The cold, dark winter months are upon us. That means there’s a lot of salt on the roads, not to mention ice, rain and other weatherman-bothering things. It’s just not a safe time for some (not all) classic cars, so for many owners, hiding them away until the summer months is the best course of action.
But how do you store a car? You could just stick it in the garage and hope for the best. Or, you could follow these five tips and do it properly.
01 Make a stand
If you stick a car in a garage for a prolonged period of time, it’s going to play hell with the tyres and suspension. So, with that in mind, get yourself four decent quality axle stands and put your beloved motor up in the air. This will prevent flat-spots from forming in the tyres and will also take the load off the suspension.
The best thing to do would be to remove the wheels, too (you can buy wheel ‘trees’ to store them), and really give your suspension a break. Doing this also lessens the likelihood of anything ceasing up over time, too. Speaking of which, don’t leave the handbrake on!
02 Be a bright spark
The one thing that will always fail on any car that’s been left for a long period is the battery. They need to be in regular use to maintain a proper level of function, so parking up for six months isn’t a good thing for a battery.
Worry not though, as a battery conditioner will keep charge in the battery without running up a huge electricity bill. It basically maintains the charge in the battery, so it never goes flat.
Oh, and while you’re at it, take the leads off, put a thin smear of petroleum jelly on the terminals then reconnect them. This will stop any corrosion from setting in.
03 Make a splash
Before you shut the garage door, make sure you check the coolant situation. Even though a garage is warmer than being on the road, it’s not exactly a sauna. As such, you still need to make sure you have the right coolant in your engine; otherwise parts may corrode or cease.
Never, ever leave a car stood if it just has water in the cooling system, either. If you do, you’ll return a solid rusty mess where your engine should be.
04 Break the mould
The smallest bit of interior moisture will wreak havoc on your car’s innards if you leave it for a few months. The smallest fluctuations in temp will kick-start mould growth in a heartbeat, so stay ahead of it.
One option is to run a small dehumidifier in the car or garage, though that can be costly and you may not be comfortable leaving it on. If that’s the case, most supermarkets sell ‘moisture catchers’ which are small tubs with a lid full of absorbent silica gel. It does the same work as a dehumidifier, just a bit more slowly.
05 Clean as a whistle
It’s the most obvious thing to do, but you’d be surprised how many people put dirty cars into storage. Don’t do that. Spend a day getting it clean, make it spotless in fact. If it goes in clean, it’ll come out clean.
Plus, if you leave it dirty, the horrors within that dirt will be given six months to eat away at your chrome, your panels or your rubber bits, and that’s the last thing anyone wants. Yes, cleaning a vehicle is a boring task, but when that first summer sun hits and you want to get out in your car, you’ll be glad you spent that time with a brush.