Horseless Carriage Education

Technical Articles

Storing It For The Winter

Author: Harold & Jo Sharon

     Except for the salt  on the roads there is No Reason why you shouldn't take your car out once a month during the winter; just remember the rule that applies to any car, any time: NEVER SHUT OFF A COLD  ENGINE! 

     Block part of the  radiator if you have to, and when you do take her out for a ride, go for a long enough ride to thoroughly warm the engine and your soul! 

     Don't bother to "block her up" off  the ground even if the car has wooden wheels.

     If you're going to be a sissy and not drive because it's a little cold, don't leave the cooling system empty.  Its better to leave antifreeze in it.  But, if for some reason you don't want to, then wash the system with Radiator Flush from the car parts store, then drain, and then refill with antifreeze and drain that. Now the cooling system is wetted with glycol, which will minimize rusting. 

     Do not leave the radiator cap off while storing; in addition to dampness, you never know what might wander in. Don't forget to drain every low spot in the system, and keep track of the amount of fluid that drains out.  Sometimes crud blocks the drain and when you think it's empty, it ain't!   The time honored
tool for rousting around the drain to clear it is a large paper clip,

Fill the gas tank.

     Shut off the fuel system if it has a valve.  The carburetor should be either full, or bone dry.  If it's full, be sure that in February it's still full.  Plug the intake to the carb with more than a rag. 

You don't want moisture, or mice coming in.  Likewise, the tailpipe.

     Jo's friend called triple A one cold morning when her(modern) car would not start.  The gas tank was full and the battery was charged but it just wouldn't start. It was towed to the local repair garage where they puzzled quite a while before discovering that a rodent had packed the exhaust system solid  with acorns and bird seed.  She drove it home and parked in her garage as usual.  The next morning it coughed a bit, but started.

     ; The mice had been up all night and started refilling the pantry but the seeds blew out of  the tailpipe.  She set out half a dozen mouse traps and the next morning  she was hollering for George to come take the dead mice away (sissy!)  Mice can get through a hole the size of a dime. Other rodents are also good at squeezing in through small spaces.  Once I was driving a borrowed pickup and a hamster crawled out by the windshield-wiper, looked in, and flew away (I was driving 40MPH).   Mystery: neither our kids nor the truck owner's had a hamster.

     When cold weather approaches I always bait several mousetraps with raisins or peanut butter and tuck them near the walls of our garage.  Mice do not venture out into open (dangerous) spaces if they can help it.  I like to catch them before they discover the cars!  Our son is in the re-modeling business.  He says he has NEVER opened a wall without finding mice or signs of their activity, so assume that your car is in their sights.  I do not use Glue Traps.  I don't mind killing mice but I don't want to torture them.  Stuck on a glue trap they slowly die of thirst. The plain snap trap is quick and effective.  Re-use or discard as suits your philosophy.

For more of Harold's Great technical knowledge, check out His Book


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