Storing a car? A few precautions will keep it from deteriorating

If you have an older, yet valuable automobile that you want to store, it's easy -- if you know how. Also, if you have just an ordinary type of car and want to put it under wraps for a few months to a few years, that's also easy -- again, if you know how.

Really, all you have to do is follow a number of helpful tips offered by experts in the field.

Although no car can be totally preserved in its present condition, it's possible to keep any deterioration to a bare minimum.

If you're planning to put your car in moth balls for a year or more, here's what you should do:

First, pick the driest spot possible since humidity is the chief culprit while the car is in storage. If the climate in your region is damp, run a dehumidifier in the storage area 24 hours a day, if necessary.

make certain that the storage area's temperature is at least 50 degrees F., leaving the windows of the car partially open to permit the circulation of air. However, if your car has a woolen interior, you will need to keep the windows closed while mothproofing the interior.

The car should be raised off the floor so as to prevent the tires from developing flat spots during the period of nonuse. You can use four jacks so that the car's suspension will carry the weight. The hand brake should be left off.

Take out the battery and store it in a warm place, but not on a concrete floor. Remove the spark plugs from the engine and pour a noncorrosive oil or a premium 10W oil into each cylinder. Crank over the car's engine three or four times. Then refit the plugs and ignition wiring.

Drain the engine oil and pour in 10W premium or a special noncorrosive storage oil. As for the cooling system, drain it and pour in an alcohol type antifreeze. You can also use 100 percent alcohol. You should use a rust inhibitor in either case.

Take the gas tank down to empty, then run the engine until even the carburetor has no fuel in it.

Refill the tank, inserting a gasoline stabilizer, a noncorrosive oil, or 5 percent 10W oil. Then spray all the mechanical linkages with a light oil, silicone spray, or WD40 and put a light grease over all bare metallic surfaces.

Next, apply a protective liquid coating on the tires and other rubber surfaces so as to eliminate cracking. Do the same for all vinyl and leather in the car. Just ask your automotive supply dealer for the proper coating by telling him what you want to preserve.

While at the store, pick up some high-quality wax and apply it to the painted , wood, and plated portions of your car.

Be sure to take off all fan and V-belts from the engine. Remove carpeting and liner from the interior and place them in a cool, dry spot. If the carpeting is woll, add moth balls. If it's wool and nonremovable, douse it with moth balls.

If you can't store your car in a dry place, seal the exhaust pipe ends, the carburetor air intake, and lower the clutch pedal -- if the car has one. Leave the trunk somewhat open and keep the dehumidifier running in the storage area.

Should the car's operator's manual still be available, take a peek at it to see if there are any recommendations there on how to store the vehicle. It could provide some other tips that may be of use to you.

Finally, throw a dust cover over the car. But remember, the air should be allowed to circulate under it, so don't tie it down.

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