How to Store Your Car for Winter

If you own an exotic or classic car that would get ruined in winter weather, learning how to properly store your car for winter is an important skill. To keep your prized vehicle in good condition during this season, follow this storage routine.

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Fill the Tank

Start by filling the tank till it’s nearly full. If the fuel level is too low, the tank will be at risk of internal rust from condensation and moisture buildup. If you won’t be using the vehicle for over six months, add a fuel stabilizer to your tank before you fill it up. This’ll keep the fuel fresh and prevent it from evaporating and causing corrosion in the engine.

Fuel Stabilizer

Starting at 8.59 $

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NAPA Premium Synthetic Oil

61.99 $

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Top Up Fluids

Next, top up or replace these fluids as needed: the engine oil, antifreeze, windshield washer fluid, and brake fluid. If the levels are too low or the fluids have expired, they can damage the vehicle—even when it’s in storage.

NAPA 50/50 Coolant

Starting at 14.60 $

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Brake Fluid

Starting at 5.29 $

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Give It a Wash

Before storing your car for winter, give it a good wash. We have a full guide on how to wash your car here, but check your local by-laws before you wash your car at home. Some municipalities prohibit the draining of fluids like oil into the sewage system. Others outright forbid car washing in residential areas.

This’ll be the last time you clean your car for a while, so don’t rush it! Aim to start this routine before winter is in full swing. If you’re a bit late, you can still give your car a good wash in the cold.

Don’t forget the car’s interior! Cleaning the interior includes vacuuming the carpets and removing leftover garbage. To ward off moisture, place boxes of baking soda or silica gel on the vehicle floor.

Meguiar’s Deep Crystal Car Wash

16.39 $

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Drying Towels

Starting at 8.79 $

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Check the Tires

Check the air pressure in each tire and repair any punctures. Use a until the tire pressure reading matches the manufacturer’s specifications. You can typically find this information on the inside of the driver-side door.

Storing your vehicle for longer than six months over the winter? Consider using jack stands to take weight off the suspension.

Tire Repair Kit

Starting at 2.19 $

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Tire Inflator

Starting at 22.49 $

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Disconnect the Battery

To keep it in good condition, remove the battery before you store your car for winter. Store the battery in a warm, dry place. Leaving the battery somewhere too cold can cause it to freeze and crack.

Alternatively, you can use a trickle charger or battery maintainer to maintain the battery’s power. Use one with an automatic shutoff feature so it won’t overcharge the battery.

Evercraft - 3-Ton Jack Stands

52.39 $ 42.99 $

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Battery Maintainers and Chargers

Starting at 46.39 $

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Where to Store Your Car

Store your car for winter in a safe, dry space and on a level surface. Ideally, this’ll be inside a garage, an underground parking lot, or a storage facility with a concrete or asphalt floor. Avoid storing your car on gravel or bare earth because your car may sink into the ground, exposing it to moisture and contaminants.

Lastly, seal in the work you’ve done with a car cover. This’ll help protect your car from external damage. Some manufacturers offer covers made specifically for their vehicles, so see if you can find a perfect fit.

If you have to store your car outside, invest in a quality car cover. A plastic tarp can trap moisture and scratch paint.

Keep the car in park if it’s automatic and in neutral if it has a manual transmission. If you’re worried about the car rolling, place wheel chocks behind the tires.

Car Cover

Starting at 100.99 $

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Wheel Chock

Starting at 8.99 $

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Other Tips

Many parts of your car are at a heightened risk of damage during the winter, so whether you decide to store it or keep it in action, be sure to maintain it properly. If you’ve got a trailer, don’t forget to prepare it for winter storage as well.

When it’s time to bring your car back out again in the spring, follow this routine to get it ready for the road.

Any questions? Our auto experts at your local NAPA Auto Parts store will be happy to help.

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