Be it for winter, spring, summer, or fall, storing a vehicle will require a few prepping stages to keep its condition. This is true especially if you don’t have a garage or carport to shield your car from natural elements. If you’re wondering how to store a car outside during winter or any other season, you’re on the right post. Here, I’ll give a checklist of reminders before leaving your ride for a long rest.
The following points are useful if you’re storing your car for more than 30 days. Read on:
- 1. Whatever Season It Is, Get the Right Tire Pressure
- 2. Park on a Layer of Plastic and Plywood
- 3. Always Clean It before Covering
- 4. Get a Fuel Stabilizer
- 5. Shield Your Car Glasses
- 6. Remove the Hazards
- 7. Wax the Paint
- 8. Change the Oil before Storing
- 9. How to Store a Car Outside During Winter: Keep Your Battery in Check
- 10. Don’t Use the Parking Brake if you’re Storing for Long
- 11. How to Store a Car Outside During Winter: Seal All Openings
- 12. Get A Car Cover To Be Sure!
- 13. Drive Your Car At Least Once In Two Weeks
- 14. Don’t Leave Valuables Inside the Car
- 15. Contact Your Insurance Agent
1. Whatever Season It Is, Get the Right Tire Pressure
The common notion when storing a car is that the tires won’t need much attention since it won’t be moving. Deflated tires have a higher chance of exploding, especially if you’re storing it under the intense summer heat. You should make sure that it’s on the right pressure level because tires slowly lose its air after some time. Anyway, avoid overinflating it just to skip checking it out again in the future.
If one of your tires has an air leak, make sure to change it before storing the vehicle. The tire will deflate faster than the others that will cause the car to lean on the rim.
2. Park on a Layer of Plastic and Plywood
Aside from the visible exterior part of the car, you should also keep in mind to protect the undercarriage. The cold of the winter or the heat of the summer can damage it in just a short time so it’s advisable that you park on a layer of thin plywood and durable plastic. This may not shield the car totally, but it will lessen the contact to the soil and the tires would less likely to be pinched with sharp shards.
This process won’t decrease the windblown moisture but it’s better than none if you don’t have a garage. This is true if you’re wondering how to store a car outside during winter.
3. Always Clean It before Covering
Storing a dirty car is like letting the grimes cook the paint. This is very costly and you might have to limit another credit card just to get the detailer to fix all the damage. Bird droppings, water spots, and dust can be a volatile combination especially if you store your car for months.
Aside from the painted part, take the time to clean the wheels and the rim as well. Avoid leaving mud stains, as this will be harder to remove after months of storage. This is a no-brainer step but many car owners tend to overlook this one.
4. Get a Fuel Stabilizer
Leaving your car untouched for months can cause corrosion in the engine. To avoid this, you can either fill the fuel tank or get a fuel stabilizer. This will stop the buildup of ethanol and rust in the engine if you can’t drive the car for long.
Just remember that filling the tank alone won’t be a good choice if you’re storing the car for more than 30 days. The gas can break down and it can start to have chemical reactions in the engine and ruin your fuel injection components or the carburetor. A fuel stabilizer like STA-BIL will help if you’re thinking of how to store a car outside during winter.
5. Shield Your Car Glasses
Heavy snow, hailstorms, or even falling objects can smash your car windows and windshield. You can never be sure when you’re parking outdoors. Windblown materials can scratch your windows and the heavy snow can crack your windshield. If you’re storing during winter, get a snow cover for your windshield. Using the wipers regularly just to scrape the snow off won’t be a long-term solution. It can be impaired and can jeopardize your driving when you get the car back in use.
If you can’t ditch the habit of using wipers, install a heated one that can thaw snow up to 200F before scraping it off the surface. You can also use a windshield heater that will heat up the fluid you currently have in the car.
6. Remove the Hazards
The next car villain could be the branch of the tree where you parked your car under or the flowerpot on your veranda. Give yourself a favor by removing these things so when winter comes, there would be no falling matter in your vehicle. Removing the hazards including keeping your pets away from the car to avoid scratches as well as sweeping your yard.
You should also avoid snow from accumulating on your tires when you’re thinking about how to store a car outside during winter. Use a salt spreader and a snowplow to keep the rubber safe from weathering as well as the salt that can damage it.
7. Wax the Paint
The intense summer heat can cool your paint in a matter of days. If you’re storing your car during the hot summer days of Florida, make sure to give it an added waxed layer. This will be a shield against the direct threat of UV rays and can hide scratches. Waxing will be best after washing your car to maintain its luster even during storage.
Remember that wax coats would last for about a month or half a year. This depends on the environment where you’ll be parking the car or what wax type you applied.
8. Change the Oil before Storing
Used oil has engine dirt that can take a toll on your car if you store it for a long time. But if you’re just parking it for about two weeks, you can skip the change oil process. Anyway, this is important for car owners planning to store their cars over a whole quarter or longer. Fluids are also important even if the car isn’t in use to make sure that the engine will work the same way. If you’re thinking about how to store a car outside during winter, this should be a priority.
So after putting a fuel stabilizer, change the oil in your car. Do this side by side to avoid missing the step.
9. How to Store a Car Outside During Winter: Keep Your Battery in Check
Storing your car won’t be for long and after a few months, you would surely take it to a drive. Even though you succeeded in protecting the exterior the problem would be on the cold battery. The winter season can affect the performance of your car battery so it’s best to keep it charged using a portable power station. This will prevent the battery from freezing and failing to deliver the strongest current possible.
If you can’t find a portable power station, just keep a spare battery inside your house. It will also be advisable to remove your car’s battery if you don’t need to use it during emergency situations.
10. Don’t Use the Parking Brake if you’re Storing for Long
Parking brakes are meant for short-term stops. Using it for a few months of car storage would lead the brake pads to fuse with the rotors. To secure your car, use a tire stopper instead. This is advisable than using a block of brick to prevent your car from moving. A tire stopper has a curve to fit the wheels. You can also use a wheel clamp to avoid the car from moving and to avoid theft.
Just don’t forget to remove this if you’re going to take the car for a short drive. You might end up with a busted tire.
11. How to Store a Car Outside During Winter: Seal All Openings
Critters would be lurking on your car stored outdoors. If you can’t ‘deforest’ your yard, you might as well seal all the openings of your car like the exhaust pipe and the air intake. You can use steel wool for this instead of stuff that rats can chew on. You can also spread mothballs around the car or put a few on the windshield. This may smell like an old trunk, but this is better than having a pest-infested vehicle.
If you want a more surefire way that gives evidence of success, use mousetraps, and rodent poison. Anyway, make sure that your pests and kids have no access to the parking space.
12. Get A Car Cover To Be Sure!
You’re leaving your car in the open during a cold wintery night or an arid summer day so it’s a must to get a protective drape. The Titan Lightweight Waterproof Car Cover would be the best choice if you’re storing a sedan. It’s made of a weatherproof material that can ward off rain, snow, UV rays, and other natural elements.
Once the buckles are on, you have peace of mind that your car is protected from the roof to wheels. This cover has a zipped driver seat side so you can easily access the car if you forgot something. Whatever season you’re storing your car, the Titan Car Cover will be the best pick.
13. Drive Your Car At Least Once In Two Weeks
I know that when you store your car, it means that you have no plans of driving it for long. Taking it out for a short drive would also mean that you’ll need to restart the whole storage process. So why bother to hit the road once in two weeks? This is so you’ll prevent flat spots when cars are left parked for months. Flat spots might need you to change all the tires entirely. Driving for a short period would also bring back the working temperature of your vehicle when you’re wondering how to store a car outside during winter.
If you can’t manage to drive, it’s best to remove the tires of your car and just put jack stands on all corners.
14. Don’t Leave Valuables Inside the Car
Aside from the obvious fact that theft may happen when your car is stored outside, valuables inside the vehicle can be damaged. This is especially true if you’re storing during the summer season. During a sunny day, your car’s exterior can be as hot as 60 Celsius. If you leave gadgets inside or any electronic stuff, it will be irreversibly damaged.
Don’t forget to remove chemicals that may have reactions during the storage process. Chemicals like bleach would explode would if heated inside a sealed container.
15. Contact Your Insurance Agent
Insurance agencies can give you storage coverage offers so don’t forget to consult with your agent. Also, don’t think of stopping your coverage just because your car won’t be in use. Some companies may increase your rate if they knew that you had missed a few months of payment.
This may vary depending on where you live or what your insurance package is. The best solution is to talk with your agent to know your options.
Knowing how to store a car outside during winter and other seasons will save you a lot of money and time. These tips I listed here would help you with prepping your car before storage. You may tweak some to suit your storing conditions and convenience. Do you know more tips like these? Share it with us in the comment section!