Winter Car Storage
November 7, 2017
Vintage car lovers across B.C. and beyond watched in horror at the images of a recent barn fire in Langley where a collection of 40 beautiful collector cars were reduced to ashes. Although the cause of the fire isn’t yet known, it is a reminder to all collectors that storing your “baby” correctly is extremely important. The onset of rainy autumn weather across British Columbia means that most collectors cars were put to bed for the winter in recent weeks, so don’t forget to spend the extra time to ensure your vehicle is ready for winter storage.
Rule number one is to remember to disconnect the batteries and seal the gas tank to avoid potentially catastrophic events like garage fires. 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.
Do a quick visual inspection before retiring any vintage vehicles for next year’s cruising season. Check for fuel line leaks – old fuel and transmission fluid lines can deteriorate with time, and do a sweep for any frayed wiring that could come with aging electrical systems.
Before storage, clean your car inside and out and remember to polish up that chrome – don’t put a car cover over a dirty car. 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.
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 on wet, snowy or salty roads, protect your car from nasty winter road conditions.
One last tip is to do a final sweep for food items. Take out that emergency granola bar from the glove compartment and sweep up any crumbs, and make sure that you have correct vehicle storage insurance!
Blair Qualey is President and CEO of the New Car Dealers Association of BC. You can email him at [email protected].
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