Thinking of allowing your car to hibernate during the upcoming Northern Virginia winter? Or looking to let it rest while you’re away on a long vacation? When preparing your car for long-term storage, you must take the proper steps to prevent any damage that might occur during storage, as well sustain its performance. Following these steps to store your car properly will save you money — and aggravation — later down the road:
- Choose a clean, dry garage or storage facility, as damp air can cause rusting. Ideally, store your car in a climate-controlled facility.
- Fill the gas tank completely full. An empty or low gas tank will lead to internal rust as condensation and moisture builds within the tank. Also add fuel stabilizer or corrosion inhibitors and then drive the car around a bit in order to distribute the additive to engine parts.
- Change the car oil. Spray lubricant on all exposed metal surfaces in the engine area to protect against rusting and corrosion.
- Check your car for any leaks or drops from the brakes, transmission, and engine, and repair any leaks you find.
- Place your car on two jack stands to relieve long-term weight on the tires.
- Wash and wax your car to prevent corrosion. Clean out the interior to prevent any rodents from making a home in your car, as well as to relieve your tires from any unnecessary weight. Using a leather or vinyl conditioner on your seats can safeguard them from cracking and drying.
- Disconnect the battery to prevent battery failure, and store it in a battery box — not on a concrete floor.
- Plug the tail pipe with aluminum foil or rag to deter any rodents and moist air from entering your car — but remember to remove the foil or rag before starting your car again.
- Make sure the parking brake is disengaged to avoid brake corrosion.
- Park your car on a plastic sheet and then cover your car with a high-quality, permeable cover.
Before putting your car in long-term storage, bring it to Wiygul Automotive Clinic to run a full repair and maintenance check. Located in Burke, Virginia, Wiygul Automotive Clinic has offered complete foreign and domestic repair service to Northern Virginia since 1996.