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How to prepare your classic car for winter storage

classic car

This year in Overland Park we have been fortunate to have a warm, dry fall and the ability to stretch out the classic car season. However, freezing precipitation came within a few counties of us this week and it’s time to get those special classics tucked away for a long winter’s nap. How do you make sure your classic is stored properly? Here are my top ten tips:

1. Don’t overlook scheduled maintenance, such as changing the oil and filter. Resist the urge to put it off until spring, when you will have a thousand other things to tend to as you bring her out of hibernation.

2. Give her a thorough wash and wax, as well as vacuuming and cleaning of interior surfaces. Use a good conditioner of your choice to seal and protect leather, vinyl and plastic.

3. Add fuel stabilizer (like Sea Foam or Sta-Bil brand) to protect from rust and other issues, then fill the gas tank to the brim.

4. Take her out for one final spin to get it good and warmed up. This will allow the oil and fuel to circulate properly, and will also burn off excess moisture. Don’t be afraid to floor it on the on-ramp.

5. Check the air in the warm tires and over-inflate slightly. If the car is stored on the ground, be sure to monitor air pressure during the winter.

6. You don’t have to store the car up on blocks, but if you are adamant about that, use proper jack stands set on the suspension, like the front control arms and the rear axle.

7. Once the car is parked in its winter home, start the engine, take off the air cleaner and apply an engine fogger such as Sta-Bil or CRC, until smoke comes out of the exhaust. Don’t forget to replace the air cleaner. Then turn the car off and resist the urge to start it periodically during the winter.

8. Disconnect the battery ground cable and put the battery on a tender.

9. Do not set the parking brake unless you must, rather, block one tire fore and aft.

10. If the vehicle is in a secure location, crack the windows an inch or so to allow humidity to stabilize inside and out. Use a fabric cloth to cover, if necessary—never plastic.

These 10 simple steps should ensure your special classics are ready to hit the road when the spring thaw comes.


Classic Cars