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December 30, 2007 5:50 AM   Subscribe

I don't really use my car much in the winter but I park it outdoors. How do I maximize its chances of survival?

I have a 2002 Jeep and free outdoor parking at work (Southern Connecticut) so I would like to just leave it there. Despite the self-evident soundness of this strategy, last year the battery died so much that it would not take a charge and had to be replaced.

How should I take care of my car this winter so that I can use it again in the spring? Assume handyman quotient is about zero. I can jump a car with great trepidation, but thats about it.
posted by shothotbot to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Possibly obvious answer, but could you take it out for a little spin every week or so? Or if you don't want to lose your space, it might even work just to turn it on, let it idle for a few minutes, and then turn it off.
posted by craichead at 6:09 AM on December 30, 2007


Possibly obvious answer, but could you take it out for a little spin every week or so? Or if you don't want to lose your space, it might even work just to turn it on, let it idle for a few minutes, and then turn it off.
posted by craichead at 9:09 AM on December 30


You think 15 minutes would do it? Once a week? Once a month?
posted by shothotbot at 6:45 AM on December 30, 2007


Weekly, and definitely take it out for a spin, don't just idle it. It has to be enough for the oil temperature to get up and have your radiator fan kick in. You also want to cover it (unless you think that will make it a bigger target), and check the air on the tires regularly.

I suppose another hack would be to completely unplug the battery.
posted by furtive at 6:52 AM on December 30, 2007


Vehicle Storage Tips and Suggestions

In descending order of what I'd bother doing: Wash and wax. Disconnect battery. Treat the gasoline, or drain it. Drain oil and coolant. Take the weight off the tires. etc.
posted by sfenders at 7:46 AM on December 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


I live in Nebraska so we should at least somewhat similar weather and my unlce does this exact same thing with his work van he leaves here. He just parks it, pops the hood, locks the doors, unplugs the battery and closes the hood. He has never had any other problems. As long as your jeep is in fine mechanical condition you should be fine. Your clock and radio presets will probably disappear. Treating the gas would be a good idea if you aren't going to drive it all winter.
posted by DJWeezy at 8:50 AM on December 30, 2007


You could pick up a solar battery charger and throw it on your dash. This would likely provide enough of a charge to keep your battery topped up.
posted by davey_darling at 9:03 AM on December 30, 2007


If you're leaving it all winter...

Add stabilizer to the gas in the correct amounts (and be sure to drive the car a bit after you add it to circulate it into the fuel line/carb/injector).

Remove the battery and store it someplace (or just unhook it, I've been told that a good battery does not need to be stored inside in the winter).

Make sure the gas tank is full.

Put some moth balls inside and in the engine compartment (keeps the mice out).

If you decide to drive it once in a while, make sure that you drive it long enough for the engine to get warm..otherwise you cause more problems with condensation.

I would also change the oil before I stored it, and check all the fluids.
posted by HuronBob at 9:55 AM on December 30, 2007


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