Winter storage tips

Mothballing 101


Wash and wax the car (good time for a clay treatment!!), then cover it with an automotive car cover. Make sure your storage is DRY.


Make sure all your vent controls are closed. System set to recycled air. Rodent nests in heater boxes can be a pain. Vacuum out the interior and make sure you get all the french fries and candy wrappers out from under the seats so as not to arrtact rodents. Leave mouse traps and/or poison around the car as mice do severe damage to wiring. Place a desiccant of some sort on the passenger floor, preferrably on top of a barrier of some sort just to make sure they chemicals don't discolor your carpet. Some people use mothballs to keep persistent rodents away but complain about the chemical smell when the car is revived. Apparently, dryer sheets have the same deterrent effect and give your car that nice "mountain fresh" (or whatever) smell. Either way, anything smells better than old rodent carcasses decomposing in your vents


Put the battery on a battery maintainer (not a trickle charger, but a true maintainer). If you do this, you don't have to disconnect it. If you don't use a maintainer, disconnect the battery and then FULLY charge it with a 1-2 amp charger. Check/replenish the electrolyte level with distilled water. A typical well-maintained battery should last a good 5 to 6 years.


Some folks use a set of junk tires for storage purposes so they don't have to worry about flat-spotting. Others over-inflate to about 50 lbs and put two sheets of cardboard or wood sheets under each tire, rolling the car back or forward a foot or two once a month by pushing it. Another popular alternative is to put the car on jackstands. It seems that most people misunderstand this to mean putting the car up and letting the suspension hang fully uncompressed. The correct procedure for storing a car on jack stands is to support the car under the control arms so the suspension remains loaded.


Fill fuel tank, but do not top it off. When the pump clicks off, stop filling. If you add fuel stabilizer, follow the directions on the bottle. Drive car a bit to ensure stabilizer is well-circulated.


Check your coolant freeze point and Ph. Flush/install fresh coolant if necessary. New coolant/distilled water has a Ph of maybe 8.5-9. If you flush/refill, take a ride with the heater on to ensure you are putting the new stuff into the heater core. Store the car in second or fourth gear to prevent corrosion on the selector rod.


Do not set the handbrake as the shoes can (probably will) seize. This is also the perfect time for your once a year brake fluid change! Remember that brake fluid attracts moisture. This can be even more devistating during long periods of inactivity such as winter storage.

To start or not to start?

There really is no need to start the car and let it run stationary because it can actually do more harm than good. If you really feel like you have to run the car, you must run it long enough to get up to normal operating temperature. And don't forget to run ducting from the exhaust to outside the garage!!! Ideally, the thing to do is to pick a nice day at least once a month and go for a drive of no less than 10 miles. Brett Anderson of Koala Motorsport advises that the E30 M3 is just fine not being started at all for 3 months or so at a time.



Spring is here - time to revive the beast!

Change the oil and filter
Check tire pressures
Check/install battery
Check fuel level
Remove desiccants/mothballs/dryer sheets
Check vents/blower/heater/AC,
Fly down the interstate, grinning ear to ear.



Thanks to Vic Lucariello, Brett Anderson, Don Fields, Mario Langsten


Bay Area ///Motorsport