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Dec 9, 2014

Now Winter is here, and an icy road is no place for a vintage drophead coupe or a polished piece of American muscle.

It’s time to start thinking about retiring those classics to the garage for the winter. But it’s more than just a matter of tossing on a cover – storing your car for a prolonged period of time without proper preparation can cause serious damage.

To protect your slumbering classic, here are some winterizing tips, though what’s best for your car and climate may vary:

•Check under the hood.

Change the oil, filter and coolant. Inspect belts and hoses. Check and, if needed, top off fluid levels, such as for brakes and transmission, or flush and replace the fluids completely.

•Attend to the battery.

Keep your battery on an automatic on/off charger that won’t overcharge. If you plan to remove the battery, clean and store it – and the cables – properly.

•Fill the tank.

Fill your gas tank with the proper fuel stabilizer (check the directions to ensure you use it correctly) and gas to minimize the air in your tank.

•Tidy up.

Wash, wax and vacuum– don’t forget the trunk – so there’s nothing left to rot or mildew. To prevent moisture, place silica gel packs or an opened bag of clay kitty litter inside. Keep in mind these may need to be replaced or replenished over the course of the winter.

•Keep out critters.

Try an ultrasonic repeller to help keep pesky pests away. Some people also have success with traps outside the car, dyer sheets or peppermint oil inside the car and covers over the tailpipe and air intake. Whatever method you choose, check regularly for signs of rodents to ensure it’s working. And be sure your pest control isn’t putting others, including pets and children, at risk.

•Secure the cover.

Place a cloth cover over your car once you feel it’s finally ready for storage. A plastic cover may promote moisture. Or enclose it fully in a car storage bag. However, this can make it difficult to check occasionally for rodents and moisture or to start your car and let it run every now and then.

Of course, there are other and more extensive ways to prepare your classic car for storage over the winter or for however long it will be sitting – share your tips in the comments below. You’ll need to find what’s best for your particular car, storage space and climate or hire someone to do it for you.

Come springtime, when you get your beauty back on the road with minimal hassle, all the winterizing work will be well worth it.

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