How To Store Your Classic Car For the Chicago Winter

Here’s how you should store your classic car in the winter

If you have a classic car, you most likely store it in the garage during the cold Chicago winter. Since having vehicles sit for months can cause issues, it’s worth taking a few simple steps to help keep your car in top shape and ready to run in the spring.

How To Store Your Classic Car For the Chicago Winter from the Experts at Milito's Auto Repair - Lincoln Park Chicago 60614

Winterize Your Vehicle

This includes changing the oil and filter and running the engine for a few minutes to circulate the clean oil, which provides corrosion protection for winter storage.

Next, inject fresh grease into all grease fittings, and spray the hood latch and door hinges with white lithium grease to prevent corrosion. Finally, open the windows, doors, and trunk. To keep the weatherstripping from bonding to the doors, spray them with dry Teflon lube or silicone spray.

Fill the Car With Gas

To prevent gum and varnish buildup, it’s ideal to drain all the fuel from your car. However, this can be difficult to do, and ruining a good fuel pump can be an expensive mistake. An alternative is to buy a bottle of fuel stabilizer and pour in the recommended amount of fuel stabilizer into the tank. To get the stabilizer mixed into the gas and spread throughout the fuel system, drive the car around for about 15 minutes.

Raise the Car and Lower the Air Pressure

It’s normal for tires to “flat-spot” during storage, meaning they flatten, so jack up your vehicle and set it on jack stands. Then lower the tire pressure to around 25 psi for the winter. After short-term storage (about three months), the flat spot usually goes away with a few miles of driving — but that’s not always the case — so it’s best to raise up the car.

Seal Any Openings

There’s nothing like the comfortable conditions inside your vehicle’s heater system, air filter box, and exhaust system for rodents. In other words, they want to curl up by the heater. To prevent this, close the fresh air inlet by starting the engine and switching the heater to the “recycle” position. Next shut off the engine, put steel wool and a bright reminder flag into the air filter box intake duct, and plug the exhaust system.

Protect the Car’s Battery

No matter what kind of battery you have, there’s no way it will stay charged over the winter. What’s worse is that once it loses its charge, it can freeze, and then it’s no longer usable. You have a couple of options. Either remove it and store it indoors, or hook it up to a battery maintainer and keep it at full charge.

The latter can be done by connecting the clamps to the vehicle battery (red to red, black to black). Next, plug in the battery maintainer, set the voltage and battery type, press start, and close the hood for the winter.

Cover the Car

Last but not least, it’s time to cover your classic car. If you’re storing your car indoors, using just a sheet will be fine. However, it it will be sitting outdoors, it’s worth investing in a breathable water-resistant custom-fitted cover. A waterproof tarp won’t work because it traps moisture, which creates an environment for rust. Finally, make sure you cover the tires to protect the rubber from damaging UV rays.

Benefits of Taking Your Classic Car To Milito’s Auto Repair

Our mechanics have undergone extensive training and have gained practical experience for years, which is now they gained their knowledge about the internal mechanics of classic cars. Their superior services and professionalism are unmatched, and will reassure you at every step of the repair and maintenance of your classic car.

Contact Milito’s Auto Repair about any issues you’re experiencing with your classic car, and bring your vehicle in to make sure it’s in the best possible shape before you hit the Chicago roads!

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