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5 tips to prepare your vintage ride for storage

It’s a sad time of year when those in less temperate climates must tuck their classic cars away from the menaces of salt and bad weather. Here are five quick storage tips to help you make sure your valuable car is not damaged while in storage; keep these in mind and ensure your car is ready for that first glorious spring drive.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2019/10/29/5-tips-to-prepare-your-vintage-ride-for-storage
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I always put dryer sheets under the hood, in the trunk, & in the interior to repel those nasty mices. Ditto for placing steel wool up the exhaust pipes.

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I find that leaving the doors, hood and trunk cracked open (ie. closed, but not tight) keeps the rubber seals in perfect condition. A wipe with a good rubber protection product (like Meguire’s 36) or Vaseline before makes it even better.

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From having a camper I have learned over the years that moth balls leave a terrible smell and dryer sheets just don’t work. For the last 20 years I have used Bay Leaves. Absolutely no problems since I started using them in the camper or either of my cars. And no smell for the people with allergies who can’t stand the dryer sheet smell.
Mick

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How/where so you put the bay leaves? Line the outside of the area you’re trying to protect? Never heard if this and looking for alternatives to the dryer sheet method. TIA.

While I might get changing the oil pre-storage because of use and maybe your impurities argument, but why after storage. Clearly there aren’t any impurities from use and more than a few papers have noted new oil doesn’t necessarily hit it’s stride until in the engine and used for a while.

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I’m SOOOO glad I moved to the South…driving season is just starting for me, as I’ve found I use the car less June-August/September, and more the rest of the year. DO NOT miss all the $h1tty snow and ice either.

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When storing your vehicle, try to do so with a full gas tank to minimize condensation and corrosion. Then, add fuel stabilizer and run the engine for a few minutes to get some of the stabilizer into the complete fuel system. And, even while your classic is in storage, it will be good if you can start the engine from time to time, and at least move it back and forth a few feet, and if you can drive it around the block on a clear day and get it warmed up, all the better. And by the way, thanks for everyone’s suggestion. Has anyone found a way to keep rodents away?

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I live on a farm and have to fight mice too. What works for me, and I can give plenty of anecdotal evidence to support it, is something I heard about but was skeptical about. It is original Irish Spring soap. I cut the bars in half with an axe or run them across a band saw and distribute a few halves in the cabs, one piece on either side of under the hood, and in the case of our camper trailer, a piece in every storage compartment underneath and maybe four pieces in the inside too. Skeptical as I was, I havent found one small piece of evidence there have been any mice inside. This works in hay barns where there are lots of critters as well as where I store my more important vehicles too. The smell of this soap is strong. In the spring, when I remove the soap (keep it in a bag for next season), a day or so of fresh air leaves no trace of the smell of the soap. Im sold on it.

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Thanks for the reminder! When we once lived in rural area, we used Irish Spring (or something like it) to keep deer out of our gardens. It worked for that, too!

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@revsam937 - I am reluctant to run my engines during storage because it creates condensation on many of the metal surfaces in the engine and exhaust. I haven’t had any trouble since I have started putting my engines down for the season and not starting them til spring. Purely anecdotal though, I have no science to show behind my understanding.

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Condensation is one reason why I mentioned getting everything thoroughly warmed up. I live in SE Michigan and there are frequently times when I can drive my vehicle enough to do that, without going out on roads where salt has been used. If you can’t get the engine, etc. up to normal operating temperature, then don’t do this.

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if possible, place your car up on jacks 6" off the floor, high enough that the mice cannot enter, I tried dryer sheets, didn’t work for me, another idea I heard was to leave your trunk, hood, etc open to let light enter your vehicle…mice will only build nests in dark areas…so I am told

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Filling your tank up makes sense if you can do so with Ethanol free fuel. Otherwise it is a bad idea. Ethanol just doesn’t last through the winter. You will end up with a tank full of inferior fuel.
I have a zero turn mower with 2 tanks. At the end of the winter, one tank was empty, and the other was half full. I treated the 1/2 full tank with Stabil in the fall. Come spring, I put fresh gas in the empty tank and then started mowing using the old gas in the 1/2 full tank. When I ran out of gas and switched to the fresh gas, I noticed at least a 25% increase in HP. You could even tell where I switched tanks by looking at the grass.

Cotton balls soaked in peppermint oil for engine compartment and trunk. Moth balls in engine compartment. Dryer sheets and Irish spring I passenger compartment. Tennis ball in tailpipe(s). Have kept the varmints away!

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I’ve worked in the oil business for my entire 30+ year career, and I’ve seen the recommendations about lubricant servicing evolve over time. Surely you remember the 2k intervals from the old days; today it’s 7,500 miles if not more. That said, I doubt very much that serious collectors change the oil every year. Or personally speaking, I’m now changing oil every few years on my vehicles, and on my ATV, for example, which gets used about 2 hrs. yearly, I might go a decade or more. If I changed the oil on every vehicle I owned, it would cost roughly two grand per year. For that price a guy doesn’t really have anything to lose because if, and it’s never happened to me, an engine-related problem does evolve and that was caused by the oil, I’ve already saved enough to pay for it.

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Holy moly fcbest! I think I had better call an exorcist and smudge my garage with sage, too.

I like your ideas of multiple point attacks, but I treat vermin as invaders, so I kill them with the old Victor mousetraps and throw their rodent cadavers outside the garage door as a warning to their mousey brethren.

Ethanol is an issue with all engines. Unfortunately it is difficult to find in many states. Draining the fuel out of the tank you also need to run the engine out fuel as well which can cause some of the seals and gaskets to dry out. Chain saws and grass trimmers can be drained and run out fuel easily. My cars, boats and etc I make sure the fuel is fresh and stabilized. Once a month I start the cars and bring them up to temperature and move the vehicle so it sits on a different location on the tire preventing flat spots. Cleaning, waxing and covering the vehicle protects the paint. If more than 500 miles has been put on the vehicle the oil is changed due to acid deposits in the oil after use. I find the fuel injected cars are not as sensitive to ethanol phase separation of a small amount. The fuel will hold up with stabilization for 6 months if it is fresh. Faze separation happens when the vehicle sits and the fuel is not moved around in the tank. If there is a clear day with dry roads I will take the vehicle around the block helping the differential and transmission fluids to move though the components. I have tried moth balls and dryer sheets with limited success. I will have to try Iris spring. Coating the rubber seals with vegetable oil works well. I always hate putting the vehicles up for the winter, but starting them once a month helps me imagine me driving them again.

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Correction! It is difficult find Non Ethanol fuel in many states and now they are introducing 15% Ethanol.

And don’t forget to disconnect your battery!

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