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How to prepare your car for storage before winter hits

If you have a hot car but live in a cold-weather state, you might want to store it indoors for the season.

If you have a hot car but live in a cold-weather state, repeat exposure to Old Man Winter can do a number on your beloved ride. So, what to do? Well, if you plan to store it indoors for the season, remember: Before it flurries, you might want to hurry.

First, thoroughly clean your car, inside and out. Throw a few packs of moisture-absorbing desiccant on the floor; you can use Damp Rid or baking soda in a pinch. Like in your basement, moisture — and mold — are your enemies.

Consider adding a fuel stabilizer. Stabilizers can help prevent corrosion in the fuel lines and engine. You’ll want to add it to a nearly full tank, then run the engine to circulate it. You may also want to change your oil and filter, top off other fluids and ensure it has enough antifreeze.

You can over-inflate your tires a little because they’ll lose pressure slowly over the winter, but get them to the right pressure come spring before you drive. If you really want to alleviate weight on the tires or suspension, you can put your car up on jack stands. Procedures for this vary a lot from car to car, so make sure you know how to properly do it — and only do it on a level concrete surface.

You’ll want to remove and store your battery or connect it to a trickle charger. Keeping your battery charged prolongs its life. If you remove and store it, keep it in a warm room in your house, and cold batteries can freeze and might crack.

Follow all these steps, and your car should be able to dispatch winter just fine — and keep a little extra spring in its step for years to come.

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