It’s that time of year again, when the leaves start changing and soon…we know the frigid winter will be upon us. With that said, it’s time to put that BMW away for storage, sadly, until next driving season. It makes me question living in the Midwest. Here are some ideas you should implement when you store your vehicle for the winter:
1. Wash the vehicle’s exterior and give it a good coat of wax. Wax is (for those who aren’t familiar) a protective barrier for your paint. Don’t forget to give the leather a nice leather conditioner as to keep the leather from drying out.
2. It is never a bad idea to have a car cover as well, it can be quite helpful.
3. Fill the tank with fresh fuel and add stable to the gas tank. Sta-bil helps the fuels from going bad on you faster.
4. Depending on where you store your vehicle, there are two different options for battery care. The vehicle’s battery needs to be charged while in storage either with a trickle charger in car or out of car with a normal charger. If you do use a battery tender/ trickle charger, make sure it has a smart chip to monitor battery voltage and switch itself off when charged. If not, it could ruin your battery – beware!
5. If the vehicle is stored in a colder climate, you will need to check the coolant freezing point to make sure it will stand up to your average winter temps. If this step is skipped – you will have major repairs in spring. (note wind chill does not affect cars so don’t take that into account)
6.(Optional) Change the vehicles oil before placing it in storage. Why? Dirty oil has a higher acid value and will break down the oils cleaning and protection abilities.
7. (If stored for a year or longer) Leave the vehicle resting on jack stands to prevent flat spotting of the tires. You can also look into tire stands that will prevent flat spotting.
8. You need to take preventative measures to keep unwanted guests out of your vehicle. Cover tail pipes with socks and put moth balls down. Different parts of the country will have different guests.
9. Fill tire above specs. Now, don’t go crazy with this just a little bit, no more than 10 psi over.
Note- You may have heard about putting WD-40 or oil on the rotors to keep them from rusting. I don’t believe this is the best idea. The pads can not get oil on them or it will ruin them.
That was the basics on what you need to know about vehicle storage. Here are some tips about restart in the spring.
1. Remove car cover and check under car. Look under the hood and tail pipes for unwanted guests.
2. Check for any leaks and fluid fill levels. Remember to reinstall the battery if removed (make sure battery is fully charged a full battery will measure 12.6v at 12v your battery is low on charge)
3. Turn to the key to the on position, but DO NOT START. Make sure you hear the fuel pump prime and observe for any fuel leaks. If no leaks are found, turn the key off and then back to on position a couple times to make sure the vehicle’s fuel system in primed.
4. (Optional) You can removed the fuel pump fuse before doing step 3 above and crank the engine over to prime the oil system of the engine …if you are worried about dry starts.
5. Start the vehicle and listen for any weird noises (note the engine will make some extra noise on start up after sitting for months). DO NOT step on the accelerator! Allow the vehicle to warm up to full operating temp. (note do not do this in a inclosed area make sure the garage door is open because of fumes) Look for any leaks, the tail pipe will have a lot of water emitting from them this is normal. While warming up, take some time to adjust tire pressures.
6. Go ahead and drive the car! It may stick little from the brakes, but just give it some gas and it should start moving. Immediate spirited driving is not recommended, because your brakes adjust. Drive moderately and use the brakes the same until they feel normal to you again. Plus side, this will give any time for the flat spots on the tires to go away as well.
After all of your hard work you are ready to be back on the road. Have fun!