Winter is just around the corner. If you are a fair-weather Jeeper or off-roader, you will want to make sure you prepare your off-road rig for winter storage properly. Winterizing your off-road vehicle is an important ritual that can help prevent damage to parts and mechanical systems from harsh climates and sub-zero temperatures for prolonged periods of time.
Failing to prepare your off-road vehicle for storage properly may lead to unnecessary wear and tear on the exterior and inner workings. Plus, it's a good opportunity to really assess your vehicle and make a plan for any damage sustained on the trails over the summer that you may have done a quick fix on so you can keep wheeling.
Stabilize Fuel System: Leave at least 1/4 tank of gas with stabilizer in it. This helps prevent moisture buildup. Run your vehicle for a few minutes to make sure the fluid stabilizer gets into the carburetor, fuel rails, injectors, etc.
Inspect your vehicle for damage and loose bolts: doing this now will let you decide if you want to get repairs taken care of now before shops fill up getting rigs ready for spring, or wait until spring.
Change your oil and filters right before storing your vehicle. Clean oil can help prevent any contaminants from making their way through your system. And it's one less thing you'll have to do in the spring.
Check and change all fluids - antifreeze, drain windshield wiper fluid, etc.
Air up tires. Add air to your tires to the manufacturer-recommended PSI.
Clean your car prior to storage. Wash and wax your car thoroughly, inside and out. This is especially important if you plan to cover your car in storage; a clean, waxed rig is less likely to sustain scratches when putting on or removing a cover. Make sure that any items that can freeze or rupture from the cold are removed from the car—unless you know for sure your storage area won't fall below freezing.
Disconnect your car’s battery. Keep it in a warm place to prevent the fluids from freezing and to help it start easier once you take it out of storage. In addition, never store a car battery on a concrete floor because concrete will drain the battery. Alternatively, connect it to a trickle charger over the season.
Seal Openings. To keep dust, pests, and other unwanted intrusions out, seal off any points of entry, like vents and windows. Put a plastic bag over the air intake and exhaust pipes. Secure them with rubber bands. PRO TIP: Keep a list and/or photos of all the spots you cover so you won’t miss anything when you remove your car from storage. To deter critters who like to chew, place scented dryer sheets in the trunk, on top of the tires, and in the passenger compartment of the vehicle.
Protect your Suspension. Putting your car up on jack stands will help protect your suspension, which would otherwise be bearing the weight of the car throughout its stay in storage. It will also help keep undue weight off the tires that could cause them to become deflated or get out of round.
Double-check your insurance. If you are storing your car at a location that offers car storage, make sure your insurance is up to date. Many auto insurance companies also require that you notify them of the address where the car will be stored. Contact your car insurance provider to determine their requirements.
Plan any upgrades now! Make your preseason appointments for upgrades or changes now, to make sure parts and appointments are available and you are ready to wheel in the spring.
If you are short on time or aren't comfortable doing these tasks, our team can help! Our experts can make any repairs or upgrades over the winter, so you are ready to wheel in the spring, or give your vehicle a complete inspection and prepare it for storage. We are here to help with the heavy lifting tasks - CONTACT US to schedule your winterization appointment today.