Thursday, October 19, 2017

Prepping Your Porsche For Winter – Part 2: Storage

November 19, 2012 by  
Filed under Featured Content

Last week, we went over the basics of preparing your Porsche to be driven through the winter. For some of you, winter is seen as a challenge to be triumphed over. For others, winter driving in a Porsche is seen as unnecessary, and would rather their beautiful Porsches be stored in warm and dry spaces for the coming season. I won’t take sides in this ever raging battle between enthusiasts, but I will try to make life slightly easier for both types of enthusiast. Contrary to popular belief, you cannot simply park a car and let it sit over a winter without prepping it. If there is one thing Porsches don’t like, that is extended periods of un-use.

General Cleanliness

Before committing a car to storage, it is obviously a good idea to completely clean the car. Give the car a thorough wash and wax. Vacuum and shampoo the interior carpets. Give the leather and dashboard a nice cleaning and treating. Clean cracks and crevices that normally collect dirt, coins, and bits of food (who would eat in their Porsche?), as rodents don’t need any excuses to try to live in your car.

Oil

There are a few schools of thought when it comes to oil changes in regard to storage. Chief among them is to change the oil before going into storage, thus removing the contaminants from the engine before letting it sit for a long time. Some like to change the oil just before taking a car out of storage, but I wouldn’t recommend this as those contaminants will settle to the bottom of the oil and not completely drain with a cold oil change. Personally, when entering storage, I will take the car for one last jaunt to get the engine up to temperature before draining the contaminated oil. I then change the filter for a new one and fill the engine with inexpensive non-synthetic SAE straight 30 weight oil for its time in storage. Once winter is over, and I’m ready to drive the car again, I’ll empty the 30 weight and add back the appropriate oil for running the car, keeping the “new” filter I installed before winter. This allows the contaminants to drain in the fall, the engine to be properly guarded against corrosion during the winter, and then filled with brand new oil in the spring. Once the car is in place for the winter, I will also squirt a few ounces of oil into each cylinder through the spark plug hole and turn the engine over a few times without spark to ensure the cylinder walls are properly coated, again preventing corrosion.

Other fluids

As with last week’s article, half of this section will not pertain to older Porsche enthusiasts who worship at the aircooled altar, yet is extremely important to those whose preferred Porsche sips water to keep cool. make sure that your coolant system has the proper mixture for your temperature needs. As a general rule, coolant should be mixed with distilled water at a rate of 1:1 until full to prevent the coolant from freezing in the engine and causing damage. If temperatures often dip below 0 degrees F, you should consider increasing the mixture to around 70% coolant to 30% water. Porsche coolant is produced by Pentosin, and is approximately equivalent to their G12 or G12+ coolant ratings, and either can be used as a replacement. When replacing coolant, it is always best to complete a full flush to rid your system of any old coolant, as well as any contaminants. Additionally, it is very good practice to ensure that your windshield washer system has fluid rated to the lowest expected temperature in your storage area. There is nothing worse than having the fluid container cracked and leaking due to frozen washer fluid.

Battery

Just with driving your car in the winter, it is imperative that your battery remain in tip top shape during winter storage. The best practice is to remove the battery from the car and store it on a battery maintenance trickle charger (either a C-tek unit or one from Battery Tender will work wonders). Before pulling the battery on your newer Porsche, ensure that you have the radio code at the ready for starting it back up in the spring.

Tires

Depending upon your preferences, there are a few ways to ensure your tires will remain in good condition during a long winter slumber. Primary among most enthusiasts is the practice of overinflating the tires on the car to prevent flat spots. Some owners will inflate their tires to approximately 50psi to prevent flat spotting during storage. I am against this, as the tire manufacturers provide a “maximum pressure” rating for a tire for a reason, overtaxed rubber has a higher propensity for failure. Additionally, the weight of the vehicle is adding stress to not only the tires, but also the wheel bearings and suspension of the car as it sits through the winter. My preferred method, however, involves placing the car on jackstands for the winter months, and storing the wheel and tire packages flat in the corner of the garage, separated by sheets of corrugated card board box. This method puts the least amount of stress on your tires as possible, and when removed, gives you a good opportunity to properly clean and protect your wheels.

Fuel

This one is simple. Before entering the car into storage, dump a 12oz bottle of fuel stabilizer into the tank, and fill the tank completely full. This will prevent water vapor in your tank condensing and both diluting your fuel and corroding the inside of your fuel tank. Always store your car with a full tank of fuel.

Rodent prevention

There is little worse than stepping into your car for the first time in what seems like an age, only to find rodent droppings, seat material nests, and peanut shells in your HVAC system (It’s happened to me before…). Take these few steps to protect your Porsche from rodent infestation during a hard and cold winter, and you won’t have to bear the hardship. First, ball up a few wads of steel wool and pack them tightly in your exhaust tips. This prevents any unwanted critters from creating a home in your muffler and clogging it up. The old go-to of mothballs may not be the best idea for your Porsche. First of all, mothballs smell terrible, and come with possibly unwanted olfactory connotations of grandma’s attic. Second of all, the chemicals in mothballs are not always the best for your hand crafted German beauty. The best thing to do, in this case, is to carefully place shallow dishes or cotton balls filled with peppermint oil, as well as bricks of cedar in the car. Rodents are repelled by these ingredients to a much higher degree than mothballs, and they are actually appealing to smell after sitting in your car for a few months. As is always the case, it is a good idea to place a few rodent traps and/or poisons around your storage area, though be sure to choose which to use wisely dependant upon whether you have children or pets that will frequently be in the area.

Rust prevention

Before storing a car for the winter, it is good practice to complete the same underbody cleaning procedure I recommended for those that drive their cars through winter. While time consuming and often a very dirty job, it is a good idea to complete the following task before winter starts. First, get your car into a safe position elevated off of the ground, be it on a lift, or on safely positioned and sturdy jackstands (never work under a car supported by a jack alone). Once elevated, remove the wheels, any and all wheel liners, as well as all belly pans and rocker covers from your car. Now that the complete underbody of the car is exposed, give the bottom quarter of the car a thorough and complete scrubbing. The underside of a car is often the most neglected piece of the puzzle, and when it is out of sight, it is often out of mind. We, as Porsche owners, probably spend 20 weekends a year washing our cars and making them clean enough to eat off of. Spending three weekends per year making sure rust won’t eat through the underside of your gleaming beauty is worth it, right? Once the car is scrubbed clean from the rockers down, make sure to coat each and every bolt, nut, and square inch of floor pan in some form of sprayable rust inhibitor (The WD40 company makes a good one called “Specialist Long-Term Corrosion Inhibitor” that can generally be found for about 14 dollars per can).

Once clean, it is important to let the car completely dry out before moving it to its storage location for the remainder of the season. If you will be storing your Porsche in a location with a porous floor (such as the cement in your garage), it is always a good idea to lay out a fresh plastic drop cloth under the car. A car under a car cover does little besides collect moisture, and in this case, that is not what you want. Roll the car on top of the plastic, jack it up, and place it securely on jack stands. Place large desiccant packs inside the car to prevent moisture buildup in the carpets or seats. Give the car one last onceover to remove any dust or dirt that may grind into the paint, then install a soft flannel coated indoor-style car cover. Plug in a dehumidifier in the storage space, and you have everything ready for dry and safe storage for the winter.

 

Photos: Porsche