TIPS - STORAGE
We have all heard of the mice damage done to classic cars placed in winter storage. We have discovered a new product available from a company called Northern Explorer that is an EPA registered, safe and very effective mouse repellent. The name is Store It Right and not only does repell mice from your car but it also smells nice!
Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow
Before you know it, a crisp Autumn breeze will remind you that Winter's
chill is on its way. As home owners, we'll take steps to put
away outdoor lawn furniture, remove the garden hose
from the outdoor faucet, and close down the pool for the season.
But some feel that since the 'ol classic is sitting idle in a garage
(or worse), it's safe and sound. The fact that your pride and joy
may not see road use for about 4-5 months (in the Midwest anyway)
can be just as damaging as running the tach at redline! Below are
tips and proven ideas that will keep your classic from the
icy grip of winter's corrosive hand.
1.) Clean And Wax the Finish
We know that your car's finish is perfect right? But, in
case you didn't get your classic properly waxed during the
months, now is the time to get it done before the temperature drops
below freezing. Remember, corrosion's horrible recipe: mix 1 part
moisture, with 1 part air, with 1 part dirt and allow to mix indefinitely.
Combined, the results are rust! Spend the extra time now to completely
such as bugs
the more damaged your car or truck's finish will be. Also, touch
up any paint chips or nicks.
washing and drying your classic, apply a thorough coat of wax to
all painted and chrome surfaces. Remember, as outdoor temps
fluctuate, your car's surface will "sweat" with moisture
from condensing air collecting on your vehicle's surface. It's best
to protect that
surface. And speaking of fluctuating temperatures, you might want
to place a large strip of rubber matting or indoor/outdoor carpet
under your vehicle to keep evaporating moisture from your garage
floor collecting on your classic's undercarriage, causing corrosion
While you are at it, pay some attention to your vehicle's interior
and tires. Vacuum and remove anything that you don't want sitting
in your vehicle for the long term. A misplaced ball point pen may
freeze, and leak ink all over your precious interior. A word to the
wise; if you can remove it, do so!
2.) Maintain Your Fuel System
Over time, gasoline will break down and create a power-robbing varnish
within your classic's fuel system. Add a fuel stabilizer to your
gas tank and run the engine for a few minutes to allow the agent
to mix in with your fuel system lines. Also, make sure that
your tank is full of fuel before any storage. Air space within
a gas tank allows for air to collect and condensate within the tank,
3.) Check Your Coolant Level
I had a friend who didn't properly fill his classic's
radiator with the adequate mix of coolant, and the wrong mix
of water to coolant
ratio caused the water to expand when the temperature dropped. The
result? A block of ice blew out the radiator seals! When the
ice melted there was quite a mess. Make sure to correctly mix
with the proper coolant. If it has been awhile, you may want to
invest in a complete cooling system flush-n-fill process, to ensure
the job is done right.
4.) Check Your Oil Level
will tell you to replace the oil and filter upon storage and then
once again in the Spring when you take your classic out
of storage. I just make sure all fluid levels are correct, and
change the oil and filter in the Spring. Either way, just make sure
the fluid levels are correct.
5.) Varmint Proof The Area
You can't allow any critters that make their way into your storage
area to make your classic its home for
the Winter! Seal up any drafty doors or windows, and place some rodent
throughout the area. Remember, mice run straight lines along wall
edges, so a few well placed traps around the perimeter of your classic
will help deter any unwelcome guests. We've all heard the horror
stories of chewed wiring and a dead mouse in the vent system! I'll
usually cover the exhaust tips with a thick sweat sock to help protect
the chrome finish and block any openings for critters to gain access.
6.) Remove The Battery
Since your classic is sitting idle, remove the vehicle battery and
place it on a trickle charger. Also, if you are thinking of storing
the battery on the garage floor; don't! Place a wood board between
the battery and the concrete. Temperature fluctuations in the concrete
will rob the battery and cause premature wear. The board acts as
an "insulator" between the concrete and the battery. While you are
at it, clean off any corrosion from the battery terminals on both
the battery and in your classic.
7.) Off The Floor We Go
Place the vehicle on four heavy duty jack stands. This will
relieve spring tension, and in some cases where you may run bias-ply
tire, will keep your classic's tires from flat spotting while resting
in one spot all Winter. If you run radials, this isn't a concern,
but if you run bias tires, you'll hear a "whump-whump" noise
of flat spotted bias tires come Spring if you don't. Make sure
stands on a secure lifting point, especially for heavy classics.
Otherwise, you'll bend or possibly break parts, and we don't
8.) Wrap It Up
Invest in a quality breathable car cover. Don't rely on a plastic
tarp, as they do not allow rising moist air to pass through. In fact,
plastic tarps will promote corrosion! A breathable cover
allows the air to pass through, but keep dust and moisture off your
Item I've invested in over the last 15+ years
for my classic storage is called a "Car Jacket" It is
produced by Pine
Ridge Enterprises (Michigan). Think of it as a sleeping
bag for your classic. You place your vehicle inside the Car Jacket,
and zip-seal the entire vehicle.
Before you do the final seal supplied packets of calcium chloride
placed inside the Car Jacket remove any remaining moisture. Remember
the recipe for disaster - Moisture+Air+Dust over time. By
air, no corrosive deterioration begins to occur during storage. I've
used this product for over 15 years, and my classic comes out the
same way it went in 4-5 months earlier: perfect! The Car Jacket is
in various sizes, all the way up to RV size. Follow Pine Ridge's
directions for optimum results.
By taking the steps mentioned, your pride and joy will retain it's
classic appearance for years to come. There are additional steps
you may need to
take for storage longer than 6-8 months, like backing off valve springs
and other internal engine precautions, but the above mentioned steps
ensure a safe Winter hibernation for your classic!