Winter Storage of your PorscheWritten by Webmaster
So the summer is officially over. Alas even the more optimistic of us can not avoid this fact any longer.
Some owners of Porsche sports cars choose not to use their Porsche in the winter months, choosing to store the car up until the next spring. Others choose to use them all year round.
Storing your Porsche over the winter months and not using it can have some benefits, in particular not exposing the car to salted roads and the increased risk of an accident due to ice. However there can be some potential hazards to storing your Porsche over winter, which with a little care can be avoided.
Before we start, if you use your Porsche all year round, how about you call us and arrange one of our free winter checks, as the name says, they are free of charge and sometimes we even have special offers where you get free wiper blades at the same time. Call us on 01202 488800.
In an ideal world, your Porsche would be getting stored in a heated, dehumidified garage with plenty of air being circulated around the car.. However in the real world I would expect the car to be stored in a normal domestic garage, without heating, without a dehumidier and without forced airflow around the car. Or even worse, the car may be kept under a car cover in your driveway.
With this in mind, I have put together the following advice to help make sure your Porsche is in tip top condition next spring.
Body and paint.
No matter how you are storing your Porsche over the winter months, we would recommend you either have the car professionally detailed, inside and out, with plenty of wax (more than one coat) applied to the paintwork before it is stored. The main importance of this is that the removal of contamination from the paint, as well as several good coats of wax will ensure that no contamination degrades the paint over winter, but also the paint is protected from moisture, ultraviolet light, oxygen attack (dulling the paint), or chemically attacked by anything that touches the paint, which can range from acid rain to even chemicals in the dust that may settle on the car from attacking the paint. Also, it will stop the movement of a car cover from scuffing your paint, which is of particular importance if the car is stored outside or in drafty conditions with a car cover fitted.
It may also be a good time to have the caverties of your Porsche bodywork coated with a protective wax based substance with a corrosion inhibbitor. While your car is stored, it will almost certainly be exposed to changes in temperature and humidity, which will cause condensation to form inside the caverties of the bodywork, this condensation could cause rust, which may eat your car alive, from the inside out!.. Well worth having this done once every few years to prevent the evil cancer known as rust.
One last note, car covers. If you are storing your car inside or outside, it is a good idea to cover the car with a good quality car cover, which must be the correct one for how you expect to use it. In other words use an indoor car cover if you will be storing the car indoors, or use an outside car cover if it will be stored outside. A good quality car cover will be tailored for your exact model of Porsche, will be breathable, even for outside use, and will have a soft inner surface to avoid abrasion.
As well as using a car cover, I would recommend that if the car is stored indoors, you put some carboard over the car, perhaps from used and opened up cardboard boxes, this will help protect your car in case someone drops an item near it (you will not believe how often we hear this) as well as ensuring that people are less likely to use the car as a temporary convenient table, such as when unloading shopping from another car.
Rubber and plastic items. It is a good idea to feed or condition all rubber and plastic items on the exterior of the car prior to storage, as it will protect these items from degrading with the changes in temperature and humidity. It is not unusual to find windscreen rubbers, rubber and plastic trims and other items to crack or crumble over a winter, due to the extreme changes in climate your car may experience.
It is always a good idea to also valet or detail the interior of your Porsche before you store it up for the winter months. This should ideally include a thorough vacuuming, cleaning and conditioning of all parts. Dirt can chemically attack your interior over months of low activity and changing climatic demands. But as well as this, any organic dirt, even in small quantities can promote the growth of mould and other biological items, which may cause permanent damage to fabric, leather, plastics and rubber items within the car. Not only this, but crumbs or even a discarded mint that has fallen under the seat will become a food source for mould, insects or even may attract rodents to your Porsche, which can be especially cunning in how they gain entry to your Porsche. (We had one customers car where a rate had managed to find its way into the air filter on one Porsche and had chewed it up to make a nest, very cosy for the rat, unfortunately the engine ingested the shredded air filter when it was next started!)
Of course dressing the plastics, leather, rubber and vinyl components of your Porsche with the correct conditioning compounds are especially important in winter, as they will protect them from degrading and decomposing over the winter months, potentially saving you hundreds or thousands of pounds in repairs!
While your car is stored, the battery will continue to make a complete circuit, which will cause a reverse electroplating action, especially in damp conditions. It is my recommendation to make sure the battery is completely disconnected during winter storage, as it will reduce the corrosion possibilities of the car. Not many people realise that for rust or corrosion to form, there needs to be several conditions present, which are - Air (oxygen) and electical activity. Water, humidity or salt increase the chances of corrosion because they increase the conductivity of electrical movement. Obviously we can not do anything about air being near the car, but we can reduce electrical activity by removing the battery during storage. There will always be some electrical activity, which will be caused by environmental conditions and ionisation of the air, but removing the battery will reduce this problem to a minimum.
While the battery is removed from your Porsche, it would be a good idea to connect it to a battery conditioner. Not a trickle charger, or a general purpose battery charger, as these may over charge and damage the battery, but a battery conditioner will constantly monitor the battery, top it up when required and put the battery through several phases of charging and discharging to keep it in tip top condiiton and stop it degrading.
At JMG Porsche we are fans of a carcoon battery conditioners, however we have customers with other battery conditioners who have had good results. Expect to pay around £50 at least for a good battery conditioner.
Fuel can evaporate, oxygen can attack the fuel, condensation can form in the fuel tank, and the oxygen as well as condensation can corrode your fuel tank. With this in mind, we tend to recommend that before you store your Porsche, you fill the tank to the top, not doing this will increase the amount that the fuel degrades as well as potentially damaging your fuel tank. Once you get the car out of storage, we also recommend you use a fuel system cleaning additive to this fuel, which will help with lubrication of the fuel pumps and injectors when the car is restarted, but more about that in the next article, "getting your Porsche out of storage in springtime"
The engine is one component which requires particular care during storage, especially how it is prepared for storage.
As an engine is run, over several cold starts, the engine oil will accumulate contamination in the form of hydrocarbons, or unburnt fuel, these hydrocarbons can react with humidity during winter months of storage to form chemical compounds which can both attack the engine oil, and even more worrying, attack the bearings and metalic surfaces within the engine. With this in mind, we typically recommend that the last journey before storing your Porsche is to your Porsche specialist to have the engine oil and filter changed, and on your way home to store the car, make sure you drive the car for long enough for the engine oil to reach fully opperating temperature. This normally takes twice as long as it takes for coolant to reach temperature, so this really needs to be a spirited drive, with the engine under load, ideally in motorway conditions for a minimum of 30 minutes.
The engine oil is not the only engine fluid which needs to be in perfect condiiton for storage, on watercooled cars it is important to make sure the coolant is also up to a minimum protection level, ideally of around 50% strength and protection down to minus 30 degrees Celsius. Even though your engine may not see such low temperatures in storage, a protection level as high as this, will ensure that the antifreeze anti corrosion properties are to a strength likely to prevent damage to your radiators, engine block, cylinder head and water pump.
In an ideal world, we would recommend that once your car is parked for winter, that your spark plugs are removed, a anti corrosion winterising spray is deposited in the bores and the spark plugs replaced. This will avoid bore or piston ring damage due to humidity or changes in temperature. However this often is not possible without the services of a professional. If you would like this to be performed, please feel free to ask us for a price.
When a car is stored, the deformed portion of the tyre left in contact with the ground may, due partly to the duration of storage, as well as the changes in temperature, can permanently deform the tyres, causing a flat spot, which can result in the tyre requiring replacement when the car is taken out from storage. With this in mind, ideally we would recommend the car is placed on axle stands during storage with the wheels either left hanging just off the ground, or the wheels and tyres are completely removed from the car.
This may all sound like a lot of effort, so some people have reported good experiences from over inflating the tyres prior to storage, say to 55psi, which will reduce the amount they deform where in contact with the ground and so avoid flat sports, while we can not recommend this, we can see how it may work. However, just make sure you decrease the tyre pressure in the spring to a sensible level.
Before your car is stored, it can be a good idea to intensively clean your wheels, as brake dust and other contaminants can continue to eat away at both painted and polished wheel surfaces long after the car was last used. Once the wheels are spotlessly clean on the inside and outside, a good tip (as recommended by Porsche) is to rub the wheels with petroleum jelly, almost like you are coating them with a layer of wax. This will remove the oxygen contact with the wheels surface, as well as providing a minute layer of protection which can be washed off in the spring time.
While the car is in storage, we strongly recommend that the hand-brake is not applied, as the mechanism can seize, causing your car to be stuck wherever it is stored. A far better idea is to store it on level ground with chocks either side of the wheels so it can not roll away. It is also a good idea to occasionally remove the chocks and move the car backwards or forwards by six to twelve inches to stop the brake pads sticking to the brake disks.
The brake fluid also needs to be in perfect condition while in storage. As brake fluid absorbs moisture from the air, it is wise to have your brake fluid checked before the car is stored, otherwise this moisture within it may actually damage the brake cylinders, callipers or other brake assembly parts through corrosion.
Windscreen washer fluid
Even though you will not be using your Porsche in the winter if it is stored, it is a good idea to make sure your windscreen washer reservoir is filled to the top with washer fluid of the highest strength, as this will provide protection from freezing, very important if you want to avoid hundreds of pounds in repairs to the washer pump, bottle, pipe-work and jets, which can be damaged if the fluid is able to freeze.
There are no hard and fast rules for storage of your Porsche over winter, however hopefully you have found this article helpful in making sure your Porsche emerges from hibernation in as good a condition as possible. If you like this article or have found it useful, please let your friends know about it, perhaps using the twitter and facebook buttons on the page, or even through posting the link in any forums you use.
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