Many that frequent Curbside live in an area of the world that doesn’t have winter weather or perhaps a relatively short and mild season. For those that fall into that category, consider yourself lucky. For the rest of us that live in more northern regions, winter is a well-defined season. Many, like your author, are “fortunate” enough to live in an area with long cold winters. Along with the snow and cold comes the road salt used to keep our roads safe and free of ice and snow. Consequentially, for northern classic car owners, a long winter slumber is standard practice at this time of the year. Those that don’t have classics still have a daily driver that will have to face the poor road conditions, snow and cold weather. These conditions certainly tax a vehicle considerably more than in mild conditions and so many owners will do some winter prep on their daily drivers as well.
As the owner of several daily drivers and classics, autumn can by a busy time for me, in particular once I add in my required property maintenance. All of my vehicles see some sort of winter preparation, but the old cars are a bit more involved. For my classics, I typically start with a good cleaning, a wash, wax and interior cleaning. When the day comes for me to park the cars for winter, I will take each for a good drive, long enough to get all the fluids up to operating temperature. I also fill the tank with fresh ethanol free gas and fuel stabilizer. This is followed up with an oil change and chassis greasing. I have two sets of wheels and tires for my old cars, so I swap to my storage set to prevent flat spotting on the good tires. It also gives me a chance to thoroughly clean the wheels and tires and inspect/clean the chassis and suspension parts. Finally, I remove the battery and cover the car with a car cover. The battery is connected to a maintainer over the winter. My cars are stored in a heated garage and remain untouched until the spring. I don’t start the engine to run it on occasion like some owners.
My daily drivers are relatively modern and so not too much preparation is required. My routine typically starts off with the annual visit to Krown Rust Control for the oil spray rust proofing. I check the paint and perform any minor touch-ups as required. I will give the vehicle a good thorough wash and wax to help protect the paint and clean off the excess rust proofing. Once the weather forecast shows that snow is imminent, I install the winter tires and wheels on each. I also take this opportunity to service the brakes. Although modern disc brakes are a massive improvement over the drums of the past, the late model designs are prone to seizure in northern climates (at least in my experience). Removal of the pads, cleaning and lubricating the sliding points makes a big difference in ensuring proper brake performance and longevity. Finally, I usually also take the time to change the wiper blades and give the vehicle a once over to ensure all systems/fluids are okay.
Now that you know my routine, what is yours? What if any winter prep do you perform on your daily driver and/or classic car?