car covered in winter snow after not being stored properly
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Storing Your Car for Winter: 9 Quick Tips

Storing your vehicle for winter isn’t just for luxury car owners...

Maybe you drive a winter beater to keep your newer car in pristine condition or interested in saving on insurance since you’re working from home more and barely driving. Perhaps you’re not confident driving in icy conditions and want to reduce the risk of an accident – whatever the reason, shielding your car from the harsh Canadian winter has its advantages.

What many people fail to realize though is the process takes a lot more than tossing a sheet over the car and putting it in the garage from December to March. From cleaning and detailing to checking fluids and power, there are certain steps you should take when storing and securing your vehicle. Here are nine tips to keep in mind if you’re planning on putting your car in storage this winter.

9 simple steps for winter car storage

    1. Wash & clean

    Your vehicle should be sparkling clean and completely dry before it’s put in storage. Grab a soapy sponge or hit the car wash to get rid of exterior dirt, dust, salt, and grime. Make sure to remove any tree sap droplets as it can destroy the clear coat over time. After washing, polish up the chrome and apply a fresh coat of wax. Feel free to take your car to a detailer if you’re short on time or not the DIY type. 

    Read more: 7 Tips For Washing Your Car This Winter

    2. Check oil

    It’s best to get an oil change if you’ve reached the kilometre limit or if your engine oil is dirty. To check your oil, pop the hood and pull the dipstick out when your engine is cold. Clean oil is slightly translucent and amber in colour, while dirty oil is dark and filled with particles. If the oil is clean, you can wait until spring or summer to get an oil change as modern synthetic oils remain stable for up to a year in the engine.

    3. Fill up gas & fluids

    Head to the gas station and fill the tank to nearly full. Afterwards, add a fuel stabilizer to ensure water doesn’t separate from the gasoline. Don’t skip this step as a fuel stabilizer helps prevent moisture buildup and protects the fuel lines and engine from corrosion. While you’re at it, top up your car’s antifreeze, windshield washer fluid, and brake fluid too. When you’re done, get the fluids circulating by taking your car out for a final spin.

    4. Inflate tires

    Tires can deflate and develop flat spots when not used for extended periods of time, which is why it’s important to inflate your tires to the maximum PSI rating before stashing them away for winter. Replace or repair any punctured tires so your vehicle doesn’t wind up kneeling on its rim while in storage.

    5. Take care of the battery

    The last thing you want to deal with is a car that won’t start after being kept in storage for months. To stop this from happening, take out the car battery or connect it to a trickle charger or battery tender. If you choose a battery tender or charger, look for one with an automatic shutoff feature so the battery doesn’t overcharge. If you want to remove the battery, remember to store it in a warm place in your house as batteries can freeze and crack when left in cold temperatures.

    6. Protect the interior

    Mice and other pests can ruin your car’s interior. Ward them off by picking up food wrappers and vacuuming loose crumbs. It’s also a good idea to put a sock or steel wool ball in the exhaust pipe to prevent small critters from getting inside. Moisture is another threat but can be easily managed by placing boxes of baking soda or silica gel packets on the floor of your ride.

    7. Put a cover on

    From custom-fit to one size fits all, you’ll find a variety of car covers online and at auto parts stores. Whatever you choose, make sure to get a top-quality, well-fitting cover that keeps moisture out and allows your car to breathe. Pick a waterproof cover if you’re parking your car outside and stay away from plastic tarps as they are notorious for trapping moisture and scratching paint.

    8. Pick a safe storage location

    The best place to store your car is in a place that’s dry and secure. If you have a garage or parking spot in an underground lot, great! If you don’t, find a storage facility with a concrete floor or asphalt surface. Don’t park on gravel or bare earth as your car can sink into the ground and be exposed to moisture and contaminants. Your vehicle should rest on a level surface and be left in neutral (manual) or park (automatic) with the parking brake disengaged. Place wooden blocks or wheel chocks behind the tires if you think your car may roll.

    9. Save on insurance

    You can trim your insurance bill down since you’re taking your car off the road. Contact your insurance broker and ask to cancel the liability and collision portion of your insurance plan. It’s wise to keep comprehensive coverage so you’re protected against loss or damage due to fire, theft, and acts of God. 

Drive safe this winter

Looking for a reliable car for winter driving? Canada Drives offers a fast and flexible path to your next vehicle purchase. Apply now and explore your options today!

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