Answer: It depends on how you define "hardly drive anymore." Starting the cars a few times a year is not really the good idea people think it is. The reasons have been discussed in previous columns.
If you don't drive the cars for a year at a time, you're much better off making sure that the cars have fresh oil and fresh gas (full tank) before you store them. Use a gasoline additive designed for storage (I use Sta-Bil) and follow the instructions on the bottle. The cars can then sit safely for about a year, with no ill effects. The only issue is the batteries, which could go dead from lack of use, but you can get an inexpensive "battery tender"
If you want to store the cars for more than two years, then you have to properly prepare them for long term storage, which is much more complicated, and you won't be able to use the cars when you want to.
Question: I have to store my 1960 Chrysler New Yorker outside this winter. Should I use a plastic tarp or a car cover?
Answer: What you’re really asking me is “Which will do the least damage to my car?” The answer is the car cover will do the least damage to your car. Under no circumstances do you want to cover your car with a plastic tarp.
Although car covers are marketed as being suitable for outdoor use, even the best ones on the market will still allow, and may even contribute to deterioration of your car while it’s stored outdoors. This is because no matter how good the cover is, moisture will get underneath and find its way to your paint and interior. Over time, the result will be deterioration of the paint and mold on the interior surfaces. If you must store your car outdoors, it’s helpful to remove the cover as regularly as possible on dry sunny days to allow the car and the cover to thoroughly dry. It’s too bad you can’t park your car in a bubble for the winter. Or can you?
For not much more than the cost of a high quality car cover you can buy a Car Capsule (www.carcapsule.com). In effect it’s a miniature clear plastic garage that’s kept inflated by an electric fan. It takes up no more space than the car itself, and if you put it in a visible location you’ll be the envy of your neighbors. Best of all, it works. Next spring your car will drive out exactly the way you parked it this fall.
Contact Steve: firstname.lastname@example.org