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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I'm planning on storing my cruze in the garage this winter because I also have a truck to drive. This will be my first time storing a car for a long period of time and I'm looking for any pointers you guys have. Here's some stuff I have concern about:

-Mice. Should I set traps inside, or is it better not to give them a reason to come in?

-Tires. Would it be a good idea to set it on stands to avoid flat spots?

-To periodically start/drive, or not to?

I will be removing the battery to keep inside, using fuel stabilizer, putting on a fresh coat of wax, and using a car cover.

Any insight/past experiences would be appreciated.

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I’ve been storing cars for more than 20 years. To do it correctly takes a little effort. Here are a few pointers based on my experience:

1) Store indoors, as in a garage.

2) Cover the vehicle. The best car cover is in a fabric called Sunbrella and I believe is only offered by CoverCraft. CoverKing makes the second best. Both are ridiculously expensive. Never buy any car cover made with any Kimberley-Clark fabric - they are the worst ever. Best bargain is to use Tyvek house wrap sold at a building supply or the largest canvas drop cloth sold at a professional painter’s store - and improvise your own cover.

3) Always wash and clean the car before storage. Waxing is nice too, if you can work that in.

4) Always change motor oil and filter immediately before storage.

5) Do not remove battery from vehicle. But do purchase a Deltran Battery Tender. I have several of the Plus models but you only need the Junior model. Connect the Battery Tender directly to the battery as installed in the vehicle.

Chargers

6) Measure out a double dosage of Sta-Bil brand fuel stabilizer and fill your gas tank completely with a gasoline that contains 0% ethanol. This usually means the highest octane rating. Do this immediately prior to storage.

7) Best practice is to store the vehicle on tires/wheels bought from a wrecker. These would be ones that are completely worn or wrecked that you would never drive on. But are perfect for static storage. However, that is not always practical for everyone. I don’t recommend jack stands as I’ve seen a lot of accidental damage caused by them. Myself I use a product called FlatStoppers from the Race Ramps company.

Flatstoppers.com, Vehicle Storage Car Ramps

Pump your tires to the maximum sidewall pressure (44 psi, I think) prior to storage.

8) Run your A/C immediately before storage, and immediately after removal, to ensure that the refrigerant oil has circulated among the seals.

9) Store your vehicle with a hot engine. This prevents condensation forming in the powertrain.

10) Crack doors open slightly to prevent the rubber seals from needlessly crushing. You can do the same for the trunk and hood.

11) Starting the engine while in storage is not recommended. Unless storage will exceed one year or more.
 

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I have never had a rodent problem - but many people will fill a pie plate with mothballs or rags soaked in ammonia and place them under the car.
 
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Mice. Should I set traps inside, or is it better not to give them a reason to come in?
I don't think this is a 'either/or' type question. Why not both?


9) Store your vehicle with a hot engine. This prevents condensation forming in the powertrain.
How do you do that?
 

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9) Store your vehicle with a hot engine. This prevents condensation forming in the powertrain.
How do you do that?
Drive the car into storage immediately from the gas station where you completely filled the tank supplemented with fuel stabilizer.
 

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I'm planning on storing my cruze in the garage this winter because I also have a truck to drive. This will be my first time storing a car for a long period of time and I'm looking for any pointers you guys have. Here's some stuff I have concern about:

-Mice. Should I set traps inside, or is it better not to give them a reason to come in?
I don't think this is a 'either/or' type question. Why not both?

Just remember to check periodically and remove any "debilitated" ones in order to keep the fresh as a daisy atmosphere from degrading!
 

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I’ve been storing cars for more than 20 years. To do it correctly takes a little effort. Here are a few pointers based on my experience:

1) Store indoors, as in a garage.

2) Cover the vehicle. The best car cover is in a fabric called Sunbrella and I believe is only offered by CoverCraft. CoverKing makes the second best. Both are ridiculously expensive. Never buy any car cover made with any Kimberley-Clark fabric - they are the worst ever. Best bargain is to use Tyvek house wrap sold at a building supply or the largest canvas drop cloth sold at a professional painter’s store - and improvise your own cover.

3) Always wash and clean the car before storage. Waxing is nice too, if you can work that in.

4) Always change motor oil and filter immediately before storage.

5) Do not remove battery from vehicle. But do purchase a Deltran Battery Tender. I have several of the Plus models but you only need the Junior model. Connect the Battery Tender directly to the battery as installed in the vehicle.

Chargers

6) Measure out a double dosage of Sta-Bil brand fuel stabilizer and fill your gas tank completely with a gasoline that contains 0% ethanol. This usually means the highest octane rating. Do this immediately prior to storage.

7) Best practice is to store the vehicle on tires/wheels bought from a wrecker. These would be ones that are completely worn or wrecked that you would never drive on. But are perfect for static storage. However, that is not always practical for everyone. I don’t recommend jack stands as I’ve seen a lot of accidental damage caused by them. Myself I use a product called FlatStoppers from the Race Ramps company.

Flatstoppers.com, Vehicle Storage Car Ramps

Pump your tires to the maximum sidewall pressure (44 psi, I think) prior to storage.

8) Run your A/C immediately before storage, and immediately after removal, to ensure that the refrigerant oil has circulated among the seals.

9) Store your vehicle with a hot engine. This prevents condensation forming in the powertrain.

10) Crack doors open slightly to prevent the rubber seals from needlessly crushing. You can do the same for the trunk and hood.

11) Starting the engine while in storage is not recommended. Unless storage will exceed one year or more.
How necessary is a battery tender? How much of this must I do? The car will be in a garage that is at worst about 18 degrees Fahrenheit above freezing. How can you leave the battery connected and doors open?
 

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How necessary is a battery tender? How much of this must I do? The car will be in a garage that is at worst about 18 degrees Fahrenheit above freezing. How can you leave the battery connected and doors open?
None of this is necessary. They are all optional. But if you want your car to come out in spring as well as it went in fall, then these measures are based on my decades of experience and will facilitate a trouble-free result. YMMV

I do other things, in addition to those above. But I’ve left them out as they may be more germain to garage queens or show cars than the OP’s interests.

<Crack the doors open slightly...> If you carefully manipulate the door latch you will notice that there are actually two positions: fully closed and partially latched. Partially latched = open slightly.
 
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Since this thread was linked in another recent post, to add a couple items, if you're using a fuel stabilizer or gas without ethanol it's good to store the car with a full tank of gas if it will be stored for under six months. Having a full tank will reduce the amount of moisture that can develop on the internal tank surface. Also if you have a partial tank, the sender and pump might be partially submerged and some corrosion can develop at the air/fuel level. If you plan to store for close to a year or more which is at the limit of most fuel stabilizer products it might be wise to pump out the tank as much or possible.

For diesel cars you want to make sure you're not using B20 fuel or any other blend of biodiesel at lower concentrations (i.e. 10% "B10"). Biodiesel has an extremely short useful service life and will severely degrade and could cause problems if left to sit for extended periods. There are also some stabilizing products for diesel that primarily help to capture moisture that gets into the fuel.


Another item that isn't specifically related to the actual storage, if you do start the car periodically or when at the end of the storage period the engine oil will likely be fully drained and there might not be much oil film on the bearings. On nearly all newer cars you can press and hold the accelerator pedal to the floor (i.e. wide-open throttle) and the computer will interpret this as you trying to clear an engine "flooded" with fuel. It will crank with the throttle pedal fully down but won't start until you release the pedal.

If you have a strong battery (e.g. kept a trickle charger on the battery or fully charged it before starting), you can do this for about 10 seconds, stop, let the starter motor cool off for about 20-30 second and repeat a second time. This will help build oil pressure to things like the turbo, valvetrain and variable cam timing, hydraulic timing chain tensioners, etc. On cars with canister (can) type oil filters, not the cartridge type filters on the newer GMs, you can also do this to pre-fill an empty oil filter after an oil change before the first start.
 
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No need to over think this on modern fuel injected cars stored a few months over the winter. Pump up the tires to 50 psi to prevent flat spots but check pressure regularly if they leak. Keep the battery on a maintainer either in or out of the car, or charge it every 4-6 weeks. That's pretty much it. I've had much older fuel injected cars stored for over 3 years, and one with 8 year old gas, and they all start back up fine. Those gas stabilizers might be needed for older carb cars that are more open to the atmosphere, but modern sealed fuel systems don't have much problems without them.
 

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Another item that isn't specifically related to the actual storage, if you do start the car periodically or when at the end of the storage period the engine oil will likely be fully drained and there might not be much oil film on the bearings. On nearly all newer cars you can press and hold the accelerator pedal to the floor (i.e. wide-open throttle) and the computer will interpret this as you trying to clear an engine "flooded" with fuel. It will crank with the throttle pedal fully down but won't start until you release the pedal.

If you have a strong battery (e.g. kept a trickle charger on the battery or fully charged it before starting), you can do this for about 10 seconds, stop, let the starter motor cool off for about 20-30 second and repeat a second time. This will help build oil pressure to things like the turbo, valvetrain and variable cam timing, hydraulic timing chain tensioners, etc. On cars with canister (can) type oil filters, not the cartridge type filters on the newer GMs, you can also do this to pre-fill an empty oil filter after an oil change before the first start.
Ive heard this before, while im not too m2chanically inclined I'm curious to the logic of this, I store my 2011 cruze 1.4T from November to march every year and do a fresh oil change in march

My question is what benefit does this provide? I'm just curious.

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Better to change the oil before you store it. Better not to have dirty oil that may have harsh contaminants like acids, soaking the internal parts for 5 months.
My concern was the oil is only good for so long, I use mobile 1 full synthetic, I put less than 3k miles a year, maybe should I do a cheap oil change to store it then a good oil change when taking it out? Or should I not worry about aging of the oil

as is it gets 1 oil change a year, I can just as easily do that change in November instead of march, thanks for the advice

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Ive heard this before, while im not too m2chanically inclined I'm curious to the logic of this, I store my 2011 cruze 1.4T from November to march every year and do a fresh oil change in march

My question is what benefit does this provide? I'm just curious.
If you leave a car sitting for extended periods of times, such as multiple months, all the oil will drain back to the pan. There's usually anti-drain back valves either in the oil filter or built into the oiling system or cars with cartridge filters that holds oil in the oil passages, so when you crank and start the engine the rotating parts and other oil pressure driven components get pressurized faster.

If you start an engine that has been sitting it could be multiple seconds before everything receives oil pressure, possibly longer if it is cold and the oil is thicker and doesn't flow well. That could increase the chance of metal-on-metal wear. Cranking the engine to build oil pressure without letting it start ensures the possibly dry bearings receive oil, the turbocharger center section and bearings are oiled, the oil pressure-driven variable cam timing and timing chain tensioners are pressurized, etc.

You're probably not going to experience any oil related failures and it won't kill your engine to crank and immediately start if it's been sitting but my personal opinion is that pre-pressurizing may help and doesn't hurt.




My concern was the oil is only good for so long, I use mobile 1 full synthetic, I put less than 3k miles a year, maybe should I do a cheap oil change to store it then a good oil change when taking it out? Or should I not worry about aging of the oil

as is it gets 1 oil change a year, I can just as easily do that change in November instead of march, thanks for the advice
I had a four cylidner turbocharged car running full synthetic that I drove for close to 10k miles when the oil life monitor was showing under 20% service life left (it usually saw mostly highway miles). I parked it for over six months, started it and drove another couple thousand miles when the oil life monitor showed it was due for an oil change.

At that time I did my usual used oil analysis where I sent a sample in to be tested by a national testing facility (Blackstone Labs) and paid for the extra cost TBN (total base number) that tells how much of the additive package is left and gives an estimate how much service life the oil has. The test came back showing good TBN and suggested I could have run it another 3k miles and then re-tested.

Different engines behave differently and your personal operating conditions will also have a big impact. If you mostly drive stop-and-go, short distances and the engine seldom gets up to full operating temperature (not the coolant gauge but all fluids getting up to temp, which can be about 10 minutes in average climates) you might have a lot of fuel and moisture in the oil and crankcase and it would be better to change more often based on time rather than mileage.

Nobody here can advise and tell you what's "best", but if you drive that little I'd probably do the oil change before storage and when you pull it out make sure the first couple drives are long enough (time and distance) to fully get everything up to temp. You could also have the oil tested which would give a definitive answer, although the cost of testing is probably about the same as a do-it-yourself synthetic oil change.
 

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If you leave a car sitting for extended periods of times, such as multiple months, all the oil will drain back to the pan. There's usually anti-drain back valves either in the oil filter or built into the oiling system or cars with cartridge filters that holds oil in the oil passages, so when you crank and start the engine the rotating parts and other oil pressure driven components get pressurized faster.

If you start an engine that has been sitting it could be multiple seconds before everything receives oil pressure, possibly longer if it is cold and the oil is thicker and doesn't flow well. That could increase the chance of metal-on-metal wear. Cranking the engine to build oil pressure without letting it start ensures the possibly dry bearings receive oil, the turbocharger center section and bearings are oiled, the oil pressure-driven variable cam timing and timing chain tensioners are pressurized, etc.

You're probably not going to experience any oil related failures and it won't kill your engine to crank and immediately start if it's been sitting but my personal opinion is that pre-pressurizing may help and doesn't hurt.




I had a four cylidner turbocharged car running full synthetic that I drove for close to 10k miles when the oil life monitor was showing under 20% service life left (it usually saw mostly highway miles). I parked it for over six months, started it and drove another couple thousand miles when the oil life monitor showed it was due for an oil change.

At that time I did my usual used oil analysis where I sent a sample in to be tested by a national testing facility (Blackstone Labs) and paid for the extra cost TBN (total base number) that tells how much of the additive package is left and gives an estimate how much service life the oil has. The test came back showing good TBN and suggested I could have run it another 3k miles and then re-tested.

Different engines behave differently and your personal operating conditions will also have a big impact. If you mostly drive stop-and-go, short distances and the engine seldom gets up to full operating temperature (not the coolant gauge but all fluids getting up to temp, which can be about 10 minutes in average climates) you might have a lot of fuel and moisture in the oil and crankcase and it would be better to change more often based on time rather than mileage.

Nobody here can advise and tell you what's "best", but if you drive that little I'd probably do the oil change before storage and when you pull it out make sure the first couple drives are long enough (time and distance) to fully get everything up to temp. You could also have the oil tested which would give a definitive answer, although the cost of testing is probably about the same as a do-it-yourself synthetic oil change.
Thank you for all the good advice, I will start applying these suggestions to my routine tee wo weeks from now when I store the car for good this year

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