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This winter I'll be storing my Solstice off site for the first time. I've found a warehouse full of cars. It's heated, well maintained, seemingly secure, etc. The car would be exposed to potential damage if cars are moved around. I would have access to my car but not to start/drive it. Cost is $60/mo. My other option is a storage facility were I will have my own 10 x 20 garage. I will have 24/7 access to my car to start it and move it occasionally. This facility is not heated and it can get pretty cold during the winter here in Michigan. Cost is $85 month. Price aside, will I be better off in a heated facility where I won't be able to start or move the car for four months? Thanks.
 

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Heated without a doubt. The moisture that can build up in an unheated space can be hard on things. I know a friend that put a car in an unheated space with a car cover. Ruined the paint on every one of the cars that were in that space.

Don't take the chance with an unheated space. Heated doesn't have to be 70 degrees either. A constant 40 or 45 degrees will be enough to keep the dampness away.
 

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My first consideration would be safety and security. Is the location equipped with human or electronic security measures? A facility full of cars left for long periods of time is a great source for thieves.

Given that both facilities are secure, I personally would want to be able to operate the car, ideally take it for even short exercise drives every couple of weeks. Mechanical systems in the car tend to decay less if they are periodically operated.

Another consideration is that for long term storage, even over two weeks, having a battery tender. That means a power source for the tender. The BCM goes into sleep mode but there is still continuous and not insignificant current draw which will put a strain on the battery and shorten its life. Also, if you have an 08 car, you do not want the battery going dead or you may have potential issues with rebooting the car.

Even my forgot the key code twice which is an hour long process to reprogram.:willy:
 

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4 months heated and secured would be my preference. As Rob pointed out, the battery minder would be a necessity. If you have access to the car you could make a date to pop in and put a tender on it for a spell if they don't allow you to just leave it plugged in. (I can seem their concern on liability about leaving a bunch of things plugged in unattended.) Lead-acid batteries don't like the cold, so as long as it's kept reasonably warm as Sly said, you're in better shape.

Rob's point on periodic usage are spot on, but if you're in Michigan (as I am) I don't really see you taking the occasional spin especially once the salt is on the roads. For 4 months I don't think it would be a big issue.
 

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I stored my Mustang in a barn. Dirt floor. It was almost like a carport to the barn. It was 5 foot tall to ceiling. A one car space, open on one side to the elements. I put a tarp up over it. I covered the car with a good car cover. Put moth balls around it to keep the critters out. I put storage tires on it...something I HIGHLY recommend!!! It went in in the first week of October and didn't come out till April. If you don't plan on starting it, no matter where you put it, tape the exhaust shut....keeps mice from getting in there. And disconnect the battery. My Mustang was a show car.....I put 5000 miles on it in 4 years and it was stored every winter that way. Never seen rain, never seen snow......till I lost my demo. Then I put 25k/yr on it.... :( My paint was flawless and looked brand new till the end. I had people couldn't believe I had 150k on it... No undercarriage issues. Here's the rules I lived by:

1. change oil the day it goes to storage
2. change oil the day it comes out
3. undercarriage wash the day it goes in
4. good wax the weekend before
5. undercarriage wash the day it comes out
6. good wax the week it comes out
7. put it away spotless
8. vacuum it, use some good leather conditioner before storage
9. new air cleaner the day it goes in
10. new air cleaner before you even start it when it comes out (makes sure that if critters lived in there, you find the seeds and food they left)
11. disconnect battery (hmmmm....never heard of a car not wanting to reboot...interesting)
12. excellent car cover
13. NO tire shine on tires when it goes in, make sure you have cleaned them good and rinsed them off
14. if you have chrome wheels, put a heavy, thorough layer of chrome polish on the rims (on any surface visible on the rim, inside and outside of rim), and leave it, DO NOT remove the chrome polish until spring!!!! It keeps the wheels from peeling and pitting in the cold. (The guys at Discount Tire taught me this after I went through a third set of chome wheels in as many years after storage! They said even if you store your wheels or car in a climate controlled enviornment, they will still pit and peel without doing this)
 

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I agree with the Ghost. I too just disconnect the battery and hook it back up in the spring. Even in unheated spaces I have never had issues with a battery. The battery tender industry will give you all kinds of reasons to buy a tender but I and a lot of my friends that have hot rods all do the same thing, just disconnect the battery. Don't drink that koolaid.

A fully charged battery will not freeze until -76°F; Disconnect it and forget it.


Sent from AutoGuide.com Free App
 

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FWIW last winter an offsite storage facility that housed many nice cars for the winter went up in flames by me. Almost all cars were lost. I would make sure this place has a sprinkler system if it is in an older building. I wouldn't so much if it is a newer building.

I use a tender but that is because it's easier plugging a jack into the outlet rather than unhooking the battery. If you disconnect it you will have to charge it in the spring because your battery will not hold a charge that long, plus you should throw it on a charger before storing because your battery will not have a full charge as it sits now.

Either way, as long as it is out of the elements it will be fine as long as you take the steps to winterize it. My car sits in an unheated garage from Nov-Mar or Apr. Hell, I leave the door open in the winter time if I'm outside. The only thing I have to do is dust it off, unhook the tender, lower the tire pressure and drive away. Ghost does the overkill so I don't change the oil in the spring or change the air filter(I still have the original air filter on mine). The oil is still fresh and the filters are good for 50k miles or so. If you do wash the underside make sure you drive it for a good half hour or so to make sure the water is all dried off.
 

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I use a tender but that is because it's easier plugging a jack into the outlet rather than unhooking the battery. If you disconnect it you will have to charge it in the spring because your battery will not hold a charge that long, plus you should throw it on a charger before storing because your battery will not have a full charge as it sits now.

Either way, as long as it is out of the elements it will be fine as long as you take the steps to winterize it. My car sits in an unheated garage from Nov-Mar or Apr. Hell, I leave the door open in the winter time if I'm outside. The only thing I have to do is dust it off, unhook the tender, lower the tire pressure and drive away. Ghost does the overkill so I don't change the oil in the spring or change the air filter(I still have the original air filter on mine). The oil is still fresh and the filters are good for 50k miles or so. If you do wash the underside make sure you drive it for a good half hour or so to make sure the water is all dried off.
Your right....I did overkill.... :lol: But NEVER had an issue. I NEVER touched my battery either other then to disconnect and reconnect it. I did have to jump it one time, but in it's defense, it was a very cold winter. As far as changing the air filter....your right, it doesn't have to be done. Mine was done because of the critters that were able to get into places. As a matter of fact, the last winter it was stored, I couldn't figure out how my blower motor seized up over the winter.....until I took it apart and found about ten pounds of corn in it from the rodents. :( As far as the oil goes, its the ONLY way I would store my car. NEVER put a car into storage with dirty oil, and NEVER drive more then several miles after months of storage without changing the oil. Oil, while the car is stored, gets water in it from the condensation effect.
 

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I agree with the Ghost. I too just disconnect the battery and hook it back up in the spring. Even in unheated spaces I have never had issues with a battery. The battery tender industry will give you all kinds of reasons to buy a tender but I and a lot of my friends that have hot rods all do the same thing, just disconnect the battery. Don't drink that koolaid.

A fully charged battery will not freeze until -76°F; Disconnect it and forget it.
Yeah, but...

...freezing is only part of the issue. The rest of the story is sulphation, a big enemy of your battery -- and it occurs whether the battery is disconnected or not.

The "koolaid" (battery tender) is only ~ 20 bucks. Be a big shooter and get one, per the reference below. Your battery will thank you.

From wisegeek.com:

Due to chemical interactions inside a lead battery it must be used on a regular basis or sulfation will occur. Sulfation interferes with the ability of the battery to accept, hold and deliver a charge, and left unchecked will render the battery useless far short of its designed life. In understanding how, and under what circumstances sulfation takes place, one can take measures to avoid it and prolong battery life by years. This is not only good for the pocketbook, but for the environment.

To keep sulfation from occurring, a battery need only be maintained in a fully charged state. For those vehicles and crafts used on a daily or semi-daily basis, this isn’t a problem. However, pleasure boats, personal aircraft, recreational vehicles, off-road vehicles, and motorcycles that are used occasionally will develop battery sulfation, barring preventative measures.

To slow this process, some people disconnect the battery from the vehicle when not in use, but sulfation and self-discharge still occur. A better, more convenient and effective solution is to use a device called a battery conditioner. A battery conditioner will keep the battery fully charged between uses, without overcharging it. Battery Minder and Battery Tender are examples of two such products, designed specifically to prevent sulfation and extend battery life by as much as several years.
 

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Your right....I did overkill.... :lol: But NEVER had an issue. I NEVER touched my battery either other then to disconnect and reconnect it. I did have to jump it one time, but in it's defense, it was a very cold winter. As far as changing the air filter....your right, it doesn't have to be done. Mine was done because of the critters that were able to get into places. As a matter of fact, the last winter it was stored, I couldn't figure out how my blower motor seized up over the winter.....until I took it apart and found about ten pounds of corn in it from the rodents. :( As far as the oil goes, its the ONLY way I would store my car. NEVER put a car into storage with dirty oil, and NEVER drive more then several miles after months of storage without changing the oil. Oil, while the car is stored, gets water in it from the condensation effect.
I don't put my car away with dirty oil, I always change before storage but after it comes out I don't change it. I don't buy the oil condensation theory as being detrimental. If that were the case then I would think you should change the tranny, clutch, and rear end oil everytime also. The moisture that may build up is minimal at best and will evaporate as soon as you hit operating temps. I was referring to you changing the oil after storage as overkill which there is nothing wrong with that. I have never heard a problem with anything being done as overkill so if that is your winterization process that is cool with me. :cool:

As for the critters, that is one thing that most people don't think about. Moth balls and plugging every hole open to the outside is a must; tape, steel wool, newspapers, whatever to keep them out. Nothing will ruin your spring day like the one you described. I was surprised to read you had this issue with the steps you take before winter. I have a friend who bought some plug in device that emits an electric wave or sound that is suppose to keep mice and such out of his storage area. I don't know if that works but he hasn't had a problem but he is like you, everything is done in overkill mode. Heck, he even takes off the wiper blades and stores them inside his house and puts plastic wrap on his rotors so they don't rust. Again, nothing wrong with overkill. :)
 

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Wow, some of you guys do a ton when storing your cars. When I stored my Cobalt SS, I didn't half of the stuff you guys did. To answer the OP's question, I would choose the heated storage because its cheaper. Just pull the battery and fuel stabilizer in the tank (if its the N/A). Personally, I have had 0 issues storing the car in non-heated storage. I have never heard of the moisture/rust problem unless you are parking your car on dirt. If cold storage was so detrimental, how are all these "barn find" cars that have been in storage for 30 years, not just a big pile of rust?

A few things I do:
I change the oil just before storage (but I don't change it when I pull it out)
I overinflate the tires to help eliminate flat spots from forming
I wash, clay bar, and wax it
I make sure I have a full tank of gas (I don't put fuel stabilizer in it because I am leery about using any fuel additives in the 2.0L turbo due to the DI)
I start the car every 2 weeks to get the oil moving and battery used, then let it run up to operating temp and rev her a little bit.
I always store mine in a location where I know there aren't any rodents


A question to those who store their car for 3-4 months without starting it: Are you doing anything to circulate the oil before you start the car for the first time? After 3-4 months (I've heard in as little as 1-2 months), all of the oil would have ran off of the cylinder walls (and everything else), so when you start it up you will be running metal to metal until the car builds enough oil pressure to squirt it back up there. I would think that would cause the most damage of all.
 

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A question to those who store their car for 3-4 months without starting it: Are you doing anything to circulate the oil before you start the car for the first time? After 3-4 months (I've heard in as little as 1-2 months), all of the oil would have ran off of the cylinder walls (and everything else), so when you start it up you will be running metal to metal until the car builds enough oil pressure to squirt it back up there. I would think that would cause the most damage of all.
That's not exactly true with synthetic oil. It usually keeps a slight coating on the cylinder walls. I had a buddy that blew up 3800 motors for GM for a living. He said that synthetic is the BEST protection for your motor at startup.....not so much for heat disapation, but startup protection was great because of it's coating abilities. Most damage (90%+) to your motor is done on startup.... Just an FYI...... Whether in storage or driven daily. You'll do less damage starting it once in 4 months then you will starting it every 2 weeks for that 2 months.....
 

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A question to those who store their car for 3-4 months without starting it: Are you doing anything to circulate the oil before you start the car for the first time? After 3-4 months (I've heard in as little as 1-2 months), all of the oil would have ran off of the cylinder walls (and everything else), so when you start it up you will be running metal to metal until the car builds enough oil pressure to squirt it back up there. I would think that would cause the most damage of all.
No, I don't prime the motor or anything like that. I will turn the car on and then off twice just to prime the fuel pump, don't know if it works but I want pressure coming from the tank up as high as I can get it before it hits the hpfp. You do bring up a good point about the oil running off critical parts but I have stored metal parts for a short time and if I didn't have WD40 I would soak them in oil, and they still had oil residue on them but not like after I took them out of the oil bath. Pressure builds up quickly so I don't think it will cause any harm.
 

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Ah yes, critters. Thought I had the mice at bay when the weather began to cool as I'd put out bait in both the main garage and my shop and I saw less and less signs of activity. Then I washed and winterized the lawnmowers last Saturday and blew out a bunch of sunflower and other seeds from under the tractor seat. Then I washed the quad as the start of PM for the winter snowplowing season and blew out a ton of seeds (from the wife's bird seed collection in the garage) out from crevices in that. Then I cleaned out even MORE from under the seat when I went to replace the battery. Those little ba$tards get into EVERYWHERE!
 

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A lot of good information here first and foremost clean and wax your car and cover it,change the oil and use synthetic, before you fill the tank put some Stabil in it then let it run for a little while to get the stuff in the fuel system ,I use a battery tender as I have a few cars that I store and have never had battery issues , I store my cars on jack stands to keep the tires from flat spotting or you can inflate them to 50 lbs(something I read in Hemmings though I never tried it).One thing not mentioned here,I store my car in my unheated barn it has a concrete floor so I bought some heavy duty rubber horse mats that the car sits on, it protects the underneath as even concrete leaches moisture up from the ground. My point is if you are storing it in an unheated area put a tarp or some type of rubber pad under it and don't use old carpet as it will attract moisture.I also put down a few boxes of moth balls to keep the critters out.I start my car and let it run till it warms up at least once a month and have never had any issues with any of my cars I live in northern Ohio so our weather is very similar to yours .Just thought of this they sell an item called a car/bike cocoon which is essentially a large storage bag that you drive your car into and zip it up .There are two types one has a small fan that runs and keeps the bag inflated keeping moisture out ,the other has chemical packs that do the same thing I used one on my Harleys which had a lot of chrome and polished pieces on them and they always came out looking just like it did when I put them away. There are a couple of companies that make them CARBAG and CALIFORNIA CAR COVER are two that come to mind.Hope this helps.
 

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I simply just drive it into a Garage, throw it on jack stands, have a battery tender on hand if battery dies, then just start it and run it for 10 minutes, then turn it off. Do that around once per month, no issues.
 

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As for the critters, that is one thing that most people don't think about. Moth balls and plugging every hole open to the outside is a must; tape, steel wool, newspapers, whatever to keep them out.
Tape, Yes.

Steel wool, Yes.

But I would respectfully disagree with newspapers.

Rodents like newspaper and use it to build their nests. Using newspaper (or rags) is like a personal invitation for rodents.
 

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I am lucky to live in a condo with two levels of heated underground parking. Here is my yearly routine....
1) She is washed, clean and dry.
2) today removed collision insurance but have kept fire and theft
3) will over inflate tires
4) Stabil goes into the gas tank. Let car run for 5 minutes to circulate. Filled my gas tank up today with Ultra 94.
5) GM Solstice car cover goes onto car after a final sweep with my California Duster.
6) I leave battery connected
7) I start car once a month.
My Sol is stored from now until mid March every year since I bought her new in 2007 and have had no issues.:thumbs:
 
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