Storing a Z Car
Location and Misc.
location where you can check over the car.
maintain adequate insurance coverage for fire, theft, tree's crashing...
Check for items
that can fall on car, leak on car, or cause other damage and resolve.
location is flat, dry and well ventilated. In
choosing location for storage, remember that moisture, rodents, and direct
sunlight are the enemies, to varying degrees in different parts of the
Prep. and Last Ride
- Change oil and filter; do lube job.
- Top up all fluids. Flush clutch and brake
fluids if they are dark or you feel spanky.
- Check that engine coolant has 50-50 mixture,
or that coolant is good for 35-below temperature.
- A day or two before storage, wash car and flush
with generous quantities of water: the undercarriage, behind inner front
fender liners, inside rocker panels (being sure that all drain holes
- Clean all painted surfaces, use touch-up paint
as needed, and wax the exterior and door jams, under the hood and trunk lid,
- Ride the brakes and clutch a bit to work out
- Fill up gas and add gas treatment/stabilizer
(that does not contain alcohol).
- Use rust prevention gel to spray and lube door
hinges and all latches and lock mechanisms.
- Spray all the chrome pieces with rust
prevention spray. (Bumpers, mouldings, door handles etc).
- Spray your wheels and rims with rust
prevention spray. Dab a bit
of rust prevention spray on
any paint chips.
- Place plastic sheeting/vapour barrier under
car to prevent moisture from rising out of floor/ground into car.
- When car is parked in storage location. Remove
plugs and crank engine at starter to flow oil through engine.
- Use a rubber/vinyl cleaner-conditioner on all
vinyl and on rubber gaskets, seals, and other rubber parts.
- Lubricate door window channels and tracks with
silicon (on power windows, keep silicon away from electrical contacts and
use white lithium in the metal tracks).
- Stuff rags (or crumpled foil should foil
rag-eating rodents) tightly into tailpipe in order to keep out rodents.
- Tape a note to the steering wheel that reminds
you to unplug the pipes before trying to start in the spring.
- Jack up car and store on blocks under the jack
points; this takes weight off springs, shocks, and tires. (but don't let
suspension hang! leave some weight on wheels)
(Alternative: Store car with at least 40 pounds of air in tires, to minimize
flat spotting of tires.)
Transmission in neutral and
parking brake off. (Some recommend that you also depress the clutch pedal by
using a stick between base of driver's seat and the pedal; however, no one
has seen a sticking clutch pedal and some experts question whether you
should follow this step, which would put the linkage under stress.)
Open vents and windows or doors
(slightly) to prevent moisture build up.
- You can buy a huge bag of desiccant gel from
several auto outlets, this is a bigger version of what they put inside
cameras when they ship. This absorbs excess moisture in the air.
Put them in a pie tin on the floor of the car. Take them out about
once a month and dry them out in a warm oven (follow the instructions).
- Lift wipers and dust blades with talc.
- Cover car with a breathable cloth cover (not
plastic) only if it will not be disturbed by wind and cause abrasion.
- Where mice are a problem, a few mothballs
placed in the car will discourage the building of nests. (may stink up car
to, so placing moth balls under car on foil in logical locations may be an
- Disconnect battery and store it where
temperature is above freezing and NOT on a concrete floor. (Be sure to
record any radio code, which you will need to re-enter when reconnecting
- An alternative approach, at least with indoor
storage, is to leave battery in car and use a trickle charger set at 2 amps,
approximately once each month.
- An even better approach is to use a timer on
the charger, set weekly. Best of all is use of an automatic trickle charger
which is attached to the battery, plugged in, and then forgotten.
- It does NOT work to start the car up weekly or
monthly when it is in storage.
- Check the floor under your car for signs of
possible oil, brake, fluid or coolant leaks
- Check and top up as required - battery,
coolant, brake fluid and oil levels
- Check tire pressures
- Run car for at least 30min only if you have an
air conditioner and run that for a few minutes. IMPORTANT!!!!! It is far
better to let your car sit for four or five months without starting it, than
to start it once a week, or once a month and let it sit for 10 minutes.
NEVER start your car unless you plan on driving it on the highway for at
least 1/2 hour and get it to full operating temp. doing otherwise will
just load the engine and exhaust with moisture to start rust etc. Plus
the colder the day, the more mice/cats etc like a nice warm engine to make
home! However, keep in mind that the rubber O rings in the AC system
are lubricated with freon as the system runs. Might be a good idea to
take the car out during a nice spell and run the ac or defroster for a half
hour or longer once or twice per season.
- If your car has a manual transmission, depress
the clutch pedal several times
- Depress the brake pedal several times
- Turn steering wheel from side to side
- Move your car so that each wheel revolves a
few times. (if on wheels) and store in different spot to prevent flat spots.
Putting Back in Service
- Remove plugs and crank engine at starter to
flow oil through engine until a good and
steady oil pressure. This will take 45 seconds or so. Install plugs and away
- Check for leaks and proper vehicle
- Replace all fluids.