Weekly Hack: Storing the car for winter

By Robert MacMillan/Shutterstock

Leaving an extra ride at the cottage this winter? If you can’t keep it in a solid, walled structure, at least protect it with a breathable car cover. But before that, be sure to:

*Change the oil and oil filter.

*Top up the liquid stuff: coolant, transmission fluid, and fuel (you want to reduce the amount of empty space where condensation can build up).

*Add fuel stabilizer.

*Ward off tire compression. Putting the car on jack stands, or removing the tires entirely, are the best ways to prevent “flatspotting” (when, thanks to the weight of the car, the tires becomes soft or stiff in spots, and therefore, less round). If you can’t do that, definitely inflate the tires to the correct pressure, or slightly over. Test the PSI on a chilly day; tire pressure drops in the cold because cold air takes up less space.

*Remove the battery and store it—somewhere away from extreme heat or cold.

*Use plastic wrap on the windshield; this keeps the wiper blades from sticking to the glass.

*Rodent-proof with every trick and tool that you can think of. Remove food or garbage, plug any openings, and take out the air filter—it’s highly chewable to a mouse or squirrel.

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