Some cars are just not meant for the rigor and abuse a harsh winter can deliver, so it’s into the garage for your baby. Whether you’re in possession of a classy BMW, an iconic ’69 Corvette Stingray, or you just don’t want to drive that Audi convertible through the salt-laden ice and snow, there are a few steps that you should take in order to stash your ride for a few months.
Winter can wreak havoc on a vehicle, even if it isn’t being driven. Just because you aren’t trampling over the dirt, grime, salt, rocks, moisture and dust doesn’t mean that your baby isn’t going to come into contact with these nasties. It is important that you keep this in mind, because there is a delivery method for winter problems: the wind.
When the wind whips up, it carries those particles, and they begin to accumulate on car surfaces. Also, critters are another concern, because your vehicle looks like a lovely home for them. There’s a good chance that you’ve experienced this before: the month of April arrives, you gleefully skip over to your pride and joy, remove the cover and find patches of rust and other cosmetic evils! How can this be?
Let’s avoid such a tragedy this year.
1. Store a Clean Car
Before your Chevy hibernates for the winter months, you need to clean her. No, we don’t simply mean just a quick scrub — we mean a thorough, total, elbow-grease-driven kind of clean.
Be sure to remove any problem areas that already show dirt, as this will attract and hold moisture like a sponge. Also, don’t allow any rust spots to persist, as these will only worsen over time, and especially over the winter. Similar to how that lovely-smelling ocean salt spray can damage your car’s paint job, the wind-blown salt from the roads will do even worse. That kind of salt is actually more damaging and will likely accelerate rust corrosion.
Next, protect your ride with a good, dirt-rust-moisture-repelling wax. If there are any exposed metallic surfaces, then be sure to hit those with a protective polish. Even WD-40 will do a fantastic job at keeping the evil grime-monster at bay.
Last, clean out the inside of your vehicle. Not only will it be nice to come back to a spic and span beautiful car, but leaving that old Twinkie rapper and bag of curly fries in the back seat could cause more than just a stench problem. It could toss up a flag that says, “Please live in me! I have food!”
2. Critter Proof
Now that we’ve gotten the hardest part out of the way, it’s time to start thinking about that other issue of winter storage: critters. Tiny rodent creatures will find just about any crack or crevice to turn into a lovely winter home. This might be convenient for them, but it could be very bad for you.
First, you will want to shove a sock in the tail pipe. This makes sure that nothing will live, or die, in there. The implications of a critter living in your tailpipe should be somewhat obvious.
Unfortunately, mice are also a major issue, but the biggest problem with them is their size. These guys can climb into just about anything. It’s said that dryer sheets and mothballs might do the trick of keeping them away. However, there really is no foolproof way of keeping them out. The key is to make it less inviting and a little bit harder to access.
3. Car Cover
This step is arguably the most important. You need to get yourself a car cover that will fit your particular vehicle and not leave any surface material exposed. The car cover will not only keep out the rain, ice and snow, but it will also make it just that much more difficult for a critter to find a home in your baby.
There are plenty of nifty custom car covers that will fit snuggly over your vehicle. The best part about them is that they give your ’72 Corvette a snazzy place to hibernate for the winter.
Unfortunately, car covers will not block out the wind, which means they won’t be able to keep all moisture out, but it is certainly better than exposing your car to the elements.