By Duane Smith ( Service Manager at Sewickley Porsche)
It is getting to that time of the year when we start thinking about putting our toys away for winter. Here are some suggestions for doing so properly:
A question I get asked from time to time is: “Should I change my oil before I put my car away or when I get it out in spring?” I recommend putting any vehicle away with fresh oil. Changing your oil before storage ensures you get contaminates out which would otherwise likely be covering your critical engine components such as crankshaft and bearings during extended periods of non-use. It is also one less thing you have to worry about after a long winter when the weather breaks and you want to start driving your baby again.
My next suggestion would be to thoroughly wash and put a good coat of wax on your car. Start by washing the car then prepping the paint for wax by clay barring the exterior paint. The clay bar process strips any old wax plus it removes any contaminates on the surface of your paint. Make sure to follow up with a good coat of your favorite wax.
Now we want to protect our tires. It is best to clean the tires really well. We want to remove any kind of tire shine as most products contain chemicals which extract the agents in your tires designed to prevent dry rot. Movement from rotation and heat which occurs while driving on your tires helps to keep them healthy and ply-able. Driving on your tires helps counter-act tire shine chemicals from drying out the rubber making up your tires.
After cleaning your car, wheels, tires, and waxing it; take it for a final drive. Drive at least 15 miles to get the engine up to operating temperature. This also ensures we get any excess water out from the cleaning process. Towards the end of your drive, stop at a gas station and fill up to help prevent condensation from forming in your gas tank. Buy a bottle of gas stabilizer and add it to your tank when you return home.
Once the tires are clean we want to pump up the pressure to 50psi. Over inflating tires decreases the size of contact patch and helps minimize flat spotting (from not being driven). I also recommend during storage to push the car forward or back an inch every other week. Doing so also helps to prevent flat spots.
Porsche strongly recommends NOT starting your car unless it is going to be driven at least 15 miles. Starting your car and just letting it idle creates condensation inside the engine. It takes at least 15 miles of driving to get enough heat into the engine to burn off that condensation. So if you do not plan to drive your car do not start it. Otherwise you will be doing more harm than good as the condensation will just be sitting in your engine. Not good.
Now that you have your tires inflated to 50psi, move your car into its storage location in your garage. Do one final wipe down with a damp chamois or California Duster.
Next, plug in a Porsche Battery Maintainer. There are many different kinds of battery maintainers out there but I have found Porsche ones work best. Aside from being extremely simple to use, they plug into the cigarette lighter socket and have a long thin cord which fits between the door and door seal (so you do not have to leave a window down). Then plug the maintainer into a wall outlet and it will turn on and off as needed. Just set it and forget it.
Finally put a cover on your car and she is ready for hibernation!