How Do I Put My Vehicle Away For Winter?

With summer coming to an end, many of us put away our summer vehicles that aren’t made for the colder months. However, this isn’t just parking your vehicle in a garage for the season and walking awayThere are some vital steps that must be taken to ensure that your vehicle starts again in a few months.  

Before Storing: 

  1. Pick an appropriate place to store your car. Somewhere secure, dry and with limited sunlight. This should help prevent rust, UV paint damage and theft.  
  2. Fill the gas tank and add fuel stabilizer. Run the vehicle so the fuel stabilizer can get in all the nooks and crannies. The more fuel in the system, the less air there is that can rust the inside of the tank.  
  3. Hybrid and electric vehicles need to be started and run regularly if you’re storing it for more than 2 months. Since their batteries cannot be disconnected, the battery will need a 30 min charging every two months. 
  4. Make sure you charge the standard 12V battery before storing. These batteries need to be started and run for 15 minutes every two weeks. If this cannot be done, go to step 5 
  5. If you expect to be unable to run the vehicle to charge the battery regularly, disconnect the battery or use a battery tender. A battery tender requires an outlet as it delivers a small amount of energy to the battery to keep it from completely discharging and losing the ability to recharge. 
  6. Change the oil and filter. Keeps all the components clean.  
  7. Check and replenish the antifreeze.  
  8. Add air to the tires.  Be sure to pump them up to the “cold” pressures noted on the data plate inside your door. 
  9. And finally, wash your vehicle and put a cover over it.  

While Storing: 

  1. Place open bags of baking soda in the interior and trunk. This will absorb any moisture in the vehicle and keep smells at bay.  
  2. If you’re concerned about tiny animals finding their way into your vehicle, you can cover the air cleaner/air inlet and exhaust pipe with plastic bags or aluminum foil and tape. (Don’t forget to remove them in the Spring!) Put dryer sheets and or moth balls around the car to deter animals. 
  3. Safely lift your car up on jack stands, to relieve the suspension of the weight of the vehicle and helps avoid flat tire spots. Follow all recommendations of the jack and stand manufacturers and check your vehicle’s owner manual for proper lift points.  
  4. Roll up all the windows securely, so you won’t have any furry creatures finding their way and nesting in your vehicle while you’re gone.  
  5. Remove any items that could burst or damage the interior of your vehicle during temperature changes.  
  6. Don’t be tempted to take your car out on a nice wintery day. You’ll have to redo the entire process all over again. 

After Storing:  

  1. Inspect the vehicle for any damages.  
  2. Charge the battery until it’s completely full.  
  3. Remove the baking soda bags so you don’t spill them all over the interior.  
  4. Check for leaks in the interior. 
  5. Check your tire pressure and refill to the correct manufacturer’s recommendation.. 
  6. Check all fluid levels. 
  7. Remove any covers you put over the inlets and exhaust pipes.  
  8. Test the brakes to make sure they still feel right. Brakes can rust or get damaged from small animals or condensation. 
  9. Now you can start the vehicle. Check for any leaks. Be sure to do this in an open area.  
  10. Let the car warm up and drive it slowly at first. Some parts need movement for proper lubrication.  
  11. Keep checking for leaks.  
  12. Give your vehicle a nice wash and detailing before you drive it off into the sunshine. 

If you have any questions, please stop by Camco Acura and our technicians will be able to help you to make sure your vehicle is ready for hibernation. Our technicians know your vehicle best and can offer advice on the best way to store it during the winter.