There is definitely a bit of a chill in the air in the mornings these days and that means it may be time to think about how to protect your car against the harsher winter months. The car show season is also coming to an end, with the Frankfurt Motor show usually signalling the end to the calendar. For petrol-heads, it means putting away the summer ride and swapping it for something a little more practical.
So what are our tips for storing your car during the colder months?
Give it a clean!
You need to ensure your car is clean both inside and out, so you don’t uncover it in spring and find any nasty surprises. Give the bodywork a going over to ensure there are no rust spots – if there is than make sure you treat them with the right sealant so they don’t worsen.
Keep it under cover
It is worth investing in a good quality cover to protect your car. There are plenty of custom designed covers and you need to ensure it is breathable, plus covers the whole of the car, including any non-standard modifications.
Cover the interior seats with a blanket and make sure you top up the antifreeze in the car. It is also worth charging the battery and pumping the wheels to around 50 psi to avoid long-term damage to tyres.
One tip is to use something to raise the cover slightly off the car, this means if it does get wet, it won’t be in direct contact with the car and this will prevent the formation of mould and rest.
It is also worth remembering to give your car the occasional check-up during the winter months – if something is going on under that cover you will be able to fix it before it gets too bad! Again, check for rust spots appearing and take steps to halt its spread.
The right garage?
Ideally, you need to keep your car in some form of garage, but it needs to be the right garage! Some garages, especially pre-cast concrete ones, can actually contribute to damp levels during cold weather. It may worth investing in a plastic tent instead and it is a good idea to have fans running to help circulate the air.
Take it for the occasional spin
It is recommended that you start your car regularly – around once a month – and take it for a short drive so that you can keep the engine in good condition. However, if you don’t have access to the car and don’t plan to take it out, then remove the spark plugs and pop in some Redex, run the engine and then pop the spark plugs back in – this should help to keep things in tip top condition.
Speak to your insurance company
Let your insurance company know that you have taken the vehicle of the road and you could save on tax if you declare the car as SORN.
Of course, you may not want to put your car to bed for winter – especially if your car’s a daily drive. However, it still pays to make sure your car is ready for those colder days.
It is worthwhile having a checklist before attempting a journey in adverse weather. For instance, make sure tyres have adequate tread depth and are properly inflated and engine fluid levels should be monitored, while anti-freeze should be topped up if it is needed.
It is also vital to check all their lights and electrical systems are in full working order before leaving home. Remember to check your battery holds a charge, pop a blanket and a basic tool kit in the boot as well. Better to be prepared for the worst case scenario then left stranded somewhere!
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