The Seasonal Car Dilemma
Living where all four seasons exist does have its advantages. However, one of the disadvantages is that if you are a car collector or even simply have more than one vehicle, sometimes one or the other is not suited for all four seasons.
A convertible or rear wheel drive is hardly desirable in the winter, and in summer months the auto you use most of the time in the summer may sit for extended periods of time. What do you do with these seasonal vehicles, and how to you keep them pristine and maintained even when you are not driving them?
Consider Storage Options
When you are not driving your vehicle, you will need to store it somewhere. If you do not have a garage or carriage house of your own, you may want to look into storing your vehicle even if you need to rent a space.
You can also cover your vehicle or put up a carport of some sort if you have the space on your land. There are different qualities of covers, so be sure you get one heavy enough to endure the weather in your area but that is lined with material that will prevent it from scratching the paint on the car as it moves around. A cheap cover is probably less expensive for a reason, so be sure to invest in quality.
Start Your Car Often
It is harder on a vehicle for it to sit for extended periods than it is for it to be driven every day. This means that even if you can’t drive the car, starting it frequently and checking to make sure everything is still in running order is critical to keeping it in good condition. Follow these tips:
- Between times you start your car, disconnect the battery. This will keep it from deteriorating. Ideally, hook it up to a trickle charger as well if you have access to electricity nearby.
- Change the oil and other fluids before and after the car is stored. This will keep acidic buildup from damaging the motor, seals, and internal components.
- Use a Fuel Treatment to stabilize fuel: Gas will go bad over time, and even gel in fuel lines, causing serious issues. Use a fuel treatment that also chemically stabilizes your fuel and keeps it viable over time.
- Store your vehicle clean. Wash it thoroughly before and after storage to prevent dust from causing micro scratches and moisture from promoting rust.
Whenever you do start your car, inspect it and make sure everything is still holding up to weather and time.
Treat Surfaces and Tires to Protect Them
There are treatments that will be absorbed into the rubber of your tires and help preserve it. If it is at all possible to either store your car with the tires off the ground or move it frequently to keep them from flattening on one side and becoming damaged.
Be sure to air them up as well, but don’t over inflate them. Air pressure will vary with the temperature, and if tires are underinflated they can become damaged. If they are overinflated they can potentially expand too much as temperatures increase and become damaged as well.
Treat plastic surfaces with preservative or cleaning compounds that also leave a preservation coating. When you start your car, dust or clean the inside as well to preserve the integrity of those surfaces. Keeping the inside of your car clean is as important as the outside.
Be Conscious of the Storage Environment
This means more than just temperature and climate control. Watch for water pooling around the vehicle, leaks above it that might be damaging the cover even if it is supposed to be weather proof, and look for places where the sun and wind might also do damage.
While you can’t always have the ideal storage place for your vehicle, you can do the best with the one you have, and check the environment for any issues around it.
If you own a seasonal car, whether that is a convertible or another vehicle that sits for a long time, preserving it is very important. Finding storage, being conscious of the environment around it, and taking steps to care for your vehicle even as it sits will keep it both safe and working properly.