While we do have beautiful weather in Canada, there are many Canadian BMW owners who prefer to keep their babies indoors during the winter. There’s more to properly storing a vehicle than just closing it up inside a garage.
Cars are meant to be driven, so there are some important steps that should be taken to ensure that a stored car remains in proper working order and is ready to roll in the springtime.
The fuel system in any type of vehicle can be a big source for issues during storage. An empty tank will allow room for moisture to condense inside the fuel system, which can lead to corrosion. It’s important to fill up the gas tank, and then add fuel system stabilizer to the fuel to keep it from breaking down while the vehicle is stored. Once the fuel system stabilizer is added, take your BMW for a brief drive to allow the stabilized fuel to circulate through the entire fuel system.
Change the oil before storage. Used or dirty motor oil contains acids and other corrosive agents that can damage the engine while it sits.
It’s also helpful to pull the spark plugs out of each cylinder and either drop in a small amount of oil or apply fogging oil into each cylinder. Other vehicle fluids such as transmission fluid, axle fluid, and coolant, can also be corrosive when dirty. It is best to top off these fluids prior to storage or change them altogether if regular maintenance is due.
Remove existing coolant, including coolant inside the radiator, and add antifreeze that has anti-corrosion properties and is rated to provide protection at or below freezing.
Once your BMW has arrived at its storage location, charge the battery. Remove it and hook it up to a maintenance charger. Before you attach the battery to the charger, check the terminals and clean any corrosion so it’s ready for use in the spring.
Mice and other rodents are always looking for a warm place to build a nest. To make sure they don’t take up residence someplace inside your stored vehicle, the tailpipe and other openings should be sealed off.
Also, consider placing mothballs inside the vehicle to prevent small animals from chewing on wiring or upholstery. Use a car cover but only after your BMW or MINI convertible has been washed. You do not want to park it with any dirt or debris such as leaves or road dirt on it. That can eventually ruin not just that beautiful paint finish, but also your canvas top.
If you have a convertible, vacuum the top thoroughly, then use a convertible top cleaner and protectant. It is recommended that you use BMW Car Care Products and be sure to follow the application instructions. The rear window is very susceptible to scratches if not handled properly. It is suggested that you never touch the plastic with your bare hands or skin. Rinse the plastic window lightly with water or use compressed air to remove any grit or dirt before washing with a very soft clean microfiber cloth. After washing, it may need to be detailed with a specialized plastic polish. Follow up with a vinyl protectant.
Always store your convertible with the roof up. Storing it with the top down can result in permanent markings on your top. Most wear begins at those fold lines or the stitching. It’s not as fun, but keeping your canvas BMW convertible top up will make it last longer.