You can go to real extremes here. Some recommend removing the battery,
lifting the car to unload the tyres and suspension, even air conditioning
the garage to keep the damp out.
But for the average Joe, I'd recommend-
1. Clean it. Really clean it. Every last bit of road rubbish and mud off the
underbody, suspension and engine. Make sure all, the sill and door drain
holes are open and clear. Then you'll see any jobs that need doing before
the next dose of summer fun. Have the alloy wheels, if fitted,
professionally cleaned to remove every last trace of brake dust. After
cleaning, wax the car to protect the paintwork.
2. Drain, flush and refill the cooling system with good quality anti-freeze
mixture to maintain corrosion protection. Then run the car until the
thermostat opens to make sure that this new mixture has flowed throughout
3. Substitute a cheap and nasty battery for your normal one. Check and
charge it every couple of weeks rather than trickle charging it
continuously. Continued top-ups ruins batteries so don't subject your
expensive one to that treatment. Maintain power to the car while changing
the battery, then none of your radio or EMS settings will be lost. Store
your good battery inside the house where it will be protected from low
temperatures - batteries do not like the cold. Check your good battery from
time to time. Storage in a discharged state will ruin it.
4. Open all the windows and the boot (trunk) a little to allow some
ventilation prevent any staleness.
5. Depressurise the fuel system if you are able to. If not, don't worry
6. Leave the transmission in neutral and the handbrake off. Chock the wheels
if there is a risk of movement.
7. Take the time to lubricate door hinges and anywhere else you see fit.
You'll never get round to it in the summer when you're too busy enjoying
8. Regularly check the car throughout the winter months to ensure it hasn't
become a home for vagrant rodents.
Personally, I don't cover the car with a sheet or similar. I want to be able
to check it, and I figure the interior will be less attractive to migrant
rodents if it's not dark. I wipe over the car regularly throughout the
winter with a just damp soft rag to lift any dust.
There's loads more you can do, it really depends on how far you want to go.
Don't be too obsessive about it. Remember you have obviously bought this car
for summer fun, and it should remain "fun". Start the new season off with a
full service, fluid and filter changes.
Please remember that after extended storage the brakes may not be what they
were. A small amount of surface rust may appear on the brake disks which
will reduce your braking efficiency for the first fifty miles or so, so be
As always, the above is just my humble opinion. It serves me well enough,
and allows me to keep a couple of summer only cars without their winter
upkeep becoming a pain. Mine are garaged inside a large industrial unit over
winter and following the above I've had no problems. My garage facilities
are not air conditioned or dehumidified, but I have no real problems despite
the very wet British winter season. The garage is well used throughout the
winter so damp air does get in, but it's well ventilated so that does not
seem to be a problem.
Alec Wood M1BNK
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