How to properly store your luxury car through the winter

By Nadia Khamsi

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Winter is coming. And, as Emily Chung says, “there’s no use in having a great car and not taking good care of it.”

Written by Nadia Khamsi

Chung founded AutoNiche Women’s Auto Repair Service nearly ten years ago. At the time, it was her calling to get into the automobile industry and help people better understand what was happening with their vehicles, she says.

Based in Markham, Chung wants to see vehicle owners take preventative measures to minimize future problems with their vehicle. “There is a difference between storing and parking your vehicle,” she adds. “It’s not about just leaving your car in the garage. There are specific steps to take to ensure your vehicle stays in good shape.”

Here, Chung offers a step-by-step process on how to properly store luxury vehicles in the winter, while still providing tips beneficial to all car owners.

Why should you store your luxury vehicle as opposed to driving it?

The ideal scenario when it comes to luxury cars is to store them in the winter; our weather causes unnecessary damage to the vehicle. If you do need to drive it, winter tires (and a separate set of rims) are still necessary even with top of the line luxury tires. Non-winter tires start hardening at 7 degrees Celsius or lower. Once you start seeing these numbers in the low range of the weather forecast, it’s time to switch!  Winter tires are not necessary if you’re storing the vehicle.

What steps should a luxury car owner take to properly store the vehicle during the winter months?

The best-case scenario is to store it in a heated garage. If you have to store it outside, make sure you get a good car cover. Right before storing it, get one final car wash so that it’s being stored clean. It’s a good idea to get battery saver, also called a trickle charger, to ensure that the battery doesn’t drain or freeze if it’s being stored outside or in an unheated garage. If you’re a little more car savvy, you can disconnect the negative cable off the battery so that the battery doesn’t drain that way. Make sure all the fluids in the vehicle are topped up, such as windshield fluid [make sure this is winterized so that it doesn’t freeze], get an oil change as close to when you’ll be storing the car as possible and fill up your fuel tank. In the spring, you’ll want to replenish with fresh fuel in your tank as soon as possible.  Also think about using a fuel stabilizer. Fuel degrades over time (usually after 30 days), so the stabilizer allows you to slow this process down. In our climate, we recommend for all vehicle owners to also rust proof their vehicles, for optimal preservation of the car, whether or not you store it.

What are some common mistakes?

We recommend not using your parking brake when storing it for the winter just keep it in park. Applying the parking brake creates pressure on the brake routers from the brake pads and if stuck in that position, the routers will take on that shape and the brakes won’t be able to be used smoothly afterwards.  Depending on where you store it, we also recommend that you lift the wiper blades to avoid leaving marks on or damaging your windshield; leave them up and put a cloth on the windshield where it would normally sit just in case it falls down.

What is the main thing for luxury vehicle owners to keep in mind?

The biggest thing we see in our industry is lack of maintenance. A well-maintained Honda Civic can outlast a [poorly] maintained luxury car any day. You’ve made an investment in a luxury vehicle, and there’s no use in having a great car and not taking good care of it. You’ll be thankful you took these measures in the long run.

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