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How to Store Your Car Outside for Winter


As cold weather approaches in many parts of the country, drivers are starting to consider how to best store their favorite vehicles for the winter season. While having garage space or other indoor storage is the best way to store a vehicle for the winter, not everyone has that option. If you plan to store your vehicle outside this winter, there are some steps you should take to protect your ride and make sure it’s ready to roll when spring arrives. Here’s how to prepare your vehicle for a winter spent outside.

cleaning interior of car

Give it a thorough clean

Before storing your car for the winter, give it a deep cleaning. Take care to wash the wheel wells and fenders, and wax after the wash to protect the vehicle’s finish. You should also spend some time cleaning the inside of your vehicle, since leftover food or beverage spills can attract all kinds of unwanted intruders of the animal variety. Leave a drying agent or desiccant in the vehicle when storing it outside to absorb moisture and humidity, keeping the inside of the vehicle dry during storage.

pouring fresh oil into car engine bay

Get an oil change

Contaminants can build up in your engine between oil changes, and when a vehicle sits for an extended period, they can settle in the lower parts of your engine. You need to flush out any contaminants like sediment before your store your vehicle, so get an oil change before winter arrives. Once you’re ready to drive your vehicle again, get another oil change so that you’re not driving with old oil.

Fill up the tank

Even though your vehicle’s staying idle for the winter season, it needs to have a full tank of gas. When air gets in your fuel tank, it creates opportunities for moisture to enter and cause corrosion. A full tank means air can’t get in, and it also keeps the tank lubricated. Add a fuel stabilizer to keep the gas from going bad during the winter. After adding stabilizer, run your car for at least 10 minutes so it can fully circulate through your vehicle’s fuel system.

Remove the battery

Cold weather can cause significant problems with your car’s battery, so take out the battery for winter storage. Always store the battery in a temperature-controlled environment to prolong its lifespan. You could even connect your battery to a smart charger to keep it in peak condition, so your car’s ready to go when spring rolls around.

red corvette with Race Ramps FlatStoppers

Raise the wheels

Outdoor winter weather is not kind to tires—and there are plenty of issues to worry about, not just flat tires. It’s best to over-inflate the tires before winter storage and use tire cradles like FlatStoppers to protect tires from the cold winter weather. FlatStoppers contour to the shape of the tire for a natural fit—they keep the vehicle stationary and they prevent flats from ruining your tires.

nest of mice in engine bay

Deter critters

Mice and other rodents can make themselves at home in a parked vehicle during the cold winter months. In particular, a vehicle’s exhaust or engine bay are a great spot for rodents to move in and nest for the winter.

Keep rodents at bay by using a dryer sheet and rubber band to cap off the exhaust. You could also plug the exhaust with steel wool. You can also deter animals from making your car their home by placing dryer sheets under the hood, in the trunk, in the vehicle’s interior, and inside any other areas that might be appealing to critters. Dryer sheets deter animals, and, as a bonus, your car should smell fresh when you take off the cover once spring arrives.

car covered in winter under snow

Invest in a good car cover

Car covers keep your vehicle safe from many forms of damage. Invest in a car cover that’s specifically shaped for your vehicle—it will protect the paint and keep moisture from entering.

Protect your vehicle from the elements all winter long

Storing your car for the winter—outdoors—doesn’t have to be worrying. By following the steps above, you’ll protect your car from the cold winter weather so that it’s ready to roll as soon as spring weather arrives. Make sure to invest in high-quality wheel cribs like Race Ramps’ FlatStoppers to keep your tires safe from cold temperatures. Want more tips on how to properly store your car outside for the winter? Reach out to the helpful team at Race Ramps for expert advice!

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