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Winter Car Storage

Winter Car Storage

November 7, 2019

British Columbians experience diverse climates over the winter months. Though for many this season, the Farmer’s Almanac has predicted a colder yet sunny and drier forecast. Regardless of this prediction, and your environment, car owners can’t forget to take proper care for their precious vehicles. It’s important to take the time and attention that goes into ensuring safe storage, to avoid disappointment in the spring.

There are several rules when it comes to storing your car so as to spare your vehicle the adverse affects of winter. Rule number one is to disconnect the battery and seal the gas tank to avoid potentially catastrophic events. Discard any rags that have been in contact with flammable or combustible liquids or, alternatively, you could store them safely in a metal can with a tight-fitting lid. Try to keep your storage area clean and as clutter-free as possible – clutter can help fires spread and hamper firefighting efforts. These are completely avoidable disasters if the correct precautions are taken.

Rule number two: do a quick visual inspection before retiring any vehicle for next year’s cruising season. Check for fuel line leaks – old fuel and transmission fluid lines can deteriorate with time. Also do a sweep for any frayed wiring that could come with aging electrical systems.

Thirdly, before storage, clean your car inside and out and remember to polish – don’t put a car cover over a dirty car. Make sure to also apply a quick coat of wax, so it’s ready to go when you need it again. After months of trekking in outside dirt, now is the time to give the carpets a deep clean. But if you plan on using a steam-cleaner, do this far in advance to avoid any moisture buildup while in storage. Silica gel packs placed inside the car during storage can also absorb excess moisture that can accumulate during the wet season. Though there is no way to avoid mice and other small critters, it is important to take precautions, and you may want to consider mousetraps around your car, along with sound repellant devices.

The next step is to tend to your vehicle’s fluids. Gasoline can form deposits if it’s stored for long periods of time, so adding a fuel stabilizer to your nearly full gas tank is very important. Schedule an oil change as well to get rid of any corrosive materials.
It’s important to remember to top off on coolant, especially if you live in an area that gets a lot of snow or experiences extremely low temperatures in the winter.

For older vehicles without engine computers, remove the battery and store it. Newer models with computers can experience performance problems if the battery is disconnected for too long, so hook the battery up to a smart charger when in storage instead.

Whether you’re putting a valuable vintage car to bed or storing away a specialty vehicle you don’t want to drive during the winter months, it’s important to protect your car from the potentially nasty winter road conditions. And if you’re not storing your vehicle during the winter, ensure it’s regularly cleaned and rinsed off with fresh water to remove any salt and road dirt buildup.

The last rule is insurance. Though your car will not need to be insured for the road, you never know what can happen in storage. Make sure you have the proper storage insurance to protect you against any unexpected occurrences.

For the latest information on car careers in BC’s automotive industry, visit: https://carsandjobs.com/

Blair Qualey is President and CEO of the New Car Dealers Association of BC. You can email him at bqualey@newcardealers.ca.

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