A Long Winter's Nap - Storing Your Car

Attention to Detail: A Long Winter's Nap- Storing Your Car

As winter approaches, so does the time when many of us put some of our beloved car's into hibernation. But before we put them away, we must take some steps to ensure they stay in perfect condition (or at least don't get any worse). We will focus on cleaning and conditioning as we will leave the mechanicals to our tech gurus.

To sum up the correct preparation for the car's long winter's nap in one word, it's cleanliness. Removal of all contaminants and stains are crucial as they must not dwell in or on the car for months.

Wheels are the first item in our cleaning process. To clean them right, remove them from the car and clean the inside as well as the outside. The insides can be a challenge to clean because of the buildup of brake dust and other contaminants so make sure you have the proper (effective) wheel cleaner so you don't waste a whole day in frustration. Finally, wax them with a paint sealant or synthetic wax for durability, rather than a carnauba wax. While you have the wheels off, take some time to wash the wheel wells, brake assembly (making sure the brakes are cooled off) and undercarriage. This is where a pressure washer really pays off. Finally, dress the wheel well plastic (the DyNA Concours Tire Treatment is a good choice or an equivalent dressing or wax).

The next step is to prepare the paint, windows and glass. Paint must be thoroughly cleaned, or else the contaminants will have many months to attack the finish. Remove all tree sap (use rubbing alcohol), bird droppings, bugs and road tar (use the DyNA Ultimate Cleaner). Acid rain and water spots must be polished out from the glass as well as the paint (see our "Water Spots" article on our website). They will only get worse during your car's hibernation. After you've cleaned your paint and glass, it's time to wax the paint to protect it (try the DyNA Brilliance). The final step on the exterior is to condition all the rubber, bumpers as well as moldings.

Next, we move to the interior. All spots and stains must be removed from carpets, fabric, vinyl and leather. Just like your laundry, the longer a stain has time to set, the tougher it will be to remove. Vacuum the interior thoroughly (don't forget to get into the seat cracks where crumbs and dust collect) and shampoo the carpets and fabric (we suggest the DyNA Carpet Shampoo), taking caution not to soak them. Since your car has a leather interior, this is the time to give it a thorough cleaning and conditioning with a high quality leather conditioner (meaning one that will penetrate thoroughly and NOT a vinyl conditioner that claims it will do leather too). Allow the preparation to feed the leather during the storage period and do not wipe or rub off the excess. Make sure you only use the highest quality conditioner so call if you need recommendations for your application. If your seats are very dry and have become hard (BMW leather tends to do this as well as older Porsche models), this is the perfect opportunity to recondition and soften them up, since no one is going to sit on them for some time. If you wish, dress the vinyl surfaces with a quality vinyl dressing. I also suggest properly putting in some bags of dessicant (always put the dessicant in a dish, never directly on leather or the carpet) or using an electric dehumidifier to keep the carpets and fabric dry. If you've shampooed the interior, make sure that the interior has dried thoroughly before storing the car.

Now, you're probably wondering whether to use a cover or not. The answer is yes, but will you keep the car indoors or outdoors? That will determine which cover to use. For interior storage, I recommend an indoor custom car cover made of a satin fabric, which is the SOFTEST fabric available, and has Lycra yarns to hug every contour of a vehicle with blind stitching which results in invisible seams. For outdoor storage, I recommend an advanced micro-fiber Custom Car Cover material made of a microscopic yarn that is UNCOATED and UNTREATED which means that even after months or years of use, it will have the same properties of being waterproof and breathable! Both recommended covers are made by the same manufacturer who also makes the factory Porsche car covers and come in a variety of colors to match your car. We are an authorized dealer for them so call for a consultation or read about them here. Also available are sealable bags that cars can be driven into which act like Ziploc® food bags which work very well also but to the best of my knowledge are for indoor use only.

  1. Additional Tips on Winter Storage:
  2. Plug the exhaust to prevent rodents from making a home in your tailpipes (just don't forget to unplug them in the spring).
  3. Close all windows, install the targa tops and close the convertible tops completely.
  4. Heat your garage if possible.
  5. Top off your fuel and add a fuel stabilizer for longer storage periods.
  6. Start the car and move it now and then to prevent flat-spotting your tires; or lift your car off the ground.
  7. Overinflate the tires by about five p.s.i.
  8. Disconnect the battery and or use a trickle charger.