How should I prepare my car to be stored through the winter?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Oct 01, 1993

Dear Tom and Ray:

Aloha! I live in Hawaii, but travel to Vermont in the summer, and have a car that I leave in Vermont. It's a 1985 Subaru 4WD wagon. Every year, it sits through the freezing winter. I have taken the battery out, topped it off with gas, and left it in a friend's yard. Did I forget to do anything?

TOM: Removing the battery was a good idea. But before you topped it off with gas, I would have added a gasoline stabilizer (like Sta-Bil), and then run the engine for twenty or thirty minutes. Running it ensures that the stabilizer works its way through the entire fuel system.

RAY: And next time you store the car, you can add a few additional steps. After you take the battery out, you can remove the spark plugs, and squirt a little motor oil into each one of the cylinders. Then screw the plugs back in and crank the engine for a few seconds. That will splash a protective coat of oil onto the cylinder walls.

TOM: It's also a good idea to plug up the openings where moisture and little varmits can get into the engine and cause trouble. You can do this by taking plastic bags and covering up the tail pipe and the air filter inlet under the hood, and securing them with twist-ties.

RAY: And that's about it. Then, when the snow melts in Vermont (May), and mud season ends (June or July), you should be all ready to drive this thing with no problem until the following winter (August)! Have a nice summer, Jody.

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