Q:

I want to put my Corvette in storage. What do I need to do to make sure I don’t have any problems when I take it out?



A:

Good preparation is necessary in order to avoid damage....


MOISTURE is the biggest problem in the storage of automobiles.


RUST: All ferrous metals. Attacks bare metal, plating and coated surfaces. Non-plated/coated surfaces will rust immediately. PULLEYS, BRAKE DRUMS, FLYWHEEL. Rust may fuse the clutch disk to the flywheel, the rear brake linings to the inside of the drums, (ifthe emergency brake has been left on) and the running surfaces of the pulleys will rust causing pitting and excessive wear when the engine is started and the rust is forced into the face of the belt.


COMBUSTION CHAMBERS: Moisture travels into the exhaust system and up to the engine and through any open exhaust valve where it can rust the piston rings, and valves. A rag stuffed into the tail pipe will stop this, or in cases of long term storage over one year, oil should be squirted into the combustion chambers through the sparkplug hole. The engine should then be rotated to distribute the oil, and the plugs re-installed.


ELECTRICAL DEVICES: Moisture will attack electrical terminals and contact points in SWITCHES,DISTRIBUTOR, VOLTAGE REGULATOR, RELAYS. HORNS, MOTORS, FUSEPANEL, BULKHEAD CONNECTORS, LIGHT SOCKETS, etc. This will cause additional electrical resistance, which can cause malfunctions in these devices. Unlike the situation when a car is in normal use, the long term non-use can allow a build up of corrosion on these devices which is more difficult to overcome.


MILDEW: forms on any material containing organic compounds, eg. seats, door panels, seatbelts, convertible top headliners, etc. This moldy growth is very difficult to remove permanently once it has established itself. It has a characteristic odor, color and texture.


EXTERIOR FINISH: Before the storage period, the car should be washed, dried, and the outside surfaces should be waxed with a good grade of carnauba wax or the equivalent. This includes all chrome-plated parts.


MOISTURE CONTROL: use moisture barriers in humid climates. There are bags large enough to contain the whole car, some re-usable some not. A simple barrier can be made up with a plastic cover on the floor and a plastic cover over the car and hand sealed all around. A desiccant bag must be placed inside the enclosure to absorb the moisture captured at the time of sealing. Closed trailers can be used as storage compartments for long terms. The trailer must be completely sealed up and desiccants must be maintained inside. It’s best if the trailer is not in direct sunlight so that the inside temperature is as stable as possible.


FREEZING: If stored in freezing locations, it is necessary to provide antifreeze protection for the engine and cooling system, and to drain the windshield washer reservoir. The battery should be removed and stored in a warmer location.


LIQUIDS: change motor oil and filter before storage period. This reduces the chance that the oil is contaminated, and will corrode the engine bearings by electrolysis. The same thing is true of the coolant. It should be fresh enough so that it will not corrode the freeze plugs or the radiator tubes. As these liquids are used, they become acidic, and this is the primary reason that they need to be changed often, not merely filtered.


BATTERY: Charge fully, disconnect negative cable, or use battery disconnect switch, and keep the battery fully charged at all times. Use of a battery monitor is recommended. Keep terminals clean and free of corrosion, and the top of the battery dry.


BRAKE FLUID: moisture builds up in brake systems because brake fluid is designed to absorb moisture. This moisture then attacks the metal parts inside the system and causes corrosive build up. This can be avoided by changing the fluid once each year. Once again, the fluid will pick up contaminants, and will carry them out when it is changed.


GASOLINE: Fill the tank with fresh gasoline, and add a gasoline stabilizer to keep the gasoline from depositing a varnish film on the inside of the fuel system.


TIRES: Adjust the air pressure five pounds per square inch over thenormal pressure and keep out of direct sunlight. If storage will befor more than one year, the car should be jacked up and placed onfour jack stands with the tires off of the floor.


VARMINTS: Infestation with mice, rats, bees, ants or other pests cando a tremendous amount of damage to a car. If possible, accessshould be sealed off to keep these creatures out. In any event, thecar should be checked often to make sure that it is free of this typeof pest.


INSURANCE: Protect the car from fire and theft by keeping minimal amounts of insurance in force. A stated value policy with a high deductible will not cost too much for the protection it affords.


EARTHQUAKE: In our area, we must think of the hazards of falling objects in the event of earthquake. Many cars have been damaged by objects which were stored in the rafters above the car falling on the car during an earthquake. It would probably be a simple task to secure these things so that they would be less likely to fall in such an event.