When you go to a car show and see all the awesome cars, you have to wonder how in the world the owners managed to keep them so clean. Love of their car is one part of it, but it can only go so far. Knowledge and preparation are essential to keep any car running like it just came off the showroom floor.
Owners usually keep their cars in garages or storage units to protect them from the damaging sun, rain or snow; depending on where they live. Garages are a must have for classic cars and it gives the owners a space to tune the car up and prepare it for long storage. If you have to store your car without a garage, we recommend using a car cover that will keep the car clean. Choose one that will let moisture escape so it won’t cause rust or mold from growing in the interior.
Before you cover your classic car or place it in a garage for storage you need to do a few things so it will survive the long dormant state. ProBuilt Steel Buildings has created a checklist of items you need to check on your car before you store it.
You’ll want to drain out any oil from the engine and replace the oil filter. This will prevent the oil in the engine from going bad or causing damage to the engine since it’s not being run. It’s best to use oil that has zero additives or is formulated for long-term storage to keep everything inside the engine lubricated and in running order.
Depending on your car, it’s best to talk to your mechanic for the specific oil blend you’ll need.
Remove any dirt and dust from the car. Applying a wax will provide a protective layer for your car’s paint.
Fill Gas Tank with Highest Grade Fuel
Gasoline evaporates over the course of time because it’s a volatile chemical. With that evaporation, you’ll have water in the gas tank from the condensation inside the tank. While this is common for most cars to have, extended storage doesn’t give you the opportunity to keep the fuel running and burn off the excess water that gradually comes in.
It’s best to fill the tank to the top with the highest grade fuel; usually it’s called “premium” or “Super” at your local gas station. Once you’ve done that, you should add a fuel stabilizer to keep the fuel from degrading over the storage time.
Check Fluid Levels
You should check the following four fluids in your car and top them off if they are low:
- Coolant – you should make sure this is topped off and it should be a mixture of water and antifreeze. A 70/30 ratio of water to antifreeze is ideal for most cars.
- Transmission Fluid – this is essentially similar to engine oil, however, it is part of a close system that doesn’t deal with combustion contaminants. Usually, you won’t have to change out the transmission fluid unless it’s been a long time since it was last changed (around 60,000 miles)
- Brake Fluid – It’s best to drain the current fluid and add fresh brake fluid into the car.
- Steering Fluid – Keep this topped off.
Disconnect the battery from the car and clean off the housing unit with a battery acid neutralizer, typically a mixture of baking soda and water. Do the same thing with the battery terminals and clean them with the battery acid neutralizer. Once clean, place the battery in a cool, dry place and attach a battery maintenance device to keep the battery charged while stored.
It’s best to fill your tires 5 to 10 pounds higher than the recommended PSI since air will leak out of the tires while in storage. This will ensure that they won’t be flat or come off the wheel rim. Try to keep the tires in a cool place away from direct sunlight.
Remove wiper blades from the car and store them in a safe place. This will ensure you won’t ruin the blade edge or leave damage on the windshield.
Seal Exhaust Pipe & Fresh Air Intake
Place a rag and tape on the end of the exhaust pipe. This will keep any rodents from crawling inside and making a home for themselves
You’ll also want to cover vents and air intakes, which can be a home for rodents. In addition, adding moisture absorbers will help reduce mold and water in the car.
Place Car on Jack Stands
Raising the car and placing it on jack stands will help relieve a load of stress on the springs, shocks and tires while in storage. This also prevents tires from deteriorating or getting a flat spot.
This checklist should help keep your car running for years to come.
Post written by Rainier Fuclan
Photo Credit: Jeffwilcox, Jin’s diary 87, DryHeatPanzer via Compfight cc