The snow, ice, salt, and cold temperatures associated with the Canadian winter can take a toll on a vehicle that not everyone wants to pay. Protecting a car you care about – whether it’s a classic, or something sporty – from the ravages of winter driving is a great way to prolong its lifespan and reduce wear and tear.
To make sure that your seasonal car or truck is tucked away safely for its long winter’s nap, follow this list of tips to help keep it looking and running as good in the spring as it did the fall day you parked it in the garage.
1. Invest in a good cover
A good car cover protects your vehicle from dust, dirt, or other objects that could scratch or mar your paint. A cover can also serve as a first line of defence against insects, mice, and other animals (more on those later) that may want to set up shop inside the vehicle. Look for a cover made of a breathable fabric to avoid trapping moisture against paint, and make sure that your vehicle is clean, freshly waxed, and completely dry before you drape the cover over it to maximize paint protection.
2. Bugs and mice are the enemy
As mentioned, your vehicle can be a tempting winter nesting spot for creatures of both the four and six-legged variety. Keeping vermin out of your vehicle is a multi-step process that starts with ensuring the interior is as clean as possible, with no leftover crumbs or food particles that could attract pests. Next, you’ll want to seal up any potential entrance points in your garage; set traps for mice around the vehicle’s perimeter; and sprinkle the interior with either mothballs or scented dryer sheets. If you have small children or pets, carefully consider the safest placement of any traps or deterrents you put out. Finally, close all of the vents in your car or truck’s ventilation system and seal up the tailpipes with steel wool to prevent rodents from venturing inside to munch on insulation, wiring, or upholstery.
3. Charge that battery
If you’re going to keep your battery connected under the hood of your car, it’s a good idea to attach it to a trickle charger that will keep it topped up over the course of the winter. Modern automobiles often draw a small amount of current to keep certain systems alive even when the vehicle is turned off, so feeding the battery a slow charge over many months is a good way to ensure strong cranking amps when you turn the key in the spring time. If there’s no electricity available where you’re storing your car, don’t be afraid to remove the battery and bring it home with you where you can keep it charged, or at the very least, warm.
4. Fill the tank, add fuel stabilizer
Over time, gasoline begins to break down, which can lead to a syrupy, watery mess in your vehicle’s fuel tank at the end of the winter. While most fuel formulations can last as long as three or four months without issue, a bottle of fuel stabilizer is cheap protection against a tank full of varnish. You should also fill the gas tank to the top right before it’s time to store your car, as a full tank prevents moisture from forming inside it, which can lead to corrosion.
Follow these simple steps and you’ll add years of enjoyment to the life of your vehicle.
Storing a vehicle for the season? Did you know that you can remove coverage for the use and operation of your vehicle from your auto insurance policy during those storage months and reinstate it at a later date? If you will be storing your car, you may want to call your insurance agent or broker to discuss coverage options that could potentially save you money.