If you will be using your car on a weekly basis:
- Change the oil and filter. The oil in your crankcase is filled with acids and other corrosives that can actually etch critical parts of your engine such as the crankshaft.
- Check your anti-freeze to make sure that it’s good down to zero degrees.
- Make sure that your tires are properly inflated. As the temperature drops, so will the air pressure in your tires, and you need to compensate for this.
- Fill your fuel tank to the top. Air contains moisture, and the less air in the tank, the less moisture. The air in the winter is relatively dry. Not so in the fall and the spring.
If you will be using your car on a monthly basis do all of the above plus:
- Add a fuel stabilizer such as Sta-Bil to your fuel. Even if you use your car monthly there’s a good chance that you won’t use a full tank of gas over the winter.
If you will be storing your car until spring do all of the above plus:
- Inflate your tires to the maximum pressure listed on the sidewall. This will help to prevent “flat spotting.”
- “Fog Out” your engine. This is much easier with a helper. Remove the air cleaner cover to allow access to the carburetor. With the engine up to full operating temperature have your helper keep the engine revved to about 2500 RPM. Slowly but steadily pour Marvel Mystery Oil, or fogging oil into the carburetor. Do not pour enough in to cause the engine to stall. After a few seconds you will see billows of white smoke coming out of the exhaust (this is my favorite part). When this occurs have your helper release the throttle and shut the ignition, while at the same time stop pouring oil into the carburetor. This will leave a coating of fresh protective oil on every internal part of your engine from the intake, to the valves, to the cylinders and finally to the exhaust.
- Disconnect the negative battery terminal and attach your battery to a “battery maintainer.” It is virtually impossible for a fully charged battery to freeze, and you will be isolating the electrical system preventing a possible electrical fire.
This guide is not a substitute for routine maintenance or any necessary repairs. If your car requires maintenance or repairs, this is a good time to do it. Finally, do a thorough detailing job on the interior and exterior of your car. This way, in the spring all you’ll have to do is reconnect your negative battery cable and you’ll be ready for another season of classic car bliss. This looks like a long list, but in reality it only takes a couple of hours, which is a small price to pay for a winters worth of peace of mind.