Sadly, for those living in a northern climate, it’s time to put away your Corvette for the winter. To help you prep, Corvette expert and race car driver, John Heinricy, offers timely advice on how to prevent costly headaches come springtime.
✓ Change your oil before storage. Contaminants in old oil can cause erosion of seals and gaskets. It’s best to have fresh, clean oil in the engine. Old oil that sits all winter can corrode engine parts. So unless you are driving your car regularly in winter, you shouldn’t worry about doing another oil change in the spring.
✓ Add a fuel stabilizer to keep your fuel fresh.
This will eliminate the need to drain your gas tank since a full tank helps to prevent condensation and rust. I recommend adding 1 oz. of a stabilizer, such as STA-BIL, for every 2.5 gallons of gas. Since most Corvettes hold about 18-19 gallons, add about 7 to 8 oz. of stabilizer.
I’ve heard some Corvette owners add half of the recommended amount of stabilizer to a quarter tank of gas and then fill the tank until it’s almost full and then add the other half of the stabilizer. But running your car for about 5 to 10 minutes after adding the stabilizer to your tank should treat the entire fuel system. The important thing is to make sure you have a full tank before putting your Corvette into storage.
✓ Maintain the battery while your car is stored. I use a battery-maintaining device, such as Battery Tender, during the time that my Corvettes are stored. This will not only keep your battery charged, but it has what is called float capability. Battery Tender reduces the voltage when the battery is fully charged and prevents damage to the Corvette battery. The Corvette battery will last a lot longer this way because life-shortening battery damage due to a “dead” battery will be avoided.
Another option is to just remove the battery altogether or disconnect the ground cable from the battery.
✓ Avoid parking on flat surfaces. Leaving your Corvette on a hard flat surface for long periods can lead to “flat spots” on the tires, which can give your car symptoms of an unbalanced wheel and create extra noise while driving. Some Corvette owners will overinflate their tires to avoid this, usually filling them to just under the maximum PSI shown on the tire’s sidewall. With today’s tires, flat spotting is becoming less and less of an issue.
My experience is that the flat spotting, which happens during storage, is temporary. When the Corvette is taken out of storage, drive a few miles at lower speeds until the flat spotting goes away and then resume normal driving.
✓ And avoid using blocks. One of the problems with putting your Corvette on blocks is shock absorber leakage. If the suspension is allowed to droop completely with the shock absorbers fully extended, the seals in the shock absorber can be compressed for a long time. This could result in leakage when the Corvette is taken out of storage.
If you are worried about permanent flat spotting and don’t want to risk damaging your suspension, a product such as Race Ramps FlatStoppers might be a good solution. These provide a more even weight distribution and do not conduct heat or cold into your tires despite the changing floor temperatures in your storage area.
✓ Clean your Corvette inside and outside. This helps to keep it looking like new. Protecting treasure from scratches and other potential problems with a quality cover is another good idea. Corvette covers can run anywhere from $150 to $450 so do some research on which one is right for your Corvette.
The most important consideration is selecting the right kind of fabric for your specific storage application. Cotton flannel fabrics breathe and allow air to circulate through them as well as being soft and easy on your cars paint and wax. Cotton/polyester fabrics have poor fluid resistance and trap heat and moisture. Plastic films should be avoided because they don't breathe.
• Place several mothballs on plates around and under your Corvette to keep mice away. You can also add dryer sheets to the interior and trunk to keep critters away.
• Put a couple of boxes of baking soda out around your car to absorb moisture.
• Crack the windows in your Corvette to allow circulation.
• Put steel wool in the exhaust pipes to keep animals out, but make sure you remember to remove it in the spring before driving your Corvette.
• It might seem like a good idea to start your car up every once in a while, but letting your car idle for any amount of time does not get rid of the condensation that is created in the exhaust system and engine. Do not start the car unless you are going to drive it. Start up is the hardest thing on the engine, especially when the car sits for an extended period of time. Doing it once in the spring is better than many times during the winter.
• Place a “Dry Pac” moisture bag in the interior and engine bay to keep the moisture levels down. Rest them on small plastic bags so they do not come into direct contact with your Corvette.
The certified technicians at George Matick Chevrolet’s service department understand what it takes to properly get your Corvette storage ready. If you want to make sure everything is done correctly, call and let them take care of your prep work: (866) 561-0521.