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Put it away right

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If you’re ready to pack it in for a long winter’s nap, let’s not forget the eye candy that’s left out in the garage. Once there’s salt on the road then the toys need to go back into the toy box for safe keeping. There’s a list of to do’s that anyone with a seasonal vehicle should be familiar with and it’s that time of year to check things off once again. Where will your vehicle be stored? If you’re from the northern part of the country, or anywhere for that matter, the best answer to that question is inside. Your vehicle needs to be out of the elements and secure inside some kind of structure. If you have a heated garage then your worries are all but over, for the rest of you there are other options including a rented storage facility or a relative’s garage. Putting a car cover over an expensive paint job and hoping for the best is not going to cut it, if you can afford to have a toy then you should be able to care for it properly.

Fill the gas tank to the top; this should prevent condensation in the tank. Condensation, over the years, will cause rust inside the gas tank and could even rot through causing a fuel leak. Not only will there be a mess there will also be, no doubt, some amount of rust in the fuel system. Using a fuel additive such as Sta-Bil will help keep the gas fresh enough to use when it’s time to resuscitate. Make sure that the storage area is free of rodents, they will chew through anything! This includes the seats, wiring harness and carpeting and they will nest in any of the dozens of hiding places of a sleeping vehicle. It wouldn’t be the first time that a car couldn’t start because of a mouse nest in the exhaust system! Also, keep some kind of moisture absorber in and around the vehicle. They are available in bags or margarine size tubs and using one inside the passenger compartment, one in the trunk and one underneath will definitely make a difference.

Disconnect the battery or put it on a trickle charger, this way the battery will not drain completely and become so strained that it may be rendered useless and unsalvageable. It is also a good idea to start and run the vehicle periodically throughout the winter months if at all possible. Letting the car come up to temperature after about ten minutes of idle time will keep the charging system in order, it is also a good time to see if anything unfortunate has developed mechanically. Before starting, check for leaks of any kind and make sure that there is enough oil in the crankcase.

Finally, many have debated whether they should leave the tires on the car or remove them and place the suspension on blocks or jack stands. For the minimal amount of downtime during the winter it’s best to leave it on the tires. If the tires are good there should be no “flat spotting” from the weight resting on the same spot of the tires. When you warm up the car once or twice a month it would be a good idea to move the car at that time about twenty five feet. This will not only move the tires but the grease in the wheel bearings as well. If the roads aren’t salted and the car or bike is still registered then, by all means, go for a ride.

Down time is a good time to clean, repair and replace. If there’s a reasonable size project for the vehicle that you’ve had in mind then go get started. It’s only a few months until spring!

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