10 Tips for Storing a Collector Car

Cropped Vintage car in garage for winterNo one has to tell you how important your collector car is.  You’ve likely put a lot of time into it and have a lot pride when you’re behind the wheel.  When you’re not showing it, or taking it through a local hot rod/muscle/collector car cruise, you want to protect your car and keep it pristine.  In the off months, especially if you live in a region with a harsh winter climate or wet season, you need to take extra precautions.

Fill the gas tank and use STA-BIL® Fuel Stabilizer – Fuel doesn’t last forever; it will break down over time regardless of the type of fuel you use in your collector car.  Old fuel can gum up fuel lines as well as carburetors and fuel injectors.  Draining the tank dry isn’t the ideal option, especially in a moist climate.  Moisture can build up in the tank and corrode the bare metal, dry out gaskets and lead to a leaky system.

Your best approach is to drain old fuel, put in fresh fuel to just over 90% full.  After filling your tank nearly full, add STA-BIL® Fuel Stabilizer, then run you car for 5 minutes in order to move the STA-BIL® through your fuel system. The stabilizer will give your fuel a longer “shelf-life” before it starts breaking down.  Just one 10 ounce bottle can treat up to 25 gallons of fuel.

Replace Essential Fluids

Engine Oil ChangeEngine oil in your vehicle isn’t just a lubricant.  It’s meant to collect all the waste that is created during the combustion process as well.  In addition to these trapped particles, unburned fuel, gases and water vapor are also trapped inside your engine while it’s stored.  Like fuel, the motor oil and transmission fluid will break down and can lead to the corroding of the engine interior.

Before you store your collector car, change the oil and flush the transmission fluid.

Lubricate Your Car

Lubricants throughout your vehicle eventually break down, especially around hinges, latches and locks.  For your hood latches and door locks it’s recommended that you lubricate them with a graphite-based cable lube or Dri-Slide.  Remember to completely clean and wipe away any grease, dirt and sand with a clean rag before you lubricate.

Smart Battery Maintenance

A battery left to sit with a car in storage will eventually lose its charge.  To avoid this, hook a smart trickle charger up to the battery.  The smart trickle charger, like a Battery Tender, will turn itself on and off so that the batter never overcharges.

Cover Your Tires

tires in storageYou have a few options when it comes to taking care of your tires.  Some automotive enthusiasts will set the correct tire pressure and simply cover the wheels & tires.  Another approach is to raise the collector car and place jack stands under the suspension joints.  The tires are then covered (as sunlight can damage the tire) and stored individually with the car away from the elements. It’s also recommended that you treat them before storage to help prevent tire dry rot.  A protectant like 303®Aerospace Protectant can safeguard and detail your tires before storage.

Depress the clutch and lock in position

Clutch plates can become stuck when a vehicle is placed in storage for an extended period.  When you’re finalizing your vehicle storage, depress the clutch and lock it in position using a solid block or piece of 2×4 that’s butted against the seat frame.

Detail the Car

This is the most time consuming part of storing your collector car.  You need to thoroughly go over the exterior of your vehicle to protect the paint job.  This includes washing, drying and waxing your car.

When the engine is cool go from end to end and remove any road grime, stains, road tar, bugs and other debris from painted surfaces, chrome parts and the wheels.  Finish the detail with a quality polish to painted and metal surfaces.  This final polish coat will help protect your paint job from damaging UV rays.

Store Vehicle Inside

Old car in storageStoring a collector car indoors, in a temperature controlled environment, is the best option to keep it pristine.  If this isn’t available then you should get a form-fitting car cover.  Select one that is designed for long-term storage and is breathable, even if you’re only storing the car for a short amount of time.

If storing the vehicle indoors, you should still have a vehicle cover to protect it.  Just make sure you use a collector car cover designed for indoor storage.

When you’re ready to store your car, read over this car and truck vehicle storage checklist.

Store In a Low-Traffic Area

Accidents happen, especially around a workshop, garage or an area where people & other vehicle regularly pass.  Don’t risk damage to your vehicle; store it away from these areas.

Use Baking Soda to Absorb Moisture

A little natural moisture in the air isn’t bad for a vehicle, but if you live in a humid climate or there’s a lot of precipitation, then excess trapped moisture can cause problems.  Use a few open boxes of baking soda throughout your vehicle to help absorb and control excess moisture – and control odor.

Seal exhaust

Even with indoor storage and a car cover you could end up with critters in your vehicle using it as a safe house against the weather.  Place caps on your exhaust pipes to prevent this.  Also, place mothballs in the undercarriage, engine compartment and inside the dash to repel vermin.