With the worst snows of winter still to come it’s hard to plan for the day you’ll remove your prized classic car from short-term vehicle storage. Developing a plan for next spring when you roll your ride into your self-storage unit makes the transition easier. Snow, ice and the abundance of road salt frosting Madison WI area highways and back streets make temporary storage for valuable vehicles more and more attractive. Earlier this year we detailed a plan to follow when preparing to roll a car into short-term vehicle storage. Here are thoughts on the best route when the snow melts and temperatures rise.
Short-term vehicle storage ‘coming out’ list
There’s more to getting your prized possession out of self-storage than opening the door and driving away. Review the following and the process will be easier:
- Battery Health – the condition of your car’s battery is the most critical element in getting it back on the road quickly. Not even a really new car battery can be relied upon to hold a charge over the length of a stay in storage. If you left the battery in the car you should expect it to be too weak to start the vehicle. If practical, it should be stored away from the car where a full charge can be maintained. Put it on a charger and get it up to full potential before taking it to the self-storage space. Don’t try to start the vehicle with a weak battery and don’t “jump” it after even short-term vehicle storage.
- When installing the battery take time to check the integrity of cables and terminals – inspect for corrosion and oxidation. Clean connections and replace cables if they are too corroded or insulation is too frayed.
- Engine Oil – no matter how “fresh” the oil was when you rolled the car into storage it has been sitting and degrading for months. It is no longer new and should be changed as soon as practical. Before starting the engine check the oil and add the same brand, weight, etc. if the level has gone down since you shut it off for the last time. It’s simple to check and add oil – the best insurance you have to protect your engine.
- All the Fluids – While you’ve got the hood open, check all the other fluid levels. Sitting in short-term vehicle storage for a few months, coolant, power steering and brake fluid levels can drop through evaporation. Top off any reservoir that needs it.
- Fuel – if you didn’t add a fuel stabilizer to the gas tank when the car went into storage your gas has been degrading and evaporating. Even if you did, consider adding an octane booster and bring fresh, high-octane gas to top off the tank.
TIP FROM A PRO – old gas can clog injectors and filters and will make an engine run “rough.” Adding a fuel stabilizer – the same one you use in your lawn mower is great – will make a big difference. At first, let the engine idle up to operating temperature before driving it away. Filling up with higher octane gas than you normally use is a good way to help “clean out” the gunk.
- Tires – rubber sitting on cement for extended periods will show signs of chemical reactions that weaken the rubber compounds so look for cracks in sidewalls and tread. These blemishes become especially evident when tires lose air pressure. Today’s metal alloy wheels and rims often contract and expand with extreme temperature changes so your tires will need a fresh booth of air to get them back to where they belong – check the desired maximum tire pressures noted on the side of each tire. Correct inflation not only saves your tires, it boosts gas mileage and overall efficiency.
- Look Closely – nothing beats a sound, careful visual inspection when the protective cover comes off. Look for any obvious fluid leaks and check for loose wires or hoses. Look for signs of uninvited guests – mice love to spend the winter under the hood and seem to have an appetite for electrical wires.
TIP FROM A PRO – don’t forget you stuffed a ball of steel wool (or something similar) in the tail pipe to keep critters from crawling in there. Remove it before trying to start the engine.
Secure Self-storage Options Abound
After a season of short-term vehicle storage your special ride is ready to take to the roads again. When winter is past, there are a few basic procedures to review before taking your car out of self-storage. These suggestions on how to make the transition from storage to the open road aim to make the switch smooth and safe.
Call A+ Storage at 608-837-5113 in Sun Prairie or 608-442-7339 in Madison or email us to visit our secure self-storage units and review short-term vehicle storage options in the Madison WI area.