3 Keys of Proper Winter Vehicle Storage

Dave Bentson Expert Insight

As winter approaches, it’s important for people to consider the proper storage of their vehicles. Even if you have a secondary residence that you’ll visit during the winter months, most likely not all vehicles will come with you. So proper storage will need to be considered.

You might think good winter storage is having someone start your vehicle and let it run until it gets warm. This is a good start. But it’s simply that, a good start. It does not come close to being adequate for most vehicles.

Warm Up All the Fluids

The problem with simply starting your engine and letting it run, is that it does nothing for the key fluids in your vehicle. In addition to gasoline, other fluids in your car include:

  • engine oil
  • transmission
  • cooling system differential
  • brake fluid
  • hydraulic fluid
  • power steering fluid

All those fluids must be properly warmed up and maintained. A simple start up won’t cut it.

Remember the Fuel System

While the fuel doesn’t need to be “warmed up” like other vehicle fluids, it still needs care. If you were thinking of adding a can of STA-BIL to your tank, that’s the equivalent of starting your engine and letting it idle—just a good first step.

We’ll stay away from the molecular makeup of modern day fuels. Nor do we want to start an environmental debate. But it’s important to know that the ethanol added to your fuel could contribute to the decomposition of some components of your fuel system.

Specific Fuel Recommendations

  • Use avgas: For clients with older vehicles built without a catalytic converter
  • Fill up with ethanol-free fuel: For contemporary cars.

Note: Our research has shown that even “ethanol-free” fuel marketed at the pump can contain some ethanol. We’d recommend the sealed containers straight from the manufactures.

Exercise is Not Just for People

Another thing to consider during proper storage, is how your car will get “exercise.” It’s impossible to warm up all the other drive train fluid without driving the car.

Additionally, who is driving your car and what is their familiarity with your vehicles? You can have a “trusted car guy,” but even if he is acting in your best interest, and you trust him implicitly, you don’t want the first Ferrari he’s ever driven to be yours.

While you’re “car guy” may be very good at many other things, he may not know that your ‘92 Ferrari 512 TR should never be put in be put in second gear while the gearbox is cold. Until the gearbox is warmed, you must shift from 1st to 3rd.

Let us Create Your Storage Plan

I hope that these thoughts have started to make you think about proper storage. It’s not as easy as hooking up a battery tender or dumping a can of STA-BIL into the gas tank. We’d enjoy the opportunity to connect deeper on this topic with you.

For more information on any of these topics above, or for a private consultation to advise you on your own personal vehicles, please contact us today.

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