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Time to Put Our Toys Away

European Auto Repair Ann Arbor

It’s sad but true, it’s almost time to put our summer toys away for winter.

For those of us that live in cold weather states, there’s actually a great sense of relief when you finally complete your winter prep and all your summer toys are safely put to bed before the snow comes. Relax; you’ve properly protected your “baby”, and it won’t be long till the snow is waist deep and you’re longing for summer again. That long wait is really the most difficult part of the entire storage process. Practice patience and before you know it, you’ll be cruising down the road again.

A solid garage will keep your car dry and relatively warm, but those conditions can also attract unwanted rodents during the cold winter months. There are plenty of places in your car for critters to hide and even more things for them to destroy.  Prevent them from entering by covering any gaps where a rodent could enter, such as the exhaust pipe, or an air intake.  Steel wool works well for this. Spread dryer sheets or Irish Spring soap shavings inside and moth balls around the perimeter of your vehicle.

If your vehicle is left stationary for too long, the tires could develop flat spots. This happens at a faster rate during colder temperatures, especially with high performance or low-profile tires. If your car is stored for more than 30 days, consider taking off the wheels and placing your car on jack stands at all four corners. Some people may argue that this procedure isn’t good for the vehicle’s suspension. If you don’t want to take that chance, over-inflate the tires just slightly (2-5 pounds) to account for air loss while it hibernates.

An unattended battery will slowly lose its charge and eventually go bad, so you may have to replace the battery in the spring. The easiest low-tech solution is to disconnect the battery cables – the negative (ground) first, then the positive. You’ll likely lose any stereo presets, time and other settings. If you want to keep those settings and ensure that your battery starts the moment you return, purchase a trickle charger. This device hooks up to your battery on one end, and the wall outlet on the other end and delivers just enough electrical power to keep your battery topped up.

Your radiator is another area where fresh fluids will prevent contaminants from slowly wearing down engine parts. If it’s time to flush the radiator fluid, it’s a good idea to have that done before putting your vehicle into winter storage. You should also check your antifreeze before putting your car into storage to make sure you’re good for the lowest winter temperatures.

Before any extended storage period, remember to fill your gas tank to prevent moisture from accumulating and to keep the seals from drying out. You should also add fuel stabilizer to prevent buildup and protect the engine from gunk, varnish and rust.

If you’re storing your vehicle for longer than 30 days, you should consider getting the oil changed. Engine oil has contaminants that can damage the engine and lead to sludge buildup.

An easy step that shouldn't be overlooked is to wash your vehicle. Water stains or bird droppings could permanently damage the paint. Make sure you clean the wheels and undersides of the fenders to get rid of mud, grease and tar. For added protection, give your car a good coat of wax and treat any interior leather with a good conditioner.

Even though your “baby” is stored in a garage and protected from the elements, a car cover is a good idea. It will help protect against spills, dust or scratches.

ArborMotion Are Experts in Domestic, Asian and European Auto Repair in Ann Arbor.

We’d love to be your go-to repair shop to help ensure your car is ready for winter storage. Bring your vehicle to ArborMotion and we’ll have it running in tip-top shape in no time. No question is too big or small. Call ArborMotion at 734-761-1088 to schedule your appointment today!

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