by Larry the Car Guy (LTCG)

If your car will be stored for more than two weeks, here are some tips to help it through its hibernation.

1: Top up all fluids and tire pressure
Engine oil, coolant, battery fluid, fuel tank and tire pressure should all be topped up. A full fuel tank is less likely to have loss of volatiles and deterioration of fuel quality.

2: Clean and protect exterior surfaces
Thoroughly wash the car and apply wax or quick detailer on exterior body surfaces. This will reduce deterioration from sun, pollutants, environmental exposure and protect against minor abrasions. Tires should be sprayed with a tire dressing product. This will prevent cracking and ozone related deterioration.

3: Cover your car
Prevent sun, rain and environmental exposure in any way that you can. Park in a garage, under a carport and/or install a car cover. If you are using a car cover in an outdoor setting, be sure to install Gust Guard cover clamps to keep the cover secure.

4: Prepare the battery for storage
Batteries will run down in weeks or months unless some preventive actions are taken. Depending on the year and make of the car there will be a small electrical drain on the battery even with the ignition in the off position (due to electronic modules, security systems, clocks, etc.). To prevent a dead battery you can carefully disconnect one of the battery leads. The safest one to remove is usually the negative cable. You can also install an inline rotary shut off switch for about five dollars. This is easy to install on the battery terminal and has an added car theft security benefit. An alternative to maintain battery condition is to use an inexpensive solar charger that plugs into your cigar lighter. These chargers are small, lightweight and cost about 20-30 dollars.