Ford Muscle Cars Tech Forum banner

1 - 12 of 12 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
557 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited by Moderator)
For those of you who live in warmer areas, where a cold snap may result in temperatures dropping down into the 40's you have the luxury of driving your classic year round. But for those of us who live further north where winter temperatures in the 40's are a heat wave, and constant snow and freezing temperatures are the norm we must park our classic rides for the winter.


It seams a bit counter intuitive, but having a vehicle sit for long periods of time can be harder on it than the were and tare of regular driving. When your ride is seeing regular use, there are fluids moving through the system keeping moving parts lubricated and seals soft and functional. When you park a car these fluids can drain away from the areas that need them causing corrosion to metal parts and cracking on gaskets and rubber parts. With the down sides to parking a vehicle for extended periods of time one might think you may be better off driving it in spite of poor road conditions and corrosive ice melting chemicals applied to the roads. But having done that with my classic Mustang for many years you can clearly see the results.


A better solution is to park the car but properly prep it for its down time. This will protect the car from many of the issues lack of use will cause but also avoid the issues caused by driving in bad weather. The right chemicals, additives and other supplies will make all the difference in the world.


Detail the vehicle
The first step in winterizing a car or truck is to detail it like you are headed to show. The reason for this is that you want the car clean and protected. During the cars use it has probably picked up some road contaminants and dirt. If left on the car’s body these contaminants could damage the paint and the dirt could rub between the paint and a car cover and dull the finish. By washing the car you remove these contaminates. A fresh coat of wax is also a really good idea, as it will help protect the finish. The Detailing does not just apply to the body, metal trim, and rims should be polished and then waxed. Like with the body this is done to remove contaminants and protect the finish.

The interior should be cleaned out as well making sure there are no hidden food items like a dropped M & M that might attract rodents or develop a funk over a long period of time. All vinyl should be wiped down with a vinyl specific compound to help keep it from drying out and help avoid shrinkage and cracking. Also like the wax applied to the finish of the car a good vinyl care product will provide an extra barrier of protection.

Not only will detailing the car help protect it, it will also make it ready to drive with minimal effort come spring. Lets face it, once the snow brakes and the weather gets nice you want to drive the car not spend several days getting it ready to drive.

Fill and or change all the fluids
Dealing with the engines cooling and lubricating fluids is the single most important step in prepping your ride for its long nap. The first place to start is by changing the oil. As the engine heats the cools the oil breaks down and pick up contaminants. One of these contaminants that forms in oil during use is acid based. If you do not change your oil a layer of old contaminated oil is left on all your rings and bearing and over the long period of time that the engine will be inactive these contaminates can eat at these parts reducing there effectiveness and over all life. By changing the oil prior to parking the car you are removing most of these contaminates and leaving the part with a nice clean protective layer.

The radiator fluid needs to be checked and toped off; making sure that it is the correct water to coolant ratio.


This is critically important as the reason the car is being parked is, cold weather, and failure to get the correct coolant to water ratio could result in the mixture freezing which could easily damage the block.

Check the rest of the cars fluids; wither it be power steering, brakes or hydraulic clutch, and top off any that are low.


The main reason for doing this is so that in the spring when you check everything before the first drive, you will immediately know if you have a leak. If you leave one of the fluids slightly low, come spring, you may not remember how low it was and may not realize you have a leak. Knowing for sure that all the systems were toped up before the car was parked makes spotting any issues easy.

The fuel tank should also be filled. Leaving a tank partially empty is a really good way to get contaminants in your fuel.


As temperatures rise and fall condensation can form on the inside walls of a partially empty gas tank adding water to your fuel. Also as condensation forms on the inside of the tank it can cause rust to form which will shorten the life of the tank, and bits of rust could flake off in to the tank which can clog fuel filters and lines. The simple step of making sure the fuel tank is full eliminates all theses issues by protecting the inside of the tank, with the fuel.

Use additives
To insure that my car “sleeps well” I prefer the added protection offered by some of today’s aftermarket additives. When topping up power steering, or changing the oil I like to add a little Lucas additive. This is done for two reasons, first it adheres to the parts inside pumps and the engine better than oil or power steering fluid making a more protective layer on the parts.

It also helps keep gaskets soft so that they do not split and begin leaking. Another additive you must add is some Sta-Bal to the fuel tank. Gas can begin to break down in as little as 2 weeks after you pump it, and what it brakes down in to is the perfect chemical solution for clogging carburetors, and fuel lines. By adding sta-ble to your fuel it can be stored for up to two years before it begins to break down.

Take your ride for one last drive
Before you finally park the car you need to get all those additives circulated through out there systems, and the easiest way to do that is take the car for its last drive of the season. This will insure the coolant and water are completely mixed, all the moving parts in the engine have a nice coating of clean oil and that the entire fuel system has been purged of any gas that does not have the sta-bal in it. This also gives you the opportunity to enjoy the car one last time before you park it.

Disconnect the electrical
Once the car is parked and ready to sit the battery needs to, at the very least, be disconnected.


By disconnecting the battery you are insuring that any small short you were not aware of the car having will not drain the battery completely down which would most likely rune it. I like to go one step further and remove the battery from the car. The main reason I do this is it gives me easy access over the next couple of months to put a trickle charger on it. Whenever I store a battery I always cover the positive post with either a battery cap like the ones that come on the batteries when they are new, or by wrapping it with some electricians tape.


This insures that nothing will accidentally come in contact with both posts causing a short.

Dissuade rodents
It makes sense that for a small rodent such as a mouse that a car would be a wonderful place to build a home. It provides a big area to live in; plenty of materials to make a nice warm place to sleep and it is relatively safe from predators and the elements. Of course we know the kind of damage a few mice can do to a nice interior. That means you must find a way to insure the little guys stay out.

The first thing you can do is block off any potential holes where a rodent could get in. The stronger the material the better but in a lot of cases tape works well as long as the rodents have not already discovered the hole you are blocking off prior to you blocking it off. I have also herd it recommended to put a little box of decon in the car. I have a real problem with this idea.

The issue is, if rodent eats the decon they are going to die and chances are they will die in the car. I can only imagine what a wonderful smell you would find if you opened op a car that had been closed for several month with a dead mouse in it. A much better solution is to put some bounce drier sheets in the car.




Mice do not like the smell of bounce and will stay away from your interior, not to mention the fact that the sheets will keep the air in the car smelling fresh so that it is not stale when you open it back up in the spring.

Tires
There is nothing harder on a set of tires than sitting stationary for long periods of time. The best solution for this issue is to change you nice rimes and tires out for an older set. If you do not have an old set of tires and rimes kicking around the car could also be blocked up but you want to make sure you do is securely so there is no chance of it coming off the blocks. If you chose to block it up, you do not need to raise it to the point where the tires come completely off the ground, simply take most of the pressure off of the tires.

Layers of protection
The last thing to keep in mind before parking your car is, “the more layers of protection you have the better it will winter.” This is the main reason for waxing the car, treating the vinyl and using oil additives, these chemicals provides an extra layer of protection. If the car will be outside with no cover use a windshield sun blocker to keep the sun off of your dash and interior. A better option is to use a car cover. It will not only keep the sun out but also protect the paint and chrome.


When using a car cover make sure that any parts such as the antenna, that could potentially put a hole in said, cover are removed.




As effective as car covers can be, a portable garage type canopy or carport is an even better option and of course parking it inside is by far the best option for maximum protection however not always practical.

With either the canopy, carport, or parking it inside it is still a good idea to use a car cover to keep off dust, and provide one more layer of protection. Also don’t forget, if the car is going to be outside, even if it will be covered, make sure you lock it, that will add just one more layer of protection.


As you can see getting a car ready to be parked for a long period of time is not as simple as pulling the car in to place and shutting it off. But even though more involved, by doing some preparation, you can “tuck the car in” and have little to no issue in the spring when it comes time to drive it again.
 

Attachments

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
34,853 Posts
Good article for people that live as I do up north. Over here I get plenty of snow, and LOTS of rain all year round, but I drive my rig every day unless I'm vegg'ing at home. :)

All your points are great Daze, but I highly recommend to ANYONE ANYWHERE that uses a car cover, that you remove it every two weeks and clean it out. Dazecar's is 100% correct that a car cover will not be good if the car is dirty!

If the cover does not breathe it will damage your paint a LOT, it will drastically reduce your paints life, and when they get dirty and the wind blows they will scratch the heck out of the paint. So beware of that please. Keep your cover clean and NEVER USE PLASTIC or the blue or brown or silver wallyworld kind of tarp....

I don't mind the extra work at my shop repairing tarp and plastic and fabric car cover issues, but it's premature and that's sad to people like me.

Have a great winter! :D


FE
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,662 Posts
Good writeup...I like to put my car up on jackstands as high as they will go as well.....This lets lots of air circulate underneath the car..A long low hanging car cover can really create a moist damp atmosphere under your car...
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,402 Posts
Nice article Day. You do a great job going outside the normal how-to articles to show the peripheral "tech" required for the hobby.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
301 Posts
Great all around storage article. I'm not sure what this "snow" is you speak of. I saw something like that white stuff up in Flagstaff once. Here on Tatooine we have other worries like Banthas rubbing the paint and denting panels...

stinky Banthas.


.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,064 Posts
What do you think about starting the car every couple of weeks & bringing up to temperature,
does this do more damage than good?
I think it just builds condensation in the oil, even if you do keep it running until it reaches average temp.
We are having a heated arguement here about this
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,662 Posts
What do you think about starting the car every couple of weeks & bringing up to temperature,
does this do more damage than good?
I think it just builds condensation in the oil, even if you do keep it running until it reaches average temp.
We are having a heated arguement here about this
I agree with you..There is tons of condensation when you start it up in the winter time..I don't think it ever gets hot enough just idleing to burn it up...
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
557 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
What do you think about starting the car every couple of weeks & bringing up to temperature,
does this do more damage than good?
I think it just builds condensation in the oil, even if you do keep it running until it reaches average temp.
We are having a heated arguement here about this

I think you let it sit.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
34,853 Posts
I think it does NOT matter one IOTA...

Look at it this way. Grocery getter granny, goes to store every 2 weeks for 35 years, goes to get oil change every 3 months.
Granny's engine is PRISTINE, nothing untoward is going to happen if you start it every 2 weeks or every 4 months. (Proof in a 352 out of my dad's 59 T-bird, owned by uncle's mother forever)

It will mean nothing to the bearing surfaces as they are a lead tin alloy, and the rest of the engine has a nice thin coat of oil on it...

Take care of the fuel and all will be well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,662 Posts
I think it does NOT matter one IOTA...

Look at it this way. Grocery getter granny, goes to store every 2 weeks for 35 years, goes to get oil change every 3 months.
Granny's engine is PRISTINE, nothing untoward is going to happen if you start it every 2 weeks or every 4 months. (Proof in a 352 out of my dad's 59 T-bird, owned by uncle's mother forever)

It will mean nothing to the bearing surfaces as they are a lead tin alloy, and the rest of the engine has a nice thin coat of oil on it...

Take care of the fuel and all will be well.
Even driving to the store is putting some load on the engine and will help to burn out the condensation...This is different than just sitting and idleing..Also most people storing a car have some performance type stuff on the engine..An aluminium intake,4 barrel and headers for example..It's probably going to be running rich most of the time that it is idleing with the choke on...That in turn is going to contaminate the oil with gas..Have you ever tore down an engine that did nothing but lots of idleing or was driven very short trips in cold weather?...They are full of sludge..
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
90 Posts
man this is helpful.i park in side with heat.i all so add some pans of cat litter in the trunk it catches moisture and under the car,and no i have no cats the pans are for drips from engine,trans, rearend,and it catches some moisture also,all so put it up on jack stands one on each side of rear axle and the A frames so i don't stretch the suspension but i have the tires off the ground.
 
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
Top