Coolant and Antifreeze Levels

All vehicle engines require cooling systems to keep running smoothly and at the proper temperature. Low coolant levels can cause system failure and engine damage. So, ensure your vehicle has enough coolant (antifreeze) to stabilize its temperatures during winter.

As you do this, check the coolant’s water concentration levels to avoid overheating or freezing. In addition to this, avoid mixing antifreeze coolants and remember to use a winter-friendly coolant. 

Tip: When you do this, follow your car manufacturer’s recommendations.

Oil-Change With Low-Viscosity Oil

During winter, car oil thickens with high viscosity, and your car oil filter becomes porous and leaks intermittently. 

It’s no wonder Machinery Lubrication says that excessively thick oil can cause engine knock due to viscosity. To prevent this, change the oil filter and top off with low-viscosity oil. In addition, an oil change can help prevent engine corrosion during the winter. 

When using low viscosity oil, you need to run your car for a few minutes before storing it to allow the oil to circulate properly.

Remove Your Battery or Use a Battery Tender

Your car battery can run down while the car is stored. Therefore, It is advisable to use a battery tender to maintain its charge and prevent it from running down. 

The winter cold harms your battery, but a battery tender will offset this and keep your battery powered. It constantly charges your car battery and has an automatic stopper or “float mode” to prevent it from overcharging.

Use a Car Lift When Possible

Car lifts can also be of immense help when trying to store your car during winter. They help maximize space by elevating your vehicle to a certain height and allowing you the freedom to use the area underneath. 

Car lifts are essential in winter car storage. Once you know which types are best for your home garage, things will be much easier. 

Use a Car Cover for Extended Storage

Believe it or not, its good to use a car cover, even when storing your car in the garage. It helps protect your car’s exterior during the long winter. 

Trust us; you do not want the dust and dirt from the mist and clogged airflow during winter to infiltrate your car’s exterior. So, invest in quality car covers that are thick and waterproof.

Obtaining breathable water-repellant car covers with thick covers to keep moisture out that can damage the car’s body if trapped inside the cover is your best bet.

Make sure that this cover is securely fastened to your vehicle to withstand the harsh winter winds. Remember to stay away from plastic covers.

Start Your Car Periodically 

As much as you’d like to forget about your car until spring, starting your car periodically while in winter storage is good for it.

You do not need to go far, and it helps to keep your cars running actively and in good working condition. 

Getting Your Car Back on the Road After Winter Storage 

When the winter season is over, and you’re ready to take your car out of the garage and back on the road, it must be fully prepared and ready to go. These tips will assist you in completing your car’s preparation to work safely during the spring.

  1. Remove your car cover from your vehicle and fold them neatly.
  2. Clean the exterior of your car gently and ensure the interiors are free of debris
  3. Check that they are no pests or rodents lurking around your car interior.
  4. Check that the oil level and antifreeze are full and didn’t leak out over the winter.
  5. Ensure that your fuel levels are filled to 90%. This will prevent condensation and damage to the car engine.
  6. Remove battery tenders carefully and double-check that the battery terminals are in the correct order.
  7. Inspect your tires to ensure they are fully inflated and use a good pressure gauge to check tire pressure. Since the roads have not been completely cleared of snow, ice, and winter marks, all-season and winter tires are recommended.
  8. Remove all wools, dirt, and clogs from the exhaust pipe to prevent smoking.
  9. Examine the brake and shock absorbers. Inspect the drive belts and replace them if they are frayed or weak.
  10. Check if the car’s other essential components, such as the headlights, taillights, turn signals, and brake lights, are in good working order.

After completing all of these checks, your car is ready to hit the runway, and your winter car storage has paid off.

Final Thoughts

Winter car storage is neither difficult, nor expensive. Following these tips will preserve the life of your car while it sleeps during the harsh winter season.

Winter is often a great time to work on any minor repairs and upgrades. However, if you don’t have access to tools or space, renting a garage to work on your car is always an option. Check out our guide at the link above.