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Winterize Your Collector Car

Article by Chris Wilson

The winds of November may not quite be howling, as the song goes, but winter will still be coming sooner rather than later, and with it all of the usual preparations: having the pilot light on the furnace checked, putting away the patio furniture, making sure the fireplace and chimney are clean and ready for use, and storing your collectible car.

Collector cars are not the only cars stored for winter, of course, but because cars and trucks are meant tobe driven on a regular basis, classics that are only on the road for a short while each year are even more prone to problems caused by prolonged disuse than conventional street vehicles. Here, then, are a few precautions to help ease your collectible car through its winter hibernation:

  1. Fill’er Up. Keep the fuel system protected by adding a container of fuel stabilizer to the gas tank and also filling the tank completely. Once the stabilized fuel has been added, take the car around the block a few times, to let it work through the system. Do this just before you store that car.
  2. Time for an Oil Change. Change the filter as well as the oil itself, and be certain that you choose an oil that offers corrosion protection.
  3. Bolster your Battery. Keep the battery from dying over the winter by hooking up a charger.
  4. A Tire-some Issue. The best option for over-wintering a collector car is to store it on jack stands, but if you don’t have this ability, and don’t want to remove the wheels, you should reduce the air pressure in the tires, which will help reduce the strain on the suspension system.
  5. Surface-ing. Protect your paint job by thoroughly washing, drying, and waxing your car. As well, wash and dry any of the vinyl, leather, or rubber inside the car, and consider coating the seats and armrests with preservative to prevent cracking if you live in a cold, dry climate. Rust inhibitor can be applied to any unpainted metal surfaces, as well. Then, cover the car with a breathable cloth cover - not plastic, as the latter will only trap any condensation and encourage rust. Also, if your vehicle is a convertible, make sure you store it with the top up. This adds protection for the inside of the car, as well as preventing the soft top from shrinking.
  6. Animal Control. The cloth cover mentioned above will keep rust at bay, but to keep small furry animals from turning your car into their castle, stash mothballs inside the car, and under the dashboard, and make sure you cover the tailpipe as well.
  7. Insurance Issues. Make sure your car is adequately insured. There are discounts for low-use, low-mileagevehicles that will help offset any premiums charged because the car is a classic and has extra value. Consult your insurance agent for the best plan, and if your car is over fifteen years old, be sure to ask about special “collector’s policies.”

Storing a car for winter doesn’t have to include shrink-wrapping the vehicle inside an impervious cocoon, and chances are that by following these tips your car will be perfectly fine in your own garage. However, for added security, you may want to consider special collector car storage facilities, where you can rent space in an environmentally controlled, weather-proof building. See the latest car reviews because either way, your car will be ready to roll when Spring brings the return of warm weather, and sunny days meant for dropping the top and taking a drive.

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