Winter Car Storage: 11 Tips to Help Preserve Your Prized Ride

As the warm weather gives way to the next several months of cold and snowy conditions, auto enthusiasts lament the changing of seasons as much as anybody.

That’s because months-long stretches of lousy weather mean sports car and classic car owners will need to store their vehicles until spring. After all, snow and rain, road salt, sub-zero temperatures, and slippery roads aren’t exactly ideal conditions to expose your prized ride to.

The importance of proper winter car storage

Proper winter car storage for your seasonal vehicle is essential for a few reasons:

  • it extends the life of the vehicle
  • you’ll avoid costly repairs
  • the vehicle will be better-prepared to be driven again in the spring

You’ll find plenty of classic car restoration experts who believe that improper winter car storage can actually be worse for the vehicle than if it had been driven all winter on salt-covered roads.

If you haven’t gotten around to taking care of your winter car storage needs yet, don’t procrastinate much longer. These 11 winter car storage tips will keep your prized vehicle in pristine condition in your garage until spring time.

winter car storage jaguar

1. Wash your car’s exterior

It’s imperative that your vehicle is thoroughly washed before storing it for the winter. Don’t use a drive-through car wash – be sure to hand wash it. Give the car’s underside a good spray wash as well.

Once the car has air-dried, give it a good waxing to protect the vehicle’s finish. It doesn’t hurt to give the car’s chrome a polish, either. Once this step and some of the other winter car storage recommendations below are done, you’ll be covering the car with a cover or tarp.

When the time for winter car storage ends in the spring, your cherished vehicle’s exterior will be fresh and well-preserved during its resting period.

2. Clean your car’s interior

If you’re going to the trouble of following the proper procedures for winter car storage, it’s clear you love your classic car or sports car. Therefore, it’s unlikely you’ve left your beloved car’s interior filled with garbage.

Even still, it bears mentioning that you should ensure your car’s interior is clean before storing it. Anything food-related (including food wrappers) definitely needs to be removed. This lowers the chance of any pests trying to get inside your car and you also won’t have any unpleasant odors to face after months of winter car storage.

Seat covers are a smart idea for providing extra protection for your upholstery. And it’s also a good idea to add some packs of desiccant (like the silica gel that comes in boxes of new shoes) inside the vehicle. They can be bought at your local dollar store and will absorb extra cabin moisture.

3. Keep the critters away

Critters like mice will be drawn to your stored vehicle, which can provide a comfortable winter home for them if you’re not careful.

If you’re aware of issues with mice in your garage, try and resolve the problem before winter arrives. And if they continue to be a persistent problem, take a few steps to protect your vehicle.

Use mouse traps outside the vehicle (never inside) or wherever you notice critter activity in your garage. Mouse traps are reusable and provide visual proof that you’ve caught one of the pests. The effects of mouse and rat poisons, on the other hand, don’t leave evidence as readily. You also won’t want to use them if you have pets.

Be sure that all air inlets are closed in the car and put steel wool in the air filter box’s intake duct. Check under your hood periodically during the winter to make sure it’s critter-free. Also, plug up your exhaust pipe with steel wool to prevent critter access.

4. Fill ’er up before winter car storage

When it comes to winter car storage advice, you’ll find plenty of conflicting opinions online on a few different issues. One of those is whether or not to empty your gas tank or fill it up before winter car storage.

Those in favor of emptying the fuel believe this prevents varnish and gum buildup. Unfortunately, it’s tricky to drain a gas tank without leaving behind moisture that can cause rust.

There’s a stronger consensus for filling up your tank (which prevents moisture buildup) and adding a fuel stabilizer. Gasoline stabilizers prevent the fuel from deteriorating, which causes oxidation and deposits to form that could damage your fuel system.

Just add the recommended amount of fuel stabilizer and let it mix thoroughly with the gas by driving the car for approximately 10-15 minutes. Another reason to keep gas in your vehicle while it’s stored is so you can run it every few weeks (more on that below).

5. Change your oil and filter

It’s wise to change the oil and filter on your sports car or classic car before storing it for the winter. Even if the vehicle isn’t due for either of these maintenance tasks, it’s a good proactive step to take.

An oil change provides helpful corrosion protection, especially since an idle car is more susceptible to engine corrosion. Just as with the fuel stabilizer or any other added car fluids, run the vehicle for a few minutes to circulate the fresh fluids.

6. Top off your coolant

Check your coolant level and top it off if needed (coolant, by the way, is the same as antifreeze). Avoid mixing regular coolant (which is typically a green color) with longer-lasting yellow and red-colored coolants, as they’re formulated to have different lifespans.

To be extra safe, you should check the coolant’s strength to ensure the water concentration level isn’t too high. If it is, this can cause the car’s cylinder heads or engine block to crack.

7. Use proper tire care

When it comes to tire care for a vehicle you’re storing, there’s a few universally accepted facts:

  • tires should always be cleaned to remove dirt and brake dust before winter car storage
  • tires on a stored vehicle should be inflated to the recommended psi
  • long-term winter car storage can cause tires to flat-spot

Flat-spotting happens when the circumference of tires on a car that’s been left in the same spot for a long time changes due to the weight of the vehicle pressing down on them.

Underinflated tires and storage in a cold garage on a car that doesn’t get moved for several months will increase the chance of flat-spotting. Driving the car for awhile can sometimes cause the flat-spots to round out, but not always.

You can prevent flat-spotting by putting your vehicle on jack stands to reduce the weight put on your tires during winter car storage. Place a small piece of wood under the stands. That ensures they won’t leave indentations on your floor, especially if you’ve recently had a spiffy new Floortex™ garage floor coating applied.

winter car storage tires

8. Disconnect your car battery or use a trickle charger

Unless you’re planning on occasionally starting your stored car during the winter, it’s a good idea to remove the vehicle’s battery. If a car battery loses its charge it may freeze, at which point it becomes useless.

Store it in your heated living space and the battery should be good to go when it’s hooked back up in the spring. Be aware that battery removal isn’t recommended if the car being stored is newer and has engine computers.

Your other option is to hook your car battery up to a trickle charger or battery maintainer. Ensure the model you purchase has an auto shut-off feature to prevent overcharging. As an added dose of preventative maintenance, you can also coat the battery terminals with petroleum jelly.

9. Occasionally start your car…or not

One long-running debate concerning winter car storage is whether or not you should start it every few weeks. Those who don’t think this is necessary believe that if you’ve taken the proper steps to store your car properly, there’s no need to run it during the winter.

There seems to be a more widely-held belief, however, that it is a good idea to start your stored car every 3-4 weeks. Those in favor believe this keeps the cylinders lubricated and removes moisture from operating components. If you’re able to move your car (even just back and forth a few feet), this also prevents brakes and clutches from sticking.

If you do decide to start your vehicle during winter car storage, just remember to do these four things:

  • always remove your car cover when it’s running
  • remember to remove (and put back) anything you were using to keep critters out of your car
  • run your car for about 10-15 minutes until it reaches its optimal operating temperature
  • leave your garage door open while your car is running

10. Cover your car

One of your last steps when it comes to winter car storage will be to cover your vehicle. This will protect the exterior you just waxed and keep dirt and dust off of it. If possible, spend the extra money for a custom-fit cover for your car as opposed to getting a universal-fit cover.

Make sure the car cover you use has breathable fabric. Moisture trapped underneath your cover will be harmful to your car’s body. And never use a plastic car cover – they trap rust-causing moisture and can also scratch your car’s finish.

winter car storage car lift

A car lift is ideal for storing your prized sports car or classic car during the winter.

11. Use a car lift for winter car storage

Using your garage during the winter to protect your everyday use vehicles from snow and ice is just one of many benefits of using your garage for parking. Storing your classic car or sports car during the winter in your garage can be an issue if you lack parking space.

One way to increase your garage’s parking space is to add a 4 post car lift to it. They’re a great solution that will protect your prized vehicle and also make room for your other vehicles.

Once all your winter car storage preparation is finished, simply raise your vehicle on the car lift and you’ll then be able to use the space beneath it for parking.

It’s easy and safe to operate the car lift if you need to run your stored car every few weeks. And a car lift is also handy if you prefer taking care of your classic car’s maintenance yourself, as it allows for easy access to a vehicle’s underside.

Make space in your garage for winter car storage

Yes, it can be a lot of work getting your vehicle ready for winter car storage, but your cherished ride deserves it. And when you take it out for that first invigorating drive in the spring time, you’ll be reminded all over again why putting so much tender loving care into your hobby was worth it.

Do you need better garage organization and storage solutions to make space for the winter storage of your prized vehicle? If so, schedule your free in-home consultation with one of our design experts.

See also:

Why Adding A 4 Post Car Lift Makes More Sense Than A Major Garage Renovation

Simple logic dictates that a one-car garage will allow you to park a single vehicle inside of it and a two-car garage will make space for two vehicles, right? Not exactly.

There’s a way to actually double your garage’s parking space without needing to undergo a major garage renovation – add a 4 post car lift. Homeowners are increasingly discovering the practicality of this smart garage vehicle storage solution.

How does a 4 post car lift work?

For those unfamiliar with how a 4 post car lift works, they’re used to elevate one of your parked vehicles using a hydraulic system. This optimizes your garage’s underutilized vertical space and allows you to park a second vehicle underneath.

Garage Living carries three types of 4 post car lifts that can store vehicles weighing between 8,000-9,000 lbs. Those weight capacities will accommodate everything from a small sports car up to a large SUV or pickup truck.

4 post car lift

Why a 4 post car lift is your best option for adding garage parking space

Adding a 4 post car lift instead of undergoing a major garage renovation to create more parking space makes sense for a couple of important reasons:

  • having to knock down garage walls to make the space larger will be much more costly than the expense of adding a car lift
  • in most cases, we can install a car lift in about half a day, whereas an extensive garage renovation will be messy and may take weeks (which poses a major inconvenience to your daily routine)

Along with these reasons, keep reading to learn more about the additional advantages to owning a car lift.

The multi-purpose storage uses of a 4 post car lift

A car lift can be used for storing more than just cars or trucks. If your overhead storage racks are full, here are just a few of the bulky seasonal items you can store on your 4 post car lift:

  • snowmobiles
  • snow blowers
  • lawn mowers
  • camping equipment
  • boating equipment
  • motorcycles
  • bicycles
  • patio equipment

Depending on what non-car or truck items you plan to store on your car lift, an attachment may be required.

Car lifts help the DIY mechanic

If you’re the handy type who prefers doing your own vehicle maintenance and repairs, a 4 post car lift can be quite useful. The ability to comfortably stand or sit underneath your car or truck while working on them is easier than dealing with the confined space you’ll have using a jack and mechanic’s creeper.

Be wary of some foreign-made 4 post car lifts that may be cheaper than North American-made models. The quality of construction materials and safety standards on Canadian and American-made car lifts are higher. Look for an ALI certification to ensure the safe operation of any car lift.

4 post car lift 2

A 4 post car lift protects your investments

Being able to park in your garage instead of leaving your vehicles in the driveway protects your investments from theft and vandalism. You also won’t need to worry about exterior factors like weather, bird droppings, and tree sap.

Car lifts are a cost-efficient alternative to off-site vehicle storage

The costs of storing your classic car or seasonal vehicle in an off-site storage unit every year will eventually add up. Adding a 4 post car lift to your garage is more convenient and cost-efficient.

Within just a few years, the cost of the car lift will be less than what you would have spent on storage unit costs and you’ll actually have something tangible to show for your expenses. You’ll also get many more years of use out of the car lift.

You can learn more about the benefits of adding a 4 post car lift to your garage by scheduling a free in-home consultation with a member of our design team.

See also:

7 Must-See Classic Car Shows In Southern Ontario This Summer

Every summer weekend in Southern Ontario, there’s a classic car show happening somewhere. Conveniently, several of them are taking place in the GTA or just a short drive from it.

Perhaps you’re a vintage car owner or just like to admire their timeless beauty from an arm’s length. Classic car and truck shows allow you to view a wide spectrum of the vehicles of yesteryear, with each of their owners having a unique story to tell about them.

Many classic car shows also raise funds and encourage donations for local charities and community groups. This summer, experience the nostalgia and fun of one of these must-see classic car shows located in the Southern Ontario area.

Classic car

  1. Classics On The Square Car Show (Mississauga, July 3rd): This third annual event is located at Mississauga Celebration Square. Along with a wide variety of classic cars on display, there’ll be live music, Batman and other superheroes for the kids, and door prizes.
  2. Havelock Recreation & Performance Motor Show (Havelock, July 15-17): This busy three day event is taking place two hours northwest of Toronto. Enjoy the classic cars, trucks, boats, tractors, and motorcycles that will be on display. There will also be camping, a flea market and swap meet, truck and tractor pulls, live music, and boxing matches.
  3. Classics In The Park Car Show (Barrie, July 23rd): Heritage Park on Barrie’s waterfront is the picturesque setting for this classic car, motorcycle, and custom truck event. $5,000 was raised at last year’s show for Gilda’s Club Simcoe Muskoka, which provides cancer care support.
  4. Wheels On The Danforth (Toronto, August 13th): Toronto’s vibrant Danforth area plays host to many summertime events. Included is this show featuring classic cars, custom builds, and hot rods.
  5. Autofest Oshawa (Oshawa, August 19-21): Lakeview Park hosts this 23rd annual weekend event. Classic cars, hot rods, motorcycles, and trucks will share space with modern day high performance vehicles.
  6. Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance (Kemble, September 17-18): Beautiful and rarely seen automobiles at Cobble Beach Golf Resort Community in Kemble, Ontario.
  7. British Car Day (Oakville, September 18): Hosted annually by the Toronto Triumph Club, this is the largest, one-day, all-British car event in North America.

Car lifts are a great storage solution for your classic car

Classic car enthusiasts will be out in large numbers for these summer events. But when summer ends, what’s the best winter storage solution for a classic car or truck?  There’s a smart choice that won’t take up your garage’s lone parking spot.

Silver Porsche on a four post car lift from Garage Living

A car lift allows you to double your garage’s parking space by utilizing its unused vertical space. Your classic car or truck is stored on the elevated platform of the car lift, allowing you to easily park your everyday-use vehicle underneath it. If you like being hands-on with your car’s maintenance, car lifts also let you safely work on the vehicle’s underside. A car lift is also a smarter option financially than storing your classic vehicle annually in an expensive storage facility that has no long-term tangible benefits to you.

Visit our showroom to see a car lift up close. You can also schedule a free consultation with us to learn more about how car lifts are a great storage solution for your classic car.

See also:

3 Considerations When Choosing A Car Lift

If you’re looking to purchase a car lift, it’s important to consider a few things first to ensure you pick the best one for the job. Auto lifts come in numerous configurations, different sizes and, of course, a range of prices. This quick guide will help steer you in the right direction, allowing you to be 100-percent satisfied with whichever design you choose to install.

Four post car lift with metal ramps in a single car garage.

Purpose

Some car lifts are designed primarily for storage purposes, while others can help you with car maintenance. Determine why you’re buying an auto lift in the first place to narrow your options. If you wish to maximize storage space, four-post lifts are often the best option. Scissor and portable lifts are great for mechanic enthusiasts.

Size

Unless you’re planning to expand your garage, you’ll need to find a lift design that fits without cramping your space. Some space-saving designs like the portable lift can be moved out of the way when not in use. Four-post lifts utilize vertical space that often just goes to waste, providing you with more storage space for cars than you had before.

Grey Porsche on a four post car lift.

Price

Installing a car lift is an investment, but the extra storage space or the ability to work on your car from home is worth the cost. Determine what type of car lift you need first and then start looking at prices to determine what you can afford.

Ready to bring a car lift to your garage? Garage Living can help. Schedule a free consultation appointment with design experts to discuss your project goals.

See also:

5 Great Reasons You Should Buy A Car Lift

car lift is the perfect solution for the home garage that has insufficient storage space for your vehicles.

More and more, homeowners with a shortage of parking space in their garage are turning to a car lift for the convenience and practicality they offer. Car lifts take advantage of your garage’s unused vertical space by elevating your vehicle off the floor. This allows you to park another vehicle underneath it.

Silver Porsche on a four post car lift from Garage Living

A car lift is a great alternative to an expensive renovation that increases your garage’s size. Here are the five best reasons to consider one.

1. A car lift protects your investment

Vehicles are a sizeable investment. You can protect that investment by adding the ability to park your vehicles inside your home, which has several advantages:

  • vehicles parked inside a garage are much more protected from vandalism and theft
  • parking your vehicle in a garage prolongs the life of its body and, to a lesser degree, its engine

2. Store your second vehicle in your one-car garage

The majority of homes have one-car garages. If your family has two vehicles, that deprives you of the aforementioned benefits of garage storage.

With a car lift, you can now park that second vehicle under your roof. That’s particularly nice in the winter. Your vehicles will no longer require ice and snow removal, plus they’ll start easier on extremely cold mornings (especially if your garage is heated).

black Mercedes on a car lift in a single car garage

3. Off-season garage storage for your prized vehicle

Canadian winters clearly don’t provide ideal weather conditions for operating classic cars or high-end sports cars. Car enthusiasts with limited garage storage space can use a car lift to store their prized vehicle until the warmer weather arrives. This saves you the costly expense of yearly fees for keeping your cherished vehicle in an off-site storage facility.

4. Vehicle maintenance is much easier

If you’re the type who enjoys being hands-on with your vehicle’s care, then you’ll appreciate the versatility of a car lift. Maintenance and repairs on the underside of your vehicle are much easier with the excellent accessibility afforded by a car lift.

If you’re planning to work underneath your vehicle, make sure to purchase a car lift that’s been certified by the ANSI. This ensures your safety.

5. A car lift isn’t just for cars

While they’re called “car lifts”, these useful mechanisms can store much more than just sedans. Car lifts with the proper weight capacity can hold larger vehicles like SUVs, vans, and pickup trucks. They can even be used to store motorcycles and your lawn machinery or snowblower during their off-seasons.

Consider the many benefits of adding a space-saving car lift to your garage. If you think a car lift is right for your garage storage needs, schedule a free consultation with us.

See also: