You've sunk a huge amount of time and money into restoring it and keeping it in pristine showroom condition and running smoothly.
But wait a minute- winter is coming.
You want to drive your car in the snow, through road salt, sand and corrosive chemicals? I thought not.
You want to store it for the winter s inexpensively as possible? You also want to be able to put it back on the road with little or no hassle and have it ready for spring in the same condition it went into storage in? Read on.
Indoor storage is, of course, the best way to go.
And it's really your only option if you are going to be away for a couple of years or longer.
You don't a garage, as indoor storage facilities are plentiful.
Most "mini-storage" type places will gladly rent storage spaces big enough for vehicles.
Additionally, try to find someone who can "exercise" the vehicle every month or two.
Although it's an additional expense in your vehicle budget, proper long term storage will save you money on restoration when you're ready to drive your dream car again.
You can never be too clean for storage, so the first thing you want to do is clean the vehicle.
Wait for a dry warm day and give your car a complete wash and wax.
Be sure to get the underbody as clean as possible too- particularly wheel well areas.
Any dirt will hold moisture and combine with air, causing rust propagation.
A thorough cleaning is in order for the interior, also.
Use a shop vacuum or household vacuum cleaner, getting into all the little nooks and crannies.
All crumbs, pizza crusts, French fries etc.
Otherwise small creatures will be drawn to it and make their home inside your vehicle.
To go the extra mile, a good carpet will help discourage them.
Do all this early in the day to allow time to dry before putting the car in storage.
Take the spark plugs out and put some oil into the cylinders.
This prevents cylinder walls, pistons and valves from rusting.
Regular motor oil is fine or get a spray can of fogging oil from a marine supply store.
Turn over the engine by hand half a dozen times to ensure the oil coats everything.
Next apply a little anti-seize on the spark plugs and reinstall them.
Make sure the gas tank is full.
This will decrease the amount of water available to be absorbed by the gasoline.
For the electrical system, remove the battery cables (negative cable first) and lift out the battery.
Wipe the battery with battery cleaner to take away any moisture-holding dirt or grease.
Place the battery on a clean, dry surface, like a block of wood or a stack of bricks.
Now hook up a trickle charger.
These are designed to preserve the battery's charge over a long period of time.
While the battery is out, inspect the battery rack for rust or corrosion.
Clean and repair any damage as necessary.
Lubricate hood latches, hinges and door hinges white lithium grease to keep air and moisture out.
Have a look at the brake fluid.
Brake fluid will soak up moisture from the air, causing your brake system to rust and corrode.
Get it flushed and filled with clean, fresh fluid if it hasn't been done in two years or more.
Check the coolant level- ensure it is topped off to the proper level.
Also check the coolant's protection level.
It should be low enough to protect the cooling system from winter temperatures.
Because rodents and other small animals like to chew ignition wires and wiring harnesses, stuff clean rags into the engine air intake, fresh air intake under the windshield and tail pipe.
A neat trick a mechanic told me about is to get a big box of mothballs and spread them out around and under the car- for some reason the smell works wonders at keeping undesirable creatures away.
Tires are prone to developing flat spots if the vehicle will be sitting for longer than five or six months.
To prevent this you should get a set of four jack stands.
Jack up the vehicle and place the jack stands under the lift points of the vehicle (usually the lower control arms or under the frame) If you have a dirt floor, place pieces of 1" plywood under the jack stands to prevent them sinking into the dirt.
Remove the wiper blades from the wiper arms to prevent them from becoming glued to the windshield and leaving marks.
The last thing you need to do is- nothing! That's it.
Lock up and enjoy knowing your precious car is sleeping in suspended animation, awaiting your return.