Tips for Storing Your Seasonal Vehicle



Tips for Storing Your Seasonal Vehicle

We have gotten a lucky break this fall as the warmer weather decided to stay longer and we have been able to squeeze in a few extra pre-winter rides in our most prized set of wheels. But with the warm season coming to an end, it’s also time to think about how we can best prepare our vehicles for the upcoming chilly winter months.

Storing your vehicle for the winter season takes more than just throwing a sheet over it and locking your garage door. Proper winter car storage is important for a few reasons: it extends the life of the vehicle, it helps you avoid costly repairs and the vehicle will be better prepared to be driven again come spring. Here are some steps to keep it in good shape until you are ready to hit the road again.

  1. Wash and clean your car’s interior and exterior – It is important your car be clean before you move it into storage. Wash the car by hand and give the car’s undercarriage a good spray wash as well. This will help to remove all the dirt and mud that has built up over time. Once the car has air dried, give it a good waxing to protect the vehicle’s finish and shine. Clean out the interior and make sure anything food related in your car is removed. Misplaced food wrappers, loose crumbs or even spare clothing could attract pests, so be sure to remove all garbage from the vehicle. This will lower the chance any pests will try to get inside your vehicle and as an added bonus, you also won’t be greeted by any unpleasant odors coming from decomposing food come spring time. Give the car a one over with the vacuum for good measure and don’t forget to use seat covers for added protection for your upholstery. You can also look in to purchasing some packs of silica gel to absorb any extra cabin moisture.
  1. Find the right place to store your vehicle – Whether you have your own garage or you plan on taking your prized vehicle to a storage facility, be sure to avoid any location that may have excess moisture. Your car should be in a place where the climate can be controlled and there is little to no moisture that could lead to rust. Make sure the surface of your storage facility is level and ideally concrete. Try not to store your car on gravel or bare earth as this can increase the chances of moisture exposure and other potential contaminants that may impact the condition of your vehicle. If the ground where the vehicle is stored gets too wet, and the vehicle is left unattended and unchecked for an extended period of time, this could even cause the vehicle to sink into the ground.
  1. Repel Rodents – A solid garage will keep your car dry and relatively warm in the chilly winter months, but these pleasant protected conditions may also attract unwanted pests and rodents, and there are plenty of places within your vehicle for these pests to hide and even more things they can destroy while they make themselves at home. To help prevent them from entering your vehicle, cover or block off any gaps where a mouse could enter (such as the exhaust pipe or air intake) with steel wool. You can also spread scented dryer sheets or scented soap shavings inside the car to help repel any unwanted guests in addition to placing moth balls around the parameter of the vehicle to help keep the pests at bay.
  1. Get an oil change – It is wise to change the oil and filters on your vehicle before storing it for the winter (even if the vehicle isn’t due for either of these yet). This proactive step can help to prevent engine corrosion. As with the fuel stabilizer or any other added fluids, be sure to run the vehicle for a few minutes to circulate the fresh fluids.
  1. Disconnect the battery – Unless you plan on occasionally starting your stored car, it is a good idea to remove or disconnect the vehicle’s battery. An unattended battery will slowly lose its charge and may even freeze which will eventually cause the batter to go bad. Once the battery is no longer usable, you will then have to go out and purchase a new battery come spring, thus delaying your long awaited reunion to drive your prized possession.

One of the easiest low tech solutions to this potential problem is to disconnect the battery cables (negative first, then the positive). However, be aware battery removal is not always recommended if the vehicle being stored is newer and has engine computers.

Another option is to hook your car battery up to a “trickle charger” or “battery maintainer”. Should you choose this option, please note you must ensure the model you purchase has an auto shut-off feature to prevent overcharging as in rare cases they have been known to spark fires.

  1. Proper tire care – There a few universally accepted facts when it comes to tire care for your stored vehicle: tires should always be cleaned to remove as much dirt and brake dust as possible, they should be inflated to the recommended psi as long term winter storage can cause tires to get a flat-spot.


You may be asking to yourself, what does flat-spot mean? Flat spot happens when the circumference of the tires on a car that has been left in the same spot for a long time changes due to the weight of the vehicle pressing down on them. If your vehicle is being stored in a cold garage and does not get moved for several months, this can increase the chance for flat spotting. You can help prevent flat spotting by putting your vehicle up on jacks. This can help to reduce the weight placed on the tires during the time the vehicle is in storage.


  1. Cover up your car – One of the last steps to take when it comes to winter storage will be to cover your vehicle. This will help protect the exterior of your vehicle. Make sure the car cover you use is made of breathable fabric as moisture trapped underneath the cover could be harmful to the body of the vehicle, and be sure to never use a plastic car cover as this will trap any moisture underneath it and could cause additional rust to develop. Plastic coverage can also scratch your car’s delicate finish.

It can be a lot of work getting your vehicle ready for winter storage, but remember storing your car means more than just throwing an old sheet over it and locking it in your garage. Your cherished ride deserves it and you will appreciate all this hard work when you go to take it out for that first invigorating drive come spring time.

If you have any questions about your insurance coverage or how it may change when you store your vehicle for winter, reach out to your licensed Drayden Insurance Broker who would be happy to assist you. Another way that we are Here. For You.

* by Chelsea Macaulay, BA, BEd, CAIB (Hons) 

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