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Storing your Classic Vehicle for the Winter

As the cruising season draws to a close, it’s important to remember that maintenance of your vehicle while off the road is just as important as maintenance to keep your vehicle on the road. The measures you take to store your classic for the winter will make a difference for the next season.  This winter be proactive and prevent those sleepless nights during winter storage.  There is no absolute when it comes to the storage process, but a little experience and common sense goes a long way. We can all agree that topping off all fluids and a thorough wash and wax are a crucial part of the process. Another one of the few things most can agree on is storing your vehicle with a full tank of fuel and adding fuel stabilizer. Beyond that, it’s simply a matter of preference.

For instance, we all know the importance of avoiding flat spots on our tires, but which method do you prefer? Do you set the vehicle on jack stands, or do you use race ramps? Or do you inflate your tires to the manufacturer specs, park on concrete, and hope for the best?  There are pros and cons to each method. To keep insects and rodents out we must seal off the exhaust and any air inlets. Do you accomplish this with plastic bags, steel wool, moth balls, or a combination of the methods? Some guys believe in rolling the windows all the way up, while some leave a small opening to prevent condensation from forming.  

The other major concern we must deal with during winter storage is battery life. Some people remove the battery completely, while some disconnect the cables. Either way, when cruising season rolls back around, we often question whether our battery is good. We often wonder, will it hold a charge? Does it need to be replaced? This is especially true if you live in an area where you experience cold winters.

Luckily there is a solution that doesn’t break the bank. The answer is a battery keeper or maintainer. This device is different from a charger. A battery keeper like the Exile EX-1 produced by Retro Manufacturing will charge and maintain your battery for months of worry-free maintenance. The EX-1 keeps your battery in peak shape by providing a conditioning charge any time voltage begins to drop. This “pulse charge” maintains the battery without over-charging the battery, which leads to much longer battery life. It also features an LED battery status indicator so you can easily see your battery’s state of charge. The unit is also waterproof so it can be permanently mounted to your vehicle. Talk about convenient! The Exile EX-1 is perfect for anyone who doesn’t drive their vehicle every day.

Regardless of your methods, we all agree that what we do off the road, is important to keep our rides on the road. Below you’ll find a basic list of things to keep in mind when storing your classic ride for the winter:

  1. Dry location.
  2. Battery maintenance.
  3. Thorough wash and detail. Be careful with the car cover.
  4. Top off fluids/oil change.
  5. Full tank with fuel stabilizer.
  6. Seal off air inlets and exhaust.
  7. Avoid tire flat spots.
  8. Prevent condensation.
  9. Update your insurance information if needed.
  10. Order more parts for next season.

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