When the weather gets cold and the snow starts falling, some companies, like landscapers and certain repair companies, may say ‘see ya next year’ as they retire their fleet vehicles for the winter.
However, winter vehicle storage isn’t as simple as putting them in a garage and waiting until next year – that is, unless you want the nasty surprise of them not running properly in the spring?
Here are a couple tips and tricks for your fleet vehicle winter storage to ensure they are kept in good running condition and are ready to hit the streets when you are back in season.
You shouldn’t just store your trucks or vehicles anywhere. When choosing a place to house your vehicles for the winter, you need to make sure there are a couple items you check off your list.
Make sure the area is well insulated (it doesn’t need to necessarily be climate controlled, but you don’t want it to be freezing cold). Having a concrete floor and not just bare floors is a good way to help keep it insulated.
You also want to make sure it is an area that will stay relatively dry all winter. Excess moisture, or even an area that gets too warm, can inflict damage to the condition of the vehicle.
Keep it clean
It would be a shame to leave those nice vehicles dirty all winter. Be sure to give them one last good wash and wipe down before you say goodbye for the winter.
Keeping your vehicles clean during long periods of storage can help prevent the build-up of rot on tires and rust around the body.
Top off your fluids and tire pressure
Before you store your vehicles, a good way to maintain peak condition is to make sure all of your vehicle’s fluids, such as anti-freeze, gas, oil and windshield fluid, are full. Make sure your tires are also at the appropriate pressure levels.
Again, this will help ensure you don’t run into any nasty surprises in the spring. It is also a good idea to add a fuel stabilizer to your fuel tank to help prevent corrosion inside your fuel tank.
Take it for one last drive
You’ve cleaned it up and topped it off. Time for one last ride around the block. Taking your vehicle for a final drive after you’ve washed it gives all the water a chance to escape crevasses and prevent moisture build up or freezing during storage.
This also gives all the freshly added fluids to make their way through the vehicle’s system. Once you reach your storage destination, if you anticipate temperatures getting extremely low, you may also want to remove the battery and store it separately in a warmer location to avoid cracking or freezing.
Cover and protect from harm
Once you’ve done all your due diligence, it’s time to safely store the vehicle. First, check to make sure windows are closed to keep moisture or any unwanted visitors like insects of mice out of the cab. These critters will look for any way to escape the cold inside your car, including entering your tailpipe. Stuff a rag or, if it will fit, a tennis ball in the tailpipe to keep them out.
For extra protection from the elements, cover your vehicle with a tarp or, more preferably, a vehicle cover. Now that you’ve taken the appropriate measures, your vehicle should be in pristine condition and ready to roll when the weather turns a little more favorable.