Winter is quickly approaching, and with it comes new rules for car maintenance. While the NASCAR offseason means that we’re all going to have to wait a few months before we get back behind the steering wheel, that doesn’t mean that it’s time to slack off. The offseason is an important period, not just to rest, but also to prepare for the next racing season. This means that this period should be dedicated to maintenance and repairs. Here’s what you need to do to prepare your race car for storage during the winter.
Clean Your Car
Cleaning your car prior to storage is more than just for the aesthetics. Dirt, bugs, and bird droppings can etch into your car’s paint given enough time. Worse, if you get corrosive materials on your car, it may even form rust eventually. It’s possible to clean your car yourself before sub-freezing temperatures hit, but you’d be much better off getting your car detailed instead. This is especially important if you want to maintain your sponsor decals, especially since business advertising with car decals is a major part of NASCAR.
Fill Your Tank
Over the winter, your garage’s temperature is bound to fluctuate, and this creates moisture. The more empty space in your car’s tank, the more likely it’s going to attract moisture, and as most car owners know, moisture is the primary cause of rust. Rust can clog your fuel filter if neglected for too long. A full fuel tank not only helps prevent the buildup of moisture, it also dilutes contaminants, which results in a cleaner burn.
Manage Weight-Bearing On Tires
If one area of a tire bears constant weight for too long, it’s going to develop flat spots. This is not a flat tire, but it’s going to hurt your car’s traction and handling. Some car owners recommend taking the weight off of the tires completely with jackstands. This is discouraged for older cars that have sagging frames because this might cause a misalignment in your frame. This is completely fine for race cars since race cars are designed to be significantly lighter than consumer cars.
Maintain Your Battery’s Charge
Extreme temperatures adversely affect a battery’s ability to retain a charge. Some cars even undergo a constant battery drain, which greatly increases the chances of getting a dead battery when racing season starts again. Fortunately, all it takes to maintain your battery’s charge is a plug-in battery tender which maintains volts and amps to normal levels.
Mice, squirrels, and other vermin are bound to seek shelter from the harsh winter cold. There’s always a chance that they might make your car their temporary home. Strong-smelling pest repellants are usually enough to keep them away, but you may want to throw in an inflatable cat as another deterrent. A lot of drivers also recommend taking off your air filter and blocking off your intake manifold to seal off your car.
Most things break because of misuse. In this case, things could break because they’re unused. Remember that cars are built to be driven. Many of their systems need circulation and kinetic energy to function properly. The point of storing your car properly is to minimize the effects of prolonged storage.