The leaves are changing colours and the days are getting shorter.
Do you know what time it is?
It’s the time of year when, as a car owner, you start to think about how you plan to store your car for the winter.
If you’re like many Canadians, next to your house, your car is one of the most expensive items you own. And if you have a car that’s not built for the winter months, it’s important that you take the steps necessary to ensure that your vehicle comes out of storage in mint condition.
So without further ado, here are 6 tips that you can use to safely store your car this winter.
1. Inflate Your Tires
Tires are in many regards the unsung heroes of the road.
They’re built to absorb shock, resist hydroplaning, and keep your car going in the right direction through sunshine and rain.
Over the course of the winter months, however, tires are prone to losing pressure over time in storage. And while a little deflation might not sound like a huge deal, in a worst-case scenario, that lack of pressure could result in damage to your rims.
Some car owners take the next step and opt to remove their tires while keeping the cars raised on car jacks. If you’re so inclined, this is a bulletproof method of keeping pressure off of your tires.
But even if you don’t want to go quite that far, pumping your tires before the car goes into storage can go a long way.
2. Give Your Car a Really Thorough Wash
It may feel a bit counterintuitive to wash your car as if you’re taking it to a showing when all you’re planning to do is put it away for the winter. But it’s a simple act that could save you a lot of grief.
From bird droppings to residue, grease, and moisture buildup, a car can be exposed to a lot of things that have the potential to wear on your paint if they’re left alone. And naturally, paying for a preventable paint job is no one’s idea of a good time.
Before you put your car away for storage, it’s a good idea to make a point of really washing away oil, grease, and dirt residue. If you wax the car as well, that’s even better.
3. Do An Oil Change
Oil is an essential part of keeping a car functioning and on the road.
Because as Advanced Test & Automation explains, oil prevents corrosion damage by keeping the various parts of your car well-lubricated.
But here’s the thing:
Used oil can has contaminants in it that can cause engine parts to go from lubricated to rubbing against each other. If you’re the type to let your car run every once in a while during the winter, this is already a potential problem. However, even if you’re planning to just let your car sit during the winter months, contaminants in oil can lead to sludge buildup.
Putting in fresh oil before storage can do a lot to prevent these types of car troubles from spilling over into the spring.
4. Fill Up Your Gas Tank To Prevent Moisture Buildup
It might feel a little strange to fill up a car you’re not going to drive in the next few months, but this one tip could save you a small fortune in repairs.
You don’t need us to tell you that Canadian winters can be really cold. Even in years where you’re not dealing with record-breaking temperatures, there’s still a lot of ice and snow to contend with until it gets warmer.
If the ice starts freezing your fuel lines, you could end up with a car that’s unable to start.
Interestingly enough, however, keeping the tank at least partially full during storage can do a lot to prevent that kind of moisture from building up and causing damage. Plus, for car owners who want to be extra prepared, fuel stabilizer and antifreeze are additional options that can help keep your car moisture-free.
5. Keep Your Car Covered
Picture this. It’s a few weeks from now and you’ve done a ton of work to get your car ready for storage. You’ve prepped your vehicle, washed and waxed, pumped your tires, done an oil change, and then filled up.
It would be a shame if your paint was damaged because your car was left exposed all winter.
Even if you’re keeping your car in a temperature-controlled garage, there’s still a chance that exposed tools, a badly-timed swing made while holding keys, or a wayward hockey stick could end up leaving a scratch.
Good vehicle covers, whether indoors or outdoors, can help protect your paint and your car from these sorts of accidents and mishaps.
6. Get Auto Insurance
As you’re sitting and reading this, you might be thinking, “Wait a minute. If I’m not driving my car at all, why would I need to insure it?”
The truth of the matter is that even the best plans in the world are no match for a natural disaster or a fire. Canadian winters can be harsh and there’s nothing worse than reeling from the aftermath of a hail storm only for your summer car to not be covered at all.
To that end, it may be worth your while to make automobile insurance another part of your storage checklist as you’re getting your car ready for storage.
There’s a lot to love about driving seasonally. You don’t have to worry about the summer tires to winter tires switch, you’re able to enjoy the warmer weather on your own terms, and, because the car is effectively taking a few months off, you may even be able to get a few more years out of your car.
While you’re using your car during the summer months, it’s important to do all of the little things to keep it running smoothly. At the same time, it’s often necessary to demonstrate that same level of care as you prepare your car for winter storage.
If you’re looking to insure your vehicle ahead of the winter season, don’t hesitate to contact one of our licensed brokers for more information. We’re always a phone call away and we’re here to answer any questions you may have. Contact us for a free quote. We’re here to help!