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Taking Your Car Out Of Storage

Taking Your Car Out Of Storage

by A Site Visitor

The sun is shining, the birds are singing, winter has finally retreated into memory (at least for a few months) and you want nothing more than to take your vintage vehicle out of storage and actually drive it. But wait! There's more to taking a car out of winter storage than pulling the tarp off and dropping the top. Following these steps will help you put your cars back on the street safely.

  1. Drain the Fuel. It's important to drain and dispose of any gas left in carburetor float bowls or the gas tank itself, and you should also flush the fuel lines.
  2. Coolant. You'll want to drain the coolant and flush that system, as well. This is because many modern coolants include corrosion inhibitors that have been slowly disintegrating any rust inside your car's cooling system while it's been sitting in storage over the winter. If you don't flush out the system, you could cause a blockage later. When you replace the coolant a 50/50 mix of anti-freeze and water is sufficient.
  3. Oil. Chances are the oil already in the car is contaminated by water and/or acids that can cause rust inside the engine. Don't forget to change the oil filter, as well.
  4. Battery. You should charge the battery. If spring is still chilly where you live, keep the battery warm until you're ready to use it. When you do reinstall it, do so before you put the spark plugs (see step five) back in, and turn the engine over using just the key. Do this several times to allow the lubricant to really coat the cylinder walls and to be certain the oil and fuel pumps are ready. Keep doing this until the oil pressure light goes off.
  5. Cylinders. If your car has been in storage longer than just over the winter, it's a good idea to remove the spark plugs and coat the cylinders with lubricant designed for the upper cylinders. This will loosen any piston rings that may be stuck. Don't replace them until after you've put the battery back in.
  6. Carburetor. After the battery and spark plugs are correctly reinstalled, remove the cover from the air filter, and spray engine starter fluid into the carburetor mouths to ensure a successful first start for you engine.
  7. Brakes. The brakes should be bled, and you'll also want to check that both the brake and clutch master cylinders are full of brake fluid. Check your emergency braking system as well.
  8. Warm it Up. Once you are satisfied that all systems are working correctly, start your car, but don't rev the engine. Instead, let it idle until the engine is warm. Once you do pull out of the garage, check the ground to make sure no fluids were leaking. You'll also want to make sure your first drive is relatively short (about half an hour) and not far from home.
  9. Cleanliness. Wash and wax the car, taking care to give it time to dry before you return to the road, and to clean the interior as well as the exterior.

10.  Drive Safely. Take your newly cleaned car out for a drive, and have fun.

While some of these steps may seem a bit wasteful, it's far better to waste a tank of gas by draining it, than to have a much costlier problem because you didn't take precautions before you hit the open road.  Which may lead to costly car loans on your next ride.

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