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Prep your car or boat for winter storage by following these tips


It’s the time of year that every gearhead dreads. After cruising in your classic car or relaxing on your boat all summer, you come to the realization that the weather will quickly be changing for the worse.

In other words, you’ll have to prep your toy for storage to protect it from the harsh winter elements.

But even though it may be depressing to park your classic car or boat for winter, it’s important to take the necessary precautions to ensure that it’s ready when spring rolls around.

The Basics

You probably don’t leave your house a mess when you go on vacation. So why would you want to park a dirty car or boat for winter storage?

Though washing the exterior or detailing the interior might be the furthest thing from your mind at the end of the summer season, it’s a vital part of preventative maintenance.

If your vehicle has tree sap or bird droppings on it, you’ll want to remove the residue since it can cause your paint to fade prematurely.

In addition, vacuum the upholstery to remove any food crumbs that could potentially attract unwanted critters.

For boat storage, wash the deck and bottom with detergent to remove any seaweed or barnacles it may have picked up while in the water.

In addition, remove the battery, store it in a warm, dry place and connect it to a trickle charger so it maintains a charge while it’s away from your car or boat.

Prepping the Fuel System

Although it may seem like there’s a lot you’ll have to do to prep an engine’s fuel system for storage, it’s easier than you may think.

Simply top off your tank and add a fuel stabilizer, such as STA-BIL, since ethanol-based gasoline typically only lasts three months before it begins to gum up your intake.

However, it’s important to drive your car or run your boat at least 40-50 miles after adding the fuel additive so it can properly circulate through the entire system.

If you feel inclined to get your toy out of storage and start it up if the winter weather is unseasonably warm, be sure to run the engine to operating temperature to remove any condensation that may have that may have built up in the fuel system.

Location, Location, Location

One of the most important things to do before the weather breaks is find the perfect place to store your vehicle or boat for an extended period.

While it’s obvious that the ideal location would be inside a climate controlled environment, such as a home garage or self-storage facility, sometimes it’s not always feasible because of space constraints or price.

If you’re unable to store your car or boat indoors for the winter, you’ll want to make sure that you buy a weather proof cover that fits properly.

Remember, there’s a difference in quality between a $20 cover found at most auto parts stores and one that retails for $200.

Though a standard tarp could, in theory, work for boat storage, avoid covering your vehicle with one since it can scratch the paint.

If it’s your only option, however, wrap your car in old blankets before putting the tarp on for an added layer of protection. And be sure to properly fasten it to the frame so it doesn’t blow off with a strong gust of wind.

For more car maintenance tips, or to have your vehicle’s oil changed before it goes into storage, call Andy’s Auto Service at 412-478-9304 to schedule an appointment.

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