Time for some thoughts on Winter Storage:
People are often asking me the best way to store a classic car over the winter months. This is a difficult question because it depends on whether you intend to use the car occasionally during the winter months when the roads are still dry with no salt or whether you intend to store the car for several months without use.
Very simple advice which covers most situations follows. Firstly you will need a good quality battery conditioner, note not a battery charger. A battery charger will continually charge your battery, even when fully charged, as most of them do not have a sensor to monitor battery condition. These type of chargers will eventually damage your battery. You need something like a CTEK charger which can monitor battery condition and alter the charge to suit the battery and temperature in your garage. Temperature is another important factor in your garage because batteries do not like cold conditions. If you intend to store the car for several months then you should remove the battery completely and store it in your house, but you would still need to keep it charged, (this can also acts a theft deterrent!)
A few other obvious things: inflate the tyres by at least another .5 bar. Have your mechanic check that your anti-freeze is strong enough, we now use Evans cooling liquid in all of our customer cars which replaces the water just like normal anti-freeze, however Evans liquid boils at a much higher temperature than water and most anti-freeze solutions. Because Evans cooling does not contain any water it does not create pressure in your cooling system, this not only reduces the chances of leaks but also reduces the running temperature of your cooling system by an average of 15 degree C and living in the South West of France with our 38/40 degree c summer months this is a bonus.
If you intend to store your car for any length of time over the winter, then it is very important to run the engine approximately every 2 weeks. Be sure to run the engine up to full operating temperature, if you only run the engine for several minutes then this will create condensation inside the engine and this will do more damage than not running it at all. A positive sign that your engine is up to temperature is when your cooling fan operates, or alternatively if your engine does not run an auxiliary cooling fan just look at your water temperature gauge.
When storing the car do not leave the parking brake on, leave the car in gear and when running the engine operate the clutch several times to avoid problems there. Ideally you should also use a good quality car cover unless your garage is dust free and dry!
This article is written as a guide and you should only undertake these jobs if you feel confident to do so, otherwise they should be performed by an experienced mechanic. Andreas and or Garage Andreas do not accept any responsibility for damage, injury or loss resulting from this article.