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Re: Winter Storage

At 10:51 AM 1/11/98 -0500, you wrote:
I know that one of our UK listers asked substantially the same question some months ago, but any assistance would be greatly appreciated. I have recently had the good fortune to acquire my dream car, an '85 Ur-Q, but have no current option but to leave it outside this winter in Northern Michigan. I am using my '83 Ur-Q on a day to day basis to get to and from work so as to spare the '85 the winter driving, but I am now concerned that I should be doing more to protect the car as it stands.

Perhaps a cover? Fluids? Drive it? Regular cleaning? Find a storage locker (how to get it clean and dry before putting it in there)? Unfortunately I arrived in winter so was not able to plan ahead.

Any input would be helpful.


John C.

I've stored cars for years outside; I don't have near the garage space I need. My tips:
1. Don't store it on grass; make it pavement or cement. Make sure you don't obstruct air flow under the car. You don't want to collect moisture under the car; it'll rust quick. If you must store on the ground, put a heavy plastic sheet down first, then drive over it.
2. Pull the battery and store it someplace inside. Alternately, hook up one of those tiny battery chargers to the battery in the car and keep it charged. At Sears you can get one that attaches to your battery, and won't overcharge it...it's always ready to go.
3. Gas will deteriorate within 3 months. Put gas stabilant in your tank and fill it all the way up. Run the car for a few minutes to get it distributed thru the system. Store car w/gas tank full to prevent corrosion and keep moist air out of tank.
4. Flush/replace the brake fluid, coolant, and any other fluid before storing.
5. Fully warm up the car (enough to get all the moisture out of the exhaust system). Then change the oil & filter. Then run car for just a few minutes and shut down right before storing. This minimizes the number of acidic gunk in your oil while it's sitting there.
6. Remove each spark plug a put in a few squirts of oil to help keep rings, etc. from rusting. Replace plugs.
7. Block off any entrance for critters. Close all doors, windows, ventilation vents. Put in a few bags of that stuff that abosorbs moisture (you'll need a few big bags; Griot's Garage among others sell it).
8. Clean the interior of the car well. Don't leave dirt on seats, floors, etc that can trap moisture or stain.
9. Clean and wax the exterior of the car.
10. Get a brand-name, thick, custom-fit car cover and put it on your car. Make sure it is breathable, of course, and suitable for outside storage. You want it custom-fit, because you don't want it flapping around and beating at your paint or body. Make it thick (like the Evo-4 stuff) to protect from falling stuff, and keep stuff (birds crap, etc.) from soaking through. California Car Cover Company is a good source.
11. This procedure will be good for about three months. Find a nice, dry day and take off the cover, check all your fluid levels, look for leaks and other general safety items, then take the car out for a nice drive and get it all warmed up and everything is exercised. Run the a/c for a few minutes. Then re-cover and store. You can do this a few times before having to go through steps 1-10 again.
12. If you want to store longer than six months you have to do even more things, but this routine will get you through the winter.

Let me know if you have any questions...........SLM

Steve Manning: stephenm@ix.netcom.com
...Physical home: Metro D.C. area, USA
.....Virtual home: http://www.stationwagon.com