Many people in Illinois store their summer vehicles in sheds or garages all winter. This may include RVs, convertibles, and/or large trucks for towing boats and jet skis. Spring maintenance is the time to dust off your vehicles and get them checked head to toe before embarking on your summertime adventures.
There are some steps you should take before putting a vehicle into storage for months on end to help keep it viable. First, you want to clean and wash the vehicle top to bottom, inside and out. Leaving dirt to accumulate can damage your car’s paint, and a dirty interior could tempt insects and other pests to invade your vehicle. Also, make it a point to clean the underside of your car. Any dirt or stuck debris could retain moisture and cause rust.
If you’re going to store the car for longer than 30 days, fill the gas tank before putting it in storage and consider adding a fuel stabilizer. If you’re not going to use the car for several months, a fuel stabilizer helps prevent the engine and fuel lines from corroding. After filling the tank, check your other fluid levels (transmission, power steering, coolant, and wiper fluid) and top them off as necessary. While your vehicle is in storage, you can remove the battery or keep it in the vehicle, but you may want to add a battery tender with a float mode or automatic shut-off feature. These help keep your battery functional without overcharging it.
Next, fill your tires will air to the maximum inflation range but don’t exceed it. As your car sits in storage, temperature changes can cause the tires to lose pressure and filling them will make sure the vehicle is driveable once you’re ready to take it out of storage. You may also want to invest in a secure, close-fitting vehicle cover. For added protection, place steel wool in your exhaust pipe and air intake to deter small animals from making homes inside.
Once it’s time to hit the road, make sure you undo all the storage preparations you did and give your car a thorough inspection. Check for any signs of damage, such as chewed hoses and wires from animals or other pests. Next, make sure your tires are still full to an acceptable PSI. Finally, before starting the vehicle, check your battery for any signs of corrosion and double-check your fluid levels for any signs of leakage. Once you take your vehicle on the road, you should notice any issues you may have overlooked, and if you do, take the car to an auto shop as soon as possible.
While this may seem like a lot of work, it’s important to store your car safely so you can rely on it once you’re ready to take it out of storage and save on spring maintenance work. You can also call Otobots mobile mechanics to help with your springtime vehicle maintenance and for a professional eye to check for any issues you may have missed.