If you’re going to be away this winter or choose not to drive your vehicle, you may wish to consider storing it for several months. This isn’t as simple as just parking it in the garage, however. Follow these 10 tips to safely protect your car this winter.

Decide on a Location – Usually a garage, the place where you’re going to store your vehicle during winter months needs to be clean and dry. Ideally, it will have a concrete floor. It should also have electrical service and be easy to access.

Clean it Up – Once you’ve picked where you’ll store your vehicle this winter, get out the broom, brushes and dust cloths and clean everything in sight. Rearrange items so there’s sufficient room for the car and for you to have access to other things in the garage – or be able to park your other car(s). Place a plastic drop cloth or sheet on the floor. Make sure it’s big enough to wrap around the lower third of the vehicle.

Change Fluids and Fill Tank – Car care experts recommend changing all the fluids in the car at this point. That includes engine coolant and oil, windshield washer fluid. Also be sure to fill up the gas tank. This prevents fuel system oxidation and displaces any water that may be currently in the system.

Clean the Interior and Exterior – You don’t want your car to be out of sight, out of mind. Pay attention at this point to thoroughly clean out the interior of your vehicle. Give your car the best chance to survive the winter by giving it a complete wash. Take the time to tend to chrome. Don’t forget to apply a good wax as well.

Park Vehicle on Plastic Drop Cloth – Drive the car onto the plastic drop cloth or sheet. This helps protect your vehicle this winter from fluids leaking onto the floor and staining the concrete or other surface. Leave the car in neutral.

Place the Car on Jack Stands – This essential step helps prevent tire flat spots from developing and also relieves the strain from suspension components.

Disconnect Fuel Pump Wiring Harness – This one might be a little tricky, so consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual if you have any questions on how to perform the procedure. First, start the car and then disconnect the wiring harness.

Stick Steel Wool in the Tailpipe – You don’t want to give critters (rodents, anyone) a place to crawl into your vehicle and nest. Stuffing some steel wool in the tailpipe(s) will prevent this from happening.

Remove the Battery – Nothing says dead battery like leaving it unattended in the car over winter. Take it out and ease your mind.

Tuck it Away for Winter – The absolute last thing you need to do is to tuck up the plastic drop cloth or sheets under the doors and over the wheels. Then, put a car cover over the vehicle. Make sure the cover is permeable, so it can breathe.

Now you can rest easy and be assured your vehicle will be safe and secure from the elements (and associated winter-related damage) until the spring thaw.




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