The end of fall is an unhappy time of year for Canadian collector car owners since it marks the end of another driving season. It also requires coming up with a plan for winter storage for your prized possession. Almost all individuals with a hobby car store their beloved ride in the wintertime to save it from the abuse harsh Canadian winters can cause. The good news is you can be proactive and take a few simple steps to keep it in good condition until it's time to take it out at the first signs of spring.
1. Choose a Safe Storage Location
Whether you've rented a winter storage location or are storing it in your own garage, you should ensure the location is:
- Has a concrete floor (ideally)
While it doesn't need to be heated necessarily, you should make sure excessive humidity won't build-up while you're storing it. Don't store your collector car in a building that has a dirt floor since it can promote moisture. To absorb moisture inside your car, sprinkle a few boxes of baking soda in the trunk and interior areas.
2. Apply Teflon Lube
Open the doors, trunk and windows and spray silicone spray or dry Teflon lube on the vehicle's weather stripping so it doesn't bond to the doors when your car sits for a long period.
3. Check & Top up the Fluids
Check the engine oil and make sure it’s clean before you store your car. If it's not clean on the dipstick, you'll want to change it. You don't want dirty oil contaminants working away during this storage period causing harm. Also check and top up other fluids like antifreeze. Use an antifreeze tester to ensure it's safe for the coldest temperatures in your area in the winter months. Fill up your gas tank with premium (non-ethanol) gas. Add a fuel stabilizer like STA-BIL and drive your car around for several minutes so the stabilizer can work through the fuel system.
4. Wash and Clean
Wash and detail your collector car before you park it to ensure there aren't any contaminants left behind on the surfaces.
5. Add Pressure to the Tires
Your tires should basically be at the right pressure anyway for wear and the best traction, but if you're parking your collector car for a long period, pressure is critical. It's too simple to develop flat spots when sitting for months as the rubber sits continuously compressed. Adding a few additional pounds of pressure can help. You'll also want to take pressure readings when cold.
6. Disconnect the Battery
Disconnect the car's battery from the electrical system. Make sure you remove the negative cable first. Use a battery maintainer or trickle charger to preserve the charge through the winter months of non-use.
7. Keep Unwanted "Guests" Away
Rodents love making homes in collector cars. They:
- Chew wires
- Rip the upholstery
- Make nests
- Do their business
You can block the exhaust pipe and air intakes with steel wool. You could defend your car even more by sprinkling mothballs around it to keep the critters away.
8. Keep It Ventilated
Roll the windows down a crack on both sides to prevent moisture buildup and allow air to circulate inside your car. Add a box of baking soda to the interior and trunk to help absorb moisture.
9. Cover It
Cover the car with a well-fitting, high-quality breathable cover. This helps prevent dust and foreign matter buildup on the surface of your car and keeps dirt out since you lowered your windows.
These are some precautions and steps you can take to store your collector car during the cold Canada winter months. And, it can’t hurt to start it every once in a while to keep it lubricated.
If we have missed any other winter storage tips for your collector car, let us know your recommendations. We will be sure to update the list!