How To Store Your Car Outdoors During The Winter
How To Store Your Car Outdoors During The Winter
The best car storage location, regardless of weather or season, is in a garage. However, not everyone has access to a garage, and if you fall into this category, it simply means you'll have to make do with storing your car outdoors during winter. Unlike indoor car storage, properly storing a car outside during winter can be pretty challenging if you don't know how to go about it.
We put this article together to help you take care of your car if you have to store it outdoors during the winter.
Fill Up On Gas
Are you familiar with what happens when you place an empty cup beside a cold water bottle? If you aren't or can't recall, what happens is that you'll notice beads of condensation beginning to form on the inner wall of the glass cup. Now you may be wondering, "What does this have to do with winterizing my car?" It's simple, that's exactly what happens to your car's fuel tank when you leave it outside during winter. The only difference is unlike a glass cup; you're not supposed to have water in your car's fuel tank as that will stop it from starting when you want to put it on.
The easiest way to ensure that there won't be any condensation inside your car's fuel tank during the winter is to fill up your gas tank. This way, there will be no "space" for condensation to form, so you'll effectively prevent water from getting into and mixing with your fuel. Note, however, that gas is quite volatile and it decays quickly. So it's recommended you add a gas stabilizer to prevent the gas in it from decaying and leaving room for condensation to form during the winter.
Car Fluid Maintenance
As you're well aware, your car contains several different fluids, all of which play important roles in ensuring your car functions properly. Ensuring these fluids are in working condition is easy when you use your car daily. When you're planning on storing your car outside for the winter, however, you will need to take a number of steps beyond the routine fluid check and maintenance.
Engine Oil Change
Leaving your car outside in cold weather without first draining the old oil and replacing it with a fresh one is more or less a recipe for disaster. This is because, over time, your "old" oil will degrade and could also accumulate moisture, which will freeze once the temperature gets very low. This will result in clogs that could damage your car's engine and potential damage to your pipes as well. So when preparing your car for outdoor winter storage, make sure to change the oil.
You should know that different vehicles have different engine oil requirements, and it's important you only use oil that is compatible with your engine system. Check the oil cap if you don't know what kind of oil your car uses. You should also check your oil filter and ensure it's not clogged and is in good condition. If it's clogged, you'll have to change it.
Water System Maintenance
In addition to your engine oil, you have fluid running through your car and servicing various functions. One of the most important roles fluid in your car serves is to prevent your engine from overheating, so it's always important to ensure your car's coolant levels are always optimal. Although the coolant in your car is fine during summer and spring, things can take a different turn during winter. This is because the coolant in your car can become frozen once it's winter, and this will cause your car's pipes to crack and develop leaks. It could also damage other parts of your car, such as your radiator.
When you want to store your car outside for winter, you will need to add an antifreeze to it to prevent it from freezing over. This way, you can be sure you won't have to deal with frozen pipes or a damaged radiator come spring time.
Maintaining Your Tires
The next thing to do when preparing for outdoor winter car storage is to get your wheels ready. Now it should be said that the best thing to do would be to take your tires off and store them inside, but this is a lot of work and I assume most people won't go for it.
What you'll want to do though, is fully inflate your tires. Next figure out a way to get your tires off the ground. The easiest way is to jack your car up and put it on blocks. This will help the tires a lot by not putting constant weight on them. This matters most when the weather turns and they may freeze.
If you can't jack your car up for some reason, putting your tires on a wood block is better than keeping them on pavement or concrete.
Remove Your Car's Battery
Just like your car's tires, the battery will also go bad if you leave it inside your car all through the winter, and if this happens, you will have to spend money on getting a replacement as you will likely not be able to use the previous battery again. You should know that car batteries can be pretty expensive, so proper battery storage is one part of winter storage for cars you certainly do not want to leave to chance.
When you have removed your car battery, store it indoors in a cool, dry place. Ensure that you do not place the battery on a concrete surface, or it will gradually lose charge until it's totally dead. Removing your car battery isn't enough to keep it in perfect condition all through the winter; you'll also have to get a battery maintainer or trickle charger to help you charge your battery whenever its charge levels drop. When getting a battery maintainer, you should pay special attention to getting one with an auto-on and off feature. This will ensure your battery will remain charged even if you forget and prevent it from overcharging.
Cover Your Car
The last thing you want to include in your how to store a car outside for winter checklist is covering your car with a car cover. You should know that there are several different kinds of car covers, but the type you need for this purpose is an outdoor car cover. Outdoor car covers are designed to offer excellent protection from all the "wetness" and weathering effects of winter, making them the perfect alternative to garage car storage.
In addition to shielding your car from weathering, an outdoor cover will also prevent moisture from being trapped in your car. This ensures you won't have to spend money on fixing corrosion that would have occurred if moisture was allowed to stay in contact with your car's surface for long periods.