How to store a convertible for winter

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Oct 01, 1990

Dear Tom and Ray:

I have a 1989 LeBaron GT convertible that I plan to store for the winter. Having never stored a car before, I would like some advice on what I should do before putting it away.

RAY: Well, the first thing you should do is take a lesson from my brother and make sure you put the top up. He stored his '74 Chevy Caprice Classic convertible with the top down a few years ago. Even though it was protected from the elements in a car port, that didn't stop a nice little family of raccoons from setting up a Pocono-mountain-style winter resort in the back seat.

TOM: So aside from making sure the car is completely closed up, here's the minimum you should do. First, add some gasoline stabilizer (like Sta-Bil) to the tank. Second, cover up the exhaust pipe and air intake to prevent moisture and small rodents from getting inside (aluminum foil, a thick sandwich bag, and a few rubber bands ought to do the trick). And third, disconnect the battery.

TOM: If you're mechanically inclined, there's one other thing you can do. Before taking the steps listed above, remove the spark plugs and squirt a shot of motor oil into each cylinder. After you put the spark plugs back, disconnect the plug-wires and crank the engine for twenty or thirty seconds. That splashes oil all over the inside of the cylinders and prevents rust from forming in there. It's a good idea, particularly if you're storing the car for a very long time.

RAY: Other than that, just perform the necessary incantations, and you should be all set.

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