Edmunds: 5 tips for storing your vehicle this winter

Dec 20, 2022, 1:46 PM | Updated: Dec 21, 2022, 3:56 am
FILE - Cars parked for several days Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021, are covered in cumulative snow in Chica...

FILE - Cars parked for several days Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021, are covered in cumulative snow in Chicago, the morning after a snowstorm dumped up to 18 inches in the greater Chicago area. Storing a vehicle because it’s not needed is something that an owner might have to do at some point. It might be because it’s a sports car that the owner wants to protect from wintertime driving, or perhaps a vehicle that won’t be driven for months because of a vacation or military deployment. Whatever the reason, there’s a proper way to go about storing your vehicle. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)

(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)

Storing a vehicle because it’s not needed is something that an owner might have to do at some point. It might be because it’s a sports car that the owner wants to protect from wintertime driving, or perhaps a vehicle that won’t be driven for months because of a vacation or military deployment. Whatever the reason, there’s a proper way to go about storing your vehicle.

If you simply let your vehicle sit on the street or in a garage for an extended period, you may return to a dead battery, ruined tires or a potentially damaged engine.

The experts at Edmunds have put together a list of best practices when storing your vehicle. Most of these tips apply to vehicles that will be in storage for about 30 days or more. If you’re only going out of town for a week or two, a modern car should be OK as-is. Older vehicles would benefit from getting started once a week if possible.

COVER IT UP

Storing your vehicle in a garage or storage facility protects it from the elements and keeps it at a relatively stable temperature. If your only choice is to leave the car outdoors, we recommend a weatherproof car cover or a car shelter, which will help keep the car clean and dry.

TOP OFF YOUR FLUIDS

A number of automakers, such as Ford, recommend having an oil change performed before storing the vehicle for a while. Used engine oil has contaminants that could damage the engine if left unattended.

Similarly, topping off your vehicle with gas before storing it will prevent moisture from accumulating inside the fuel tank and keep the seals from drying out. You should also purchase a fuel stabilizer to prevent ethanol buildup and protect the engine from gum, varnish and rust. A good fuel stabilizer can prevent the gas from deteriorating for up to 12 months.

TEND TO THE BATTERY

An unattended 12-volt battery will eventually lose its charge. Get someone to start the car every two weeks and either let it run or drive it for about 15 minutes if possible. Driving the car periodically has several benefits. It will maintain the battery’s charge and keep the engine and other components adequately lubricated. It is also a good idea to run the air conditioner to keep the parts in working order and the air quality fresh.

If you cannot arrange for someone to start the car, there are two other options. The low-tech solution is to disconnect the negative battery cable, but you’ll lose the car’s stereo presets and other settings. The better option is to purchase a battery tender. This device hooks up to your car battery on one end and plugs into a wall outlet on the other. It delivers just enough electrical power to prevent the battery from discharging.

PROTECT THE TIRES

Make sure your tires are inflated to the recommended tire pressure. Tires can develop flat spots when left stationary too long, as the weight of the vehicle presses down on the tires’ footprints. In minor cases, driving the car for a while will bring the tires up to their normal operating temperature and get rid of any flat spots. But in more severe cases, a flat spot can become a permanent part of the tire and it will need to be replaced.

The best way to avoid permanent flat spots is to put the car on jack stands at all four corners. It requires more work, but the tires will be in much better shape when you return since they haven’t been bearing the weight of the vehicle for a month or more.

KEEP CRITTERS FROM NESTING

A garage will keep your car dry and relatively warm. Unfortunately, those are things that make it attractive to rodents. There are a number of places in your car for rodents to nest and plenty of things for them to chew on. Chewed-on wires or hoses can cost thousands of dollars to replace.

First, do what you can to minimize the attractiveness of your garage to rodents by not storing any food or items that could be used for nesting. You might also try to make it harder for rodents to get into the vehicle. Lay down a few mousetraps or use repellents that they are not fans of. Finally, periodically look for signs of rodents, such as droppings under the vehicle. The earlier you can spot them and take action, the better.

EDMUNDS SAYS: Storing your vehicle properly is the best way to avoid inconveniences or costly repairs later on. After that, taking your vehicle out of hibernation should be a relatively simple matter of removing any protective methods you used, inspecting the vehicle, checking the tire pressures, and inflating them to their recommended specs.

_______

This story was provided to The Associated Press by the automotive website Edmunds.

Ronald Montoya is a senior consumer advice editor at Edmunds.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - In this July 12, 2017 file photo, an issue of the National Enquirer featuring President Dona...
Associated Press

National Enquirer, ensnared in “catch-and-kill” is sold

The National Enquirer, the scandal-plagued tabloid that engaged in “catch-and-kill” practices to bury stories about Donald Trump during his presidential campaign, has been sold. VVIP is also buying the National Examiner and Globe from magazine publisher a360 Media in an all-cash deal, though exact financial terms were not disclosed. In December 2018 the parent company […]
1 day ago
Patriot missile launchers acquired from the U.S. last year are seen deployed in Warsaw, Poland, Mon...
Associated Press

Poland deploys Patriot batteries to capital city, Warsaw

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Patriot missile batteries that Poland acquired from the U.S. last year have been deployed to the country’s capital Warsaw as part of military exercise, according to Poland’s defense ministry. Poland is taking additional steps to strengthen its defensive capabilities as Russia’s war in neighboring Ukraine enters its second year later this […]
1 day ago
FILE - People visit the Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida...
Associated Press

Florida to begin session on Disney district, migrant flights

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida lawmakers will meet Monday to complete a state takeover of Walt Disney World’s self-governing district and expand a migrant relocation program, key conservative priorities of Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis ahead of his expected White House run. Republican leaders of the statehouse, in coordination with DeSantis, have ordered the Legislature to […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Media watchdog urges release of journalist detained in Kabul

PARIS (AP) — Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders along with 14 French media outlets and production companies on Monday called on Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers to release a journalist imprisoned for a month in Kabul. In a joint statement, RSF and French media said journalist Mortaza Behboudi, with dual French and Afghan citizenship, was arrested on […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Liz Weston: ‘Bridge’ your way to Social Security

Delaying the start of Social Security benefits is a powerful way for retirees to cope with inflation, survive bad investment markets and reduce the risk they’ll run short of money. The advantages of waiting are so great that financial planners often recommend their clients tap other savings, such as retirement funds, to help them delay […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

48 arrested in Europe over encrypted app used in drug trade

BERLIN (AP) — European investigators have shut down an encrypted communication service that was used as a secure channel for organized crime, particularly in the drug trade, and arrested 48 people, German authorities said Monday. More than 70 properties were searched in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and Poland on Friday, when the arrests were made, […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Edmunds: 5 tips for storing your vehicle this winter