October is Car Care month and with winter just around the corner, now is the time to start planning out how you’re going to be storing your pride and joy to protect it from the elements. To help, we’ve come up with a helpful checklist of what you can do to make sure your vehicle is ready for hibernation and will be ready to drive once the snow melts next spring.

First, there are a few maintenance items you’ll want to take care of before you store your car. We recommend that you do the following.

  • Change the oil – this will keep any debris or sediment in your oil from settling over the winter
  • Wash and wax your car – to ensure there aren’t any contaminants on the paint that could leave marks
  • Make sure it has a full tank of gas – we would also recommend adding some fuel stabilizer such as STA-BIL
  • Increase the tire pressures by 10 PSI – tires naturally lose air pressure over time so over-inflating your tires will prevent flat spotting

There are a few other things you can do to protect your car while it’s in storage.

  • Leave a few dryer sheets and dry packs (silica gel) in the car – the dryer sheets will deter bugs and rodents while making your car smell fresh, while the dry packs will absorb any moisture
  • Put a handful of steel wool into the exhaust tip – again, this is to keep rodents from climbing into your exhaust system and making a nest
  • Park the car with carpet (or a yoga mat) under each of the tires – this will also help resist flat spotting and will avoid the tires making marks on your garage floor over the winter
  • Hook up a battery tender to the battery – this will keep the battery from losing its charge over the winter and help ensure the car will be up and running right away in the spring
  • Get a car cover – covering your car for the winter will keep dust from settling on the car and will help protect it from the elements, scrapes, scratches, and door dings while it’s in storage
  • Don’t start or run the car until spring – firing up the car and not getting all of the components up to operating temperature is worse than just letting it sit

Just like you, we’re not looking forward to taking our fun cars off the road for the winter but by following these steps, you and your car will both be better prepared for next spring!