President’s Article November 2016 – Winterizing for Storage
I thought this year would be the year which I would not need to get any cars ready for winter storage. My plan was to sell the 1999 M3, the 1989 325is and the 2001 740iL in order to purchase an E92 M3. Two-thirds of my plan worked well. By the end of last summer, I sold the M3 and the 325is so no storage fees were incurred last winter. The 740iL became my winter car and the plan was to sell it in the spring. After putting much time and money into the 740iL, I was not willing to give it away due to the thousands of dollars spent to keep it reliable for our many trips to Cedar Rapids, Storm Lake and Okoboji. But then, a perfect E92 M3 came calling, and now I am back in the “winterization” business preparing the E92 M3 for storage.
Following are some tips I have used over the years to prepare my cars for winter storage. I now have the benefit of indoor heated storage, but my procedure is as comprehensive as when I stored the 325is in an unheated garage in previous years. The first step is to wash, wax, clean and vacuum the vehicle inside and out. I apply leather, vinyl and rubber protectant to all appropriate surfaces. Then remove all wheels and clean them from the inside out and apply wheel wax. I usually paint all the lug bolts. I inspect all suspension and brake parts and apply rust resistant paint to any part of the undercarriage which may show signs of rust. Add a bottle of Sta-Bil to the tank and fill it with fresh gas. The final step is to fill all the tires to the maximum listed on the tire sidewall to prevent flat spots while sitting for several months in storage. Drive it to the facility and connect the battery to the battery tender. It is very rewarding for the first ride of the spring to be in a clean and shiny car.