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6 Steps to Properly Storing Your Car for Winter

Winter is upon us – whether you’re ready for it or not! For many car enthusiasts, that means winterizing and storing their cars for winter. Whether it’s a classic car used only for show season or your favorite summertime ride – learning how to properly winterize your car for storing is essential. 

Store a Car for Winter: Why Winterization is Important

Winterization is crucial when storing a car for winter because it not only helps to maintain your vehicle’s physical appearance, it also ensures that your car’s engine and various parts can safely withstand the cold temperatures that could potentially damage them. 

Even when storing your car indoors in your garage, it is still likely to be exposed to extreme winter temperatures, unless, of course, you are storing it in a heated/temperature-controlled garage. These temperatures can wreak havoc on your vehicle by thickening fluids and freezing them. When your car is in storage, and this happens, it can lead to the expansion of parts and pipes, which can then crack and cause very costly damage.

how to store a car for winter

How to Winterize and Store a Car for Winter in 6 Simple Steps

To avoid damages, you need to properly winterize your car for storage. The good news is that winterizing your car for storage is a lot like winterizing your car for winter use. Not sure how to store a car for winter? Then you’ll want to keep these six simple steps in mind:

1. Storing at Home vs. Storing at a Facility

This plays a more critical role in your storing process than you may think. If you’re storing your car at home, you’ll need to consider whether your vehicle will be stored inside a garage or outside. Either way, your car will likely be exposed to the harsh temperatures of the winter, so you’ll want to make sure you pay attention to the following steps. 

You’ll also want to consider purchasing a car cover to help reduce the chances of your car’s exterior encountering excessive moisture from snow, rain, and ice. Another thing to consider is purchasing padding or a cover with added padding to help create a buffer between your vehicle and anything that could potentially damage it. 

If you’re storing at a dedicated car facility, make sure you are taking the time to do adequate research. Factors you’ll want to consider include:

  • Accessibility
  • Cost
  • Facility reputation
  • Location of the unit
  • Safety/Surveillance 
  • Self-Service vs. Full-service
  • Size
  • Temperature-controlled vs. Non-temperature-controlled

You should find a storage location that is not only close by but that also fits your budget and checks off all your storage must-haves. 

2. Give Your Car a Final Thorough Cleaning – Inside and Out

Before storage, you’ll need to make sure you clean your car inside and out. This will help ensure that no dust or debris is left behind that could lead to rusting/corrosion. This also makes certain that nothing is left in the car that could freeze and explode or leave behind any odors. You’ll want to make sure you:

  • Wash/Wax your car’s exterior – properly waxing it before storage helps add an extra protective layer to your car’s exterior.
  • Get rid of all unnecessary junk from the interior – this ensures you get rid of anything that could release obnoxious odors over time and helps to keep pests out of your car.
  • Vacuum the interior – again, this helps get rid of all unnecessary debris that could eat away at your interior and lessens the odds of pests camping in your car.
  • Place baking soda refrigerator boxes in the interior and trunk – this helps absorb any odors.

3. Check Your Tires

While your car won’t be in use, you’ll want to make sure your tires are ready for storage so they are in top condition when you come to pick it up in the spring/summer. You should consider filling up your tire pressure a little above usual to ensure they don’t go flat over the winter. This can happen due to temperature fluctuations, which can slowly decrease your tire pressure over time. 

how to winterize a car for storage

4. Check All Your Fluids

It is important to top off all fluids before storing a car for winter. This ensures that nothing is left to chance. The fresher your oils and antifreeze, the fewer chances of issues within your motor and other systems over the winter. 

Additional tips: fill your gas tank up with fresh gas before storing your car. Replace your oil and filters to ensure that there isn’t excessive moisture in the system that could freeze and cause a pipe to crack or explode during storage.

5. Make Sure Your Battery is Functioning Properly 

You’ll want to check your battery before storing it to ensure that it’s in top shape. If not, you could come back to a dead battery when it’s time to start it up. 

6. Protect Against Pests

When storing a car for winter, you need to consider the fact that there are dozens of different critters looking for a safe place to shelter for the winter. Your car makes a perfect place for pests to hide away, especially if you are storing it at home or outside. 

Aside from following the cleaning steps outline above, you might want to consider placing plastic bags over the air inlet and exhaust pipes to prevent critters from crawling into your car’s exhaust system and making a nest for the winter. 

storing car for winter

Get Ahead of the Game by Winterizing Your Car for Storage Now

If you are storing a car for winter, it’s crucial that you take the time to winterize it properly. Not only will this protect the vehicle’s integrity, but its value will be preserved as well.

Following these winterizing tips will ensure that your car stays safe all winter long.