The winter months can really take their toll on a car
With the added moisture, grit and muck on the roads tending to play havoc with a variety of different components and panels on a vehicle.
One way to avoid the potential damage that winter can cause is by putting your car into winter storage. Though a method used by many classic car owners, there’s no reason why ‘ordinary’ cars can’t be put into storage in order to keep them protected. Let’s look at how to do it.
Start off with a good clean
Making sure that your car is clean is a great place to start. Go through your usual routine with a car-specific shampoo and make sure to focus on key areas such as the wheel arches and trim.
If left uncleaned, these areas can quickly develop into rust spots. After you’ve finished, make sure that your car is thoroughly dry.
Check the fluids
If you’re storing your car for an extended period of time, then it’s a good idea to make sure that all of its key fluids are at the right levels. This includes fuel, oil and coolant - it’s a good idea to keep your washer fluid topped up, too.
Once you’ve done this, we’d advise adding a fuel preservative to a full tank of petrol or diesel to make sure that the lines don’t get clogged when you restart the car.
Tyres can take a bit of a beating when you’re storing a car. First off, we’d make sure that they’re at the correct pressures, so check your car’s handbook for the right levels and top them up accordingly.
One of the best ways to avoid tyre ‘flat spots’ is to elevate the car, and though this isn’t an option for all, if you can lift the tyres off the ground by using stands then it’s a good idea to do so.
Pick a place to store it
Though not everyone has the space to store a car off road, it’s worth looking at the available options if you’re thinking of storing your car for an extended period of time. A garage is perfect, as it’ll protect your car from the elements and keep it safe from frost, too.
However, failing that then a car cover can be a good alternative. There are plenty of online retailers who sell covers specific to a certain model and it’s a good idea to invest in a top-quality one which will fit your car properly.
Keep the handbrake off
If you’re leaving your car in a secure and level location - like a garage - then it can be a good idea to park your car up with the handbrake left off. Often over longer periods of time, a handbrake can seize if left on, so keeping it off avoids this. Just remember to use chocks to keep the car in place.
Consider a trickle charger
When a car isn’t running its battery naturally depletes charge - even if it’s disconnected from the vehicle. One way to ensure that the battery remains in tip-top condition is by using a trickle charge.
You plug it into the mains then attach the clips to the battery’s terminals. It slowly feeds a low-voltage ‘trickle’ of electricity into the battery, ensuring that it remains topped up.
Think about registering your car SORN
If you are able to store your car off the public road, then it could be worth putting it on SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification). Once you’ve done this, you won’t have to pay to tax the vehicle, but you’ll also be unable to drive it on the public road under any circumstances.
If you’re planning on keeping your car on the road, however, it’ll still need to be taxed and insured otherwise you risk having the vehicle clamped or taken away.
Consider third-party car storage
If you’re not able to store your car properly yourself, then a car storage company could be the solution for you. These companies will often park your car in a dry, secure location and many will even maintain the vehicle while it’s parked up.
They’ll usually charge a monthly fee for the service, while prices do vary considerably across the country.