Summit Racing Offers Advice on Winter Vehicle Storage

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Summit Racing Equipment, the leader in automotive high performance, provides helpful tips on proper winter storage for vehicles

Multi-layer covers offer rugged protection against wind, dirt, dust, UV light, scratches, and more

There’s more to properly storing a vehicle than just closing it up inside a garage. Cars are meant to be driven, so some important steps must be taken to ensure that a stored car remains in proper working order and ready to roll in the springtime.

Hibernation isn’t just for bears anymore. Every winter, Mustangs, Barracudas, Road Runners, and more go into hibernation as classic car owners put their vehicles into storage.

Winter vehicle storage is a necessity for many people, including collectable car owners and snowbirds that leave vehicles behind and head south for the cold winter months. As the world’s largest direct mail and Internet supplier of high performance automotive parts, Summit Racing Equipment knows many of its customers store their vehicles for the winter, and the company wants to let car owners know the importance of proper vehicle storage.

“There’s more to properly storing a vehicle than just closing it up inside a garage,” Jeff Winters, Summit Racing Equipment Chief Marketing Officer, said. “Cars are meant to be driven, so some important steps must be taken to ensure that a stored car remains in proper working order and is ready to roll in the springtime.”

Summit Racing Equipment offers a wide variety of products to help owners prevent damage to their vehicle’s exterior, interior, and mechanical components during prolonged storage. In addition, the company’s technical department, the largest in the high performance automotive industry, offers these tips to help make sure your vehicle is ready to roar following a long hibernation:

Stabilize your Fuel System
The fuel system can be a source for problems during winter storage. An empty tank will allow room for moisture to condense inside the fuel system, which can lead to corrosion. It’s important to fill up the gas tank, then add [fuel system stabilizer to the fuel to keep it from breaking down while the vehicle is idle. Once the fuel system stabilizer is added, the vehicle should be taken for a brief drive to allow the stabilized fuel to circulate through the entire fuel system.

Give it an Oil Change
Used or dirty motor oil contains acids and other corrosive contaminants that can damage the engine over time. That’s why your motor oil and oil filter should be changed just prior to storage. It’s also helpful to pull the spark plugs out of each cylinder and either drop in a small amount of oil or apply a fogging oil into each cylinder.

Check the Fluids
Like motor oil, other vehicle fluids such as transmission fluid, axle fluid, and coolant, can be corrosive when dirty. It is best to top off these fluids prior to storage or change them altogether if regular maintenance is due. Remove existing coolant, including coolant inside the radiator, and add antifreeze that has anti-corrosion properties and is rated to provide protection at or below the freezing point (32 degrees or less).

Maintain your Battery
Once your vehicle is in its final storage spot, the battery should be removed and hooked up to a battery or maintenance charger to maintain a charge. Before the battery is attached to the charger, check the terminals and clean up any corrosion so it’s ready to go in the spring.

Keep the Critters Out
Mice and other rodents are always looking for a warm place to build a nest. To make sure they don’t take up residence someplace inside your stored vehicle, the tailpipe and other openings should be sealed off. Also, consider placing mothballs inside the vehicle to prevent small animals from chewing on wiring or upholstery.

Take the Pressure Off
If your vehicle is going to be stored in one spot for an extended time—a year or longer—relieve pressure on the pulley bearings by loosening the drive belts on the engine. Also, consider removing the wheels and tires and resting the vehicle on a set of jack stands. This will take the weight off of the suspension components and prevent premature wear.

Take Care of the Tires
By resting your vehicle on a set of jack stands, you can also prevent flat spots from developing on the tires. If jack stands are not an option, simply air the tires about 10 psi over the recommended air pressure (use a reliable tire pressure gauge) to help resist flat spots.

Protect Your Finish
It’s important to make sure your vehicle’s exterior and interior is clean and well protected against the elements—even when stored indoors. Your car or truck should be washed thoroughly, the finish should be given a good coat of wax, and the upholstery should be protected by the proper leather, vinyl, or rubber treatment.

Choose the Right Cover
Once the vehicle is washed and waxed, cover it with a good quality car cover. When buying a car cover, make sure to choose a cover with a breathable fabric to prevent condensation and moisture build-up on the surface of the vehicle. Multi-layer covers can offer rugged protection against wind, dirt, dust, UV light, scratches, and more.

Headquartered in Tallmadge, Ohio, Summit Racing Equipment has retail locations in Tallmadge, Ohio; Sparks, Nevada; and McDonough, Georgia. Founded in 1968, Summit Racing offers the largest selection of parts, lowest prices, fast, free delivery, and best customer service in the high performance industry.


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David Fuller
Summit Racing Equipment
330-633-2555 ext. 7235
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