- Put traps on the floor of the car, in the trunk and in the glove box. Use the humane “Have a Heart” type. Just make sure not to wait for spring to arrive before checking them.
- Make sure that your sun visors are tilted down so that mice cannot stand on them. They use them as a platform to stand on as they chew through your headliner where they enjoy a comfortable winter.
- Vacuum the car and use a product such as ArmorAll to coat all of the vinyl and plastic surfaces. Vacuuming will remove food crumbs, and mice don’t seem to like the slippery surface left behind by the ArmorAll.
- If your car is indoors leave the convertible top down so that the car is open. Mice don’t like open airy places and they will look for alternative locations. If you think that keeping the top up will keep the mice out…think again.
- Leave the hood open for the same reason listed in number 5. Mice hate open places.
- Mothballs really work, but only in enclosed places and only in high concentrations. The trunk is a perfect place. Empty two full boxes of mothballs around the trunk and the air will become so toxic that nothing will be able to live in there.
- Anything that upsets the peace and quiet of a mouse will help to keep them looking elsewhere for a nice place to spend the winter. A small flashing neon light and an oscillating fan will upset them enough that they just might move to your neighbor’s garage.
- If you will not be using your car for the winter, “fog out” the engine with fogging oil or Marvel Mystery Oil. Not only will this protect your engines internals from rust, it will also coat your entire exhaust on the inside, which is where rust forms.
- Use desiccants (the stuff that absorbs moisture) inside of the car and in the trunk. Beware, once it has absorbed as much water as it can hold, it will begin dripping excess water, so it is best to hang it over a pan.
- Inflate the tires to the maximum pressure listed on the sidewall, especially if you store your car outdoors. This will compensate for ordinary air pressure loss and will help to prevent flat spots.
- If your car has a leather interior, apply a conditioner to the leather surfaces. Most people don’t realize that in the winter, the Northeast is as dry as most deserts. Do not use ArmorAll for these surfaces!
- If your car is stored indoors, leave the windows partially open so that air can circulate. This will help prevent mold on the interior surfaces.
- If you must store your car outdoors, never use a plastic tarp. Always use a “breathable car cover.” Even if you use a “breathable car cover” be prepared to remove it at least once a month so that the cover and the car can completely dry out.
- Keep a small fan running in the garage or in the car if it is stored outdoors. Even a small amount of air movement will help prevent moisture from condensing on the interior and exterior of the car. This is especially true during the spring and fall when cold nighttime temperatures can vary significantly from warmer daytime temperatures.
- If you are the type who likes to get things out of the way, now is a good time to wipe your engine clean, and apply a conditioner to all of the rubber seals on your car.
- Change the oil and filter and take the car for a ride before putting it away for the winter. This will assure that the engine is sitting in fresh oil, rather than the old oil which contains acids that can etch the engines internal parts.
- Disconnect the battery. Not only will it help prevent the battery from discharging, it will also prevent your car from catching fire if a short circuit should develop.
- Get a Battery Tender and hook it up. It will turn itself on and off as needed, and it will keep your battery fully charged. This is the best way to ensure battery longevity.
- Add a fuel stabilizer to the gasoline and take the car for a 10 minute ride to make sure that the stabilized fuel has circulated through the entire fuel system. Fill the tank to the very top. The less air in the tank, the less moisture.
Thanks to all of those who submitted their winter storage tips. It was great to see such a positive response! So, without further fuss, here are some of my favorite readers tips:
Steve was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1957. He grew up in a time
and place where cars were worshipped, and none more so than the
“American Muscle Car,” although this was a phrase that wasn't coined
until decades later.By the age of twelve he was repairing just about
anything with an engine.