Getting Your Car Ready For Winter
by Pat Goss
Most of us have either toys or tools that only get seasonal use, the rest of the time they have to be prepared for proper dis-use or lay-up, and that means if you have a liquid-cooled engine you want to make sure that you have a good clean mix of coolant of the proper type in the cooling system and you want to have fresh oil in it.
You never want to lay anything up with dirty oil because the dirty oil can etch bearings and things like that. Fresh oil filter, brake fluid, if it has hydraulic brakes, you want fresh brake fluid in it because brake fluid absorbs moisture, and when the vehicle isn’t being used there’s no heat to dissipate that moisture, so it can do a lot of damage.
Also you want to look in the owner’s or the maintenance manual that goes with the vehicle because there may well be special instructions for things that you should be doing to it for proper lay-up.
The next thing is the fuel system. We always have to treat the fuel in a vehicle especially because most of us these days are experiencing the affects of ethanol in our gas, and ethanol can do a lot of damage if it isn’t maintained properly, so the fuel tank should be full. The reason it should be full is because if there is metal or plastic that is exposed to the air you get more condensation, and more condensation means more water in the fuel system and that means more damage. Use a fuel stabilizer with the appropriate amount for the tank. Make sure the tank is full and run it for 10 to 15 minutes so that the stabilized fuel is dispersed completely through the fuel system.
Now you also want to protect the insides of the engine and that means that you want fogging oil. Follow the directions on the label but remember you don’t do this in the garage because this produces huge amounts of very stinky smoke so do it outside or make sure that you have an exhaust hose on the vehicle.
And finally if it has tires, you want the tires off the ground so they don’t flat spot and get damaged through the sitting. That means that you want jack stands as close to each wheel as is possible because you want the springs to be compressed so they aren’t damaged.
If you have a question or comment, write to me or send me a DVD video of your question and you might see yourself on TV.
The address is MotorWeek, Owings Mills, MD, 21117.