As the dark nights draw in and the weather becomes colder, it may be time to start thinking about storing away your cherished vehicle for the winter months.
It is important to ensure that your car is stored appropriately during the winter as storing your car without care could do just as much damage to your pride and joy as running it during the freezing temperatures of a British winter.
For owners of classic, luxury and sports cars; winter marks the end of another driving season. It's important to make sure you store your car properly to ensure it's in great condition for the Spring. Follow our top tips and advice on how to store your car over winter.
Clean and Cover
Investing in a cover for your car is even more essential if you do not have an indoor location to store your car, however, it is also worthwhile investing in one even if your car will be stored indoors.
More expensive, quality covers will do a better job at keeping out moisture, which will help protect the paintwork and prevent rusting. Plus, the cover can also prevent scratches and bumps if you will be moving things around in your garage or chosen storage location.
Storage Location and Conditions
Ideally, car owners would like to store their car in a high security, temperature controlled, everything-proof location. However, in reality most motorists only have access to a garage or a similar alternative.
As long as the storage location is safe and dry, and you follow the rest of these top tips, your car will make it through the cold winter months and be ready for next year's season!
For those that do not have access to a garage or a suitable alternative, it might be worthwhile seeking out some form of storage space. Plenty of people that do not own cars themselves tend to rent out their garages, and there are also companies that offer vehicle storage on both a short and long-term basis.
Tyres and Suspension
Inflate tyres to a higher air pressure than usual when putting your car away for the winter, but be sure not to exceed the maximum tyre pressure relevant to your vehicle. The change in temperature often causes the air pressure in tyres to decrease but by inflating them up to a higher pressure than usual, there is less chance of this happening.
Jacking your car up or using blocks or stands is also recommended as this will take weight off the wheels and suspension and also prevents tyres going flat.
Check Oil and Other Fluids
When storing a car on a long-term basis (more than three months), you should carry out an oil change as there are contaminants in used oil that could damage the engine.
You should also avoid straining the valves of your petrol tank by filling up before putting your car away for winter. Having a full tank of petrol or diesel will reduce the risk of moisture being trapped and will stop strain being put on the valves.
Finally, be sure to top up your coolant and make sure you use the correct balance of coolant and water. The engine block and cylinder heads could be damaged if the concentration of water is too high.
Tax and Insurance
Dos and Don'ts
If you make a Statuary Off Road Notification (SORN) to the Diver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), then you are not required to tax or insure your car whilst it is being stored for winter. You will receive a refund of any remaining tax on the car after making a SORN, just be sure to tax your car before getting it back on the road again.
If you do not make a SORN then under the Continuous Insurance Enforcement of 2011, your car is required to remain insured even if it is not being used.
Owners of uninsured parked vehicles face being fined or possible seizure of their car.
- Turn the engine over every few weeks or so as this will help circulate fuel and oil.
- Block your car's exhaust pipes with rags or a rolled-up sock to stop pests from getting in.
- Coat the battery terminals with petroleum jelly and leave it attached to a trickle charger to avoid killing the battery. Trickle chargers are designed to slowly add charge to a battery and stops the battery from depleting.
- Leave the handbrake on, by leaving the handbrake you face the risk of the brake pads fusing to the disks. As an alternative, use tyre stoppers to stop the car from rolling.
- Leave your engine on in an enclosed space. This will cause a build-up of exhaust gases which could lead to serious health issues. If you are storing your car in a garage, park your car nose first.