Question of the Week: How do you get your car out of storage?


Those living in America’s Snowbelt have been patiently waiting for the spring thaw, and soon the countdown to driving season will be over. With the worst of the winter weather over, gearheads are awaiting a few good rainstorms to wash the salt away before spinning that starter and enjoying the first drive of the 2019 season. But before taking to the road, inspect your car to be sure it is ready.

If you’ve stored your vehicle properly, spring can be a joyful time. Turning the key and driving out of the garage to find your favorite road is a glorious escape from months of darkness and cold. If your car was stored improperly, you’ll need to run through a much longer checklist before you can make sure your ride is indeed ready for action.

What do you do to get your car ready for driving season? Whether you do a thorough once-over or just pull the cover off, it’s the time of year to start thinking about getting back behind the wheel.

pinned globally #2

Remove the cover, dissconnect the battery tender, check the fluids, & air the tires. Living in Oregon, snow & salt rsidue are less of a concern.


Unplug the battery tender, dust it off with a California duster, check fluids, add coolant (it vaporizes here in Arizona), run the water pump to distribute the coolant and check for functionality, check the tires, crank the starter with the ignition off and foot off clutch (to save the thrust bearing) until I see full oil pressure (I added a switch years ago), then add fuel and ignition, and see what happens.
This is the prestart routine for every time, since we drive it often, except July and August when it’s just too hot for me, but other than the cover it’s always “in storage” but ready to run.


First, I wash the underside of the car. The rest was cleaned/polished when I put it away. Remove the cover, check the fluids & air in the tires, connect the battery, disconnect the power to the distributor, turn the motor over a couple of times until the oil pressure starts to build, plug in the fuse for the electric fuel pump, plug in the power to the distributor and fire it up.


Now that’s a garage to die for! Who’s garage is that? I can only dream of one like that.


I have started the car several times all the winter. Charged battery every week. Before I start cruising my '76 Cadillac Eldorado I will change the oil, brake fluid, cooling water, grease the ball joints. This year the car will get new tires. I also have to check the ignition timing and the idle of the carburator. I hope for a long warm summer in open car.


We had our 93 Z 28 out from Wilmette to nearby Wisconsin back roads. However the pot holes in our region a large and treacherous. We saw at least two cars on the side of US 41 with a front wheel collapsed from a suspension failure. We are running coil over gas shocks and took a few of those nasty road defects safely but beware.

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Wait for warm dry day to pull the cover off, Dust the car off disconnect the charger and spend several minutes collecting the dryer strips scattered around the interior and trunk. Deflate the tires and pump the gas fifteen times and turn the key Wait for sound of slumbering horsepower coming to life for the first time in months. Same ritual for the past 54 years. Must be doing something right!

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Well, if you live in N. MI. first you pray it is earlier then mid MAY when you can get it out!

Assuming there IS a warmish “sunny day” I remove the cover, pull the containers of mothballs from underneath, jack it up, pull the jack stands and drop it onto the garage floor. Do a FULL pressures,fluids,exterior,and interior inspection. Check for any leaks etc. then push out of the garage, install the battery that has sat in a heated environment on a maintainer, and fire it up. Let the smoke from fogging clear, let warm up and do a drive around the block, turing everything on / off, come back park and check for leaks etc. Then tell the wife to drive her car to operating temperature while stepping on it a few times… 1977 Trans AM. Lastly pray again for a little summer. God Help Us.


Like the Ing. kill switch idea, good one.


Thanks. I came up with the idea when I’d have to leave the car on the pier when I’d go to sea for short jaunts. The switches are in a removable box, I’d unplug it and stick it in my locker until we got back. I also took the steering wheel. No fuel, no ignition, no starter, no wheel, no steal.


If my hot rod has been stored for 6 months or more then I remove the distributor(Chev 305 engine). Then I insert a tool that I made up to turn the oil pump using an electric drill to pump up the pressure before even thinking about turning the engine over. Those crucial few seconds of tuning the crank, pistons, ect. dry can cause lots of damage. Then I replace the distributor & fire it up. Sure I have to set the timing again but I’d rather do that then damage the engine…

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Fortunately, mine sits in a heated garage all winter, I think that is an advantage. That said…

  1. Remove car cover
  2. Disconnect battery tender
  3. Check air in tires
  4. Check oil/antifreeze
  5. Start it up, let run for about 2 minutes, then drive around the neighborhood a couple of times to make sure brakes are good, runs well, listen for any new noises. Address as necessary.
  6. Repeat step 4
  7. Go fill it up (I store with 1/2 tank and Stabil 360)
  8. Hit the highway for a solid 45-60 minute drive all over the RPM scale
  9. Top off gas one more time to dilute Stabil
  10. Go home and detail it.

I live in Tampa, so I don’t have to deal with any of this crap. I drive 'em year round!

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No California Duster. I find too many scratches.


I store with a full tank and Stabil so that there is less chance of water condensation as the temperatures fluctuate,

Then after all the other suggestions here I run that tank almost dry and fill with fresh gas of your choosing.


WOW! Sounds like a potentially BAD area! LOL My situation is inside stored under lock and key, in a “safe zone”

I especially like the ability to turn the engine over to get oil pressure up, as my car is solid lifters. Thanks again for sharing.

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I have two Avantis in winter storage about 24 miles away from my house. Both are under cover in an unheated weather proofed building. Both have full tanks with stabil added. One will be towed back to a garage this Spring as the throttle started sticking on it when I drove it to the storage last Fall and I want to make sure the problem is corrected before driving it this season. Both were started a month ago and started right up. No battery tenders, batteries are disconnected while in storage.

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Stored In A Unheated Storage Barn

  1. Remove Car Cover
  2. Re-Connect Battery
  3. Check Fluids, Gather Rodent Pellets (Never Had A Problem)
  4. Start Her Up (Let Run 5 Minutes)
  5. Check Tire Pressure
  6. Check For Any Leaks/Unusual Noises
  7. Remove Car From Facility
  8. Gather Tarp That Car Was Stored On (Since This Is A Dirt Floor It’s Advised To Lay A Tarp Down On The Spot Your Parked In To Absorb Moisture)
  9. Drive Home At Constant Speed Of 45-55 MPH, Listening For Any Unusual Sounds/Noises
  10. Wash Car
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