Pre­cau­tions to take be­fore lengthy stor­age

Lesotho Times - - Motoring -

Cars are meant to be driven. Leav­ing a ve­hi­cle unat­tended for a long pe­riod of time can cause some­thing akin to au­to­mo­tive at­ro­phy — a slow de­te­ri­o­ra­tion of the ve­hi­cle that can cre­ate prob­lems when you try to drive it again.

rust and cor­ro­sion can form on the body or in­side crit­i­cal com­po­nents; gum and var­nish can clog the fuel sys­tem; sludge and acids can form in the en­gine oil; mildew can grow in the in­te­rior; and con­stant sun­light can slowly fade the paint and de­te­ri­o­rate vinyl, leather and rubber parts.

That’s why if you need to store your ve­hi­cle — whether it’s for the win­ter or be­cause it can’t be driven for an in­def­i­nite pe­riod of time — there are cer­tain pre­cau­tions you should take be­fore you put it into moth­balls.

Get it cov­ered The best place to store a car is out of the weather, prefer­ably in­side a build­ing that’s cool, dark and dry.

If you don’t have a garage, look into rent­ing one. If this isn’t pos­si­ble, a rea­son­able al­ter­na­tive is to store it in­side a por­ta­ble en­clo­sure, such as a car bag or por­ta­ble garage.

If the ve­hi­cle will be com­pletely sealed from out­side air, place a cou­ple bags of des­ic­cant in­side the en­clo­sure with it to ab­sorb trapped mois­ture.

How­ever, if the ve­hi­cle needs to be stored out­side with­out an en­clo­sure, at least cover it with a qual­ity car cover made of thick, mul­ti­layer fab­ric.

Prior to putting the ve­hi­cle into stor­age, a few pre­cau­tions will help keep it in good shape. The fuel sys­tem, for in­stance, can be a prime source of prob­lems.

If the car is stored with an empty tank, mois­ture can con­dense in­side the sys­tem and cause rust and cor­ro­sion.

On the other hand, if the car is stored with fuel in the sys­tem, the gas can grad­u­ally break down, form­ing gum and var­nish. To help keep gaso­line from de­te­ri­o­rat­ing, pour a fuel sta­bi­lizer into the tank.

Be sure to drive the car for about 10 miles af­ter adding the sta­bi­lizer to cir­cu­late it through­out the sys­tem.

Nor­mally, it’s best to leave the tank full; how­ever, if the ve­hi­cle will be stored in an en­closed lo­ca­tion where gas fumes could be a prob­lem, empty the tank about half­way.

Ad­di­tional car stor­age tips Con­sider th­ese other prepa­ra­tions be­fore stor­ing a car: l Change the oil and fil­ter. Used oil con­tains acids, mois­ture and other com­bus­tion byprod­ucts that, over time, can cause cor­ro­sion in­side the en­gine. l Fill the en­gine with fresh oil and then drive the ve­hi­cle for a few miles to make sure the new oil cir­cu­lates thor­oughly. l Pull the spark plugs and pour about a tea­spoon of oil into each cylin­der, then re­place the plugs. This will help coat the cylin­ders to pre­vent rust. l seal off en­gine open­ings with ab­sorbent cot­ton to keepeep mois­ture out. l re­move the bat­tery and clean its top with a mix­tureix­ture of bak­ing soda and wa­ter. r. Ideally, a trickle charger should­hould be used to keep the bat­tery ery fully charged while hile the ve­hi­cle iss in stor­age. l Top off all flu­ids,ds, in­clud­ingng t r a ns­miss­sion and nd rear axle. e. also look at the colour ur of the brakeake fluid.

New brake fluid is clear. If the fluid in the car l ooks brown andd dirty, the sys­tem needs to be flushed.

Old brakek fl fluid id h has a lt lot off mois­tureit i in it it, which could cause rust in the sys­tem. l Drain the cool­ing sys­tem. If the en­gine’s block and cylin­der head(s) are cast iron, re­fill the cool­ing sys­tem with new coolant.

If one or b bothth en­ginei com­po­nentst are maded of alu­minium, leave the sys­tem empty be­cause coolant can re­act with the alu­minium and cause cor­ro­sion. — mo­

Keep a car in a suit­able weather con­di­tions, prefer­ably in­side a build­ing where it is cool and dry.

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