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With winter on its way, it’s time to put those summer cars away. However, you simply cannot just park your car somewhere for the season, there are vital steps that need to be taken in order to make sure the car will start up when the snow melts.  

Before Storing:

  • Pick an appropriate place to store your car. Somewhere secure, dry and limited sunlight. This should help prevent rust, sun damage and theft.
  • Fill the 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.  
  • For the standard 12-volt battery make sure you charge the 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 4.  
    • Hybrid and electric vehicles absolutely need someone to start it and run it 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.  
  • Disconnect the battery and 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 dying. 
  • Change the oil and filter. Keeps all the components clean.  
  • Check the antifreeze.
  • Add air to the tires.
  • And finally, wash your vehicle and put a cover over it.

While Storing:

  • Place open bags of baking soda in the interior and trunk. This will absorb any moisture in the vehicle and keep smells at bay.  
  • 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. Put dryer sheets and or moth balls around the car to deter animals. 
  • Lift your car up on jack stands, this relieves the suspension of the weight of the vehicle and helps avoid flat tire spots. Do this under the supervision of a professional.
  • Roll up all the windows securely, can’t have any furry creatures finding their way and nesting in your vehicle while you’re gone.  
  • Remove any items that could burst or damage the interior of your vehicle during temperature changes.  
  • 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 and moisture from the startup can cause rust in the car.

After Storing:

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