Winter non use of car questions

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Jul 14, 2020
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So, as some background, the car is a 1998 Ford Mustang base model. V/6 automatic with only 79000 miles on it. NICE car, seems to be in excellent condition mechanically, with zero rust anywhere. I just bought it in march this year, so this is my first winter. I have other older classic cars, like my 64 ranchero with a 302 and automatic, and my 65 mustang with a 200 c.i. 6 cyl with automatic. I store them every winter for about 6 to 7 months, but this is my first "newer" car to store. My questions are: (1) do I just do as the others, which is fill the tank with E-0, add Start-Bil, and let it sit? or (2) Do the same with the gas, and warm it up occasionally during the winter when the weather is nice? By the way it sits in my attached garage, which never gets below freezing. And I will put a maintainer on the battery. Also, there are never any mice, and I add extra air to the tires. Just don't know if with A/C and fuel injection which the old cars don't have, if there is any different storage procedures.
 

stangguy

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It has been sitting about a month now, and today and tomorrow are going to be 70 degrees, so wonder if it would be good to take it for a drive now before letting it sit for the next 6 months. It already has the tank full with stabilizer. I would only burn out about 1/2 gallon of gas, as it gets 30 MPG.
 

stangguy

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Battery tender and occasional use, even if it's just to warm it up occasionally.
So you think that using it now and then is better than just leaving it parked and not starting? Not disagreeing, just clarifying. I am just trying to get a consensus here.
 
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I put my 95 Wrangler away by filling it with gas and adding Seafoam. I have a battery tender on it. Generally, mid winter, there will be a huge snow that requires some play, so I will pull it out and pay for 30 minutes or so in my neighborhood. So, it gets run once during the winter. No problems for me after 2 winters. Fires up good as new each time I start it.

This Jeep tends to only get driven on weekends as well. It sits a lot.
 
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the canyons
We have two cars and four motorcycles that are all stored for the winter. Fresh gas with stabilizer, and battery maintainers on each. We have tons of snow and salt on the roads all winter long. Besides not wanting to subject them to the salt, they all have tires that are not suited for cold temperatures.

As for starting them occasionally to '"warm them up". That would depend entirely on what that warmup meant. Starting and letting them idle for a few minutes, does more harm than good, in terms of creating condensation in the engine.

They don't get started unless they can be ridden/driven long enough to get the oil up to operating temp and stay there for awhile. With the aforementioned salt-covered-roads, that doesn't happen very often. So they generally sit to wait for better days. Or we load them in the toy hauler and take them somewhere far away from the frozen tundra to have some fun.
 
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So you think that using it now and then is better than just leaving it parked and not starting? Not disagreeing, just clarifying. I am just trying to get a consensus here.

Probably. But it probably depends on how salty your roads are in the winter. Where I live, there are often opportunities in the middle of the winter to drive on clean salt-free roads.
 
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Upstate NY
If you start it it should be brought up to full operating temp for say 15 minutes. But I would not start it. I say stabilizer and don't fill gas tank. Better to leave space in tank to add fresh gas in spring. BatterMinder is better than a BatteryTender. The good ones have high and low temp compensation.
 
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New England, USA
Marine Sta-Bil in a full tank, tires up to max on sidewall (remember to deflate before driving), fresh oil, charge and disconnect battery, This has been my general script for ~30 years. Well, Marine sta-bill wasn't around then, but you get the point :)

Don't start the car unless you can go for a good drive, on a few cars I have w/ oil temp info, it is surprising how long it takes oil to get up to temp and you also don't want any condensation remaining in the exhaust.
 

JC1

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So you think that using it now and then is better than just leaving it parked and not starting? Not disagreeing, just clarifying. I am just trying to get a consensus here.
I think you are going to drive yourself crazy thinking that you need to drive the car on any day where the weather is nice before you put it away for the winter. Leave it parked.
 
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I just put Sta-bil in the MG's fuel, air up the tires to the maximum, and let it sit over the winter. I don't bother starting it during the winter.
 
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The IL
So, as some background, the car is a 1998 Ford Mustang base model. V/6 automatic with only 79000 miles on it. NICE car, seems to be in excellent condition mechanically, with zero rust anywhere. I just bought it in march this year, so this is my first winter. I have other older classic cars, like my 64 ranchero with a 302 and automatic, and my 65 mustang with a 200 c.i. 6 cyl with automatic. I store them every winter for about 6 to 7 months, but this is my first "newer" car to store. My questions are: (1) do I just do as the others, which is fill the tank with E-0, add Start-Bil, and let it sit? or (2) Do the same with the gas, and warm it up occasionally during the winter when the weather is nice? By the way it sits in my attached garage, which never gets below freezing. And I will put a maintainer on the battery. Also, there are never any mice, and I add extra air to the tires. Just don't know if with A/C and fuel injection which the old cars don't have, if there is any different storage procedures.

I have the attached garage as well. A little less miles, but basically the same. Just been doing choice (1) since I've owned it. I differ just a little in that I disconnect the battery.
 
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Sounds like you are doing everything right.
I would not start a stored vehicle unless you actually drive it to reach full temperature and then some... get everything nice and hot. Otherwise let it be stored as you are doing it properly.
What is Start-Bil? LOL 😂
 
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Southeast Texas
I have a lot of experience storing cars.

Use 2X Stabil. Thats according to their directions.
Fill tank 95+% full. That eliminates condesation.
No need for a tender if you fully disconnect the battery.

If you do want to drive, once eveyr 2 months would be fine, for at least 15 minutes - get it at or near full temp.

No need to overthink things. The Stang will be fine.
 
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Just don't know if with A/C and fuel injection which the old cars don't have, if there is any different storage procedures.

Forget about stabilizer, modern fuel injected fuel systems are pretty well sealed preventing fuel oxidation and evaporation. No need for it. I've had many cars that I parked for more than 5 years without doing ANYTHING to them and they started up and ran as good as if I put them away last week. Have a wrecked 2012 Nissan Versa I bought back in 2012 that I'm just starting to rebuild. I've started it every 6-12 months so seals don't dry out and electrical components don't freeze up, but it runs fine on 8 year old gas.
 
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If I had to store a car for the winter, I’d use marine Sta-Bil to a full tank(and run the car to get into the fuel system), change the oil with a cheap filter, and install provisions to charge the battery. Also, air up the tires to the PSI on the sidewalls to keep them from flat spotting and do any rust proofing/waxing/rubber seal preserving as you see fit. Also check the coolant and change that if need be.

I’d also plan to start the engine and have it run for 20-30 minutes, after you get strong heat.

Then in the spring, adjust the tire pressure, change the oil and drive it.
 
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^ Changing the oil before and after is a huge waste.

Even "old" oil, with 20% life remaining, is a fine anti-rust coating on the engine internals. We don't have sulfur in the gas anymore, so "acids" building up aren't what they used to be.

Stored, new oil will flash off any moisture (there'll be none) the first good drive of the spring.
 
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ChicagoLand USA
fuel stabilizer in the tank with the tank filled, raise the air pressure on tires (but know what level they are before driving again), usually wash vehicle, place on Battery Tender Plus for Winter slumber...it's worked for my cars that aren't used in the Winter since 2001...

Bill
 
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