Winter storage tips for your Figaro
During the winter season many Figaro owners put their pride and joy under wraps. And rightly so. The increased moisture and salted roads here in the UK can wreak havoc on our roof and bodywork and eventually an onslaught of corrosion will ensue. Hopefully with our winter storage tips for your Fig, that won’t happen.
That’s not to say you can’t protect your Fig for winter driving because you can. Products like Waxoyl are great for keeping moisture out of places it shouldn’t be and, if done right, can protect those rear arches very nicely. Making sure components that need grease have adequate amounts of the goopy stuff can also help prevent water and salt getting in and seizing parts up. Having good tyres is always a must but more so in the winter due to the increase chance of rain, snow and ice. Make sure your lights work, your brakes are doing their job, your wiper blades are in tip top condition and above all keep your ride clean and protected with a good coating of wax. Right so now that’s out of the way here’s some top tips for those of us who will be stashing our rides away for the winter.
Winter storage tips: Give your Figaro a clean
The first thing we would tell anyone who wants to store their car away at any time of the year is to give the thing a thorough clean. The last thing you want is for dirt to stay on your paint and embed itself or for moisture to be trapped beneath road grime. Go over the whole car, on top and underneath, and remove as much dirt as you can. Ideally you’d use a high pressure jet wash for this but be careful, do not use on the roof! By removing all the dirt before applying your soapy water you also prevent the risk of putting swirls in your paint. Once you’ve done your cleaning you need to dry the car as much as you can. Go over the body with a chamois leather and then take the car for a spin, avoiding muddy roads, to get all that water out.
Winter storage tips: Wax on wax off
Mer wax is great for protecting your paint. If it’s good enough for protecting boats and anchors, it’ll be good enough for our cars! Now that you’ve got a clean and dry car it’s time to protect that paint with a coating of car polish or wax to keep moisture and airborne particles off the paint. You can get this stuff at Halfords and pretty much all of them do a good job at protecting the paint – even the cheaper stuff – so it’s down to you to know your budgets.
Winter storage tips: Get the vacuum out
While you’re in the cleaning mood it’s always nice to give the interior a clean as well. If you don’t have time to vacuum then at the very least remove any debris from the footwells and under the seats. The last thing you want is damp leaves or dropped food going mouldy while the car is stored, and sweets have a tendency to get intimate with carpets when left to their own devices and are very hard to remove.
Winter storage tips: Cover up your Figaro
If you don’t have a garage then a breathable car cover will help keep moisture out and protect the paint from debris and bird poop. Make sure the car is clean before you put it on. Read more
If you’re budgets can stretch to it, a breathable car cover is a great addition to your anti moisture arsenal. A flock lined one is ideal. The cover will protect the paint from the elements and debris while allowing moisture to evaporate. Car covers are great for outdoor use but we’d recommend one even if you store the car inside a garage. Every little helps. Remember to clean the car first though as you can easily scuff the paint when using a cover if dirt particles have not been removed.
Winter storage tips: Release the handbrake
If you’re going to be leaving your car for a couple of months make sure you leave the handbrake off. Rear pads and shoes have a tendency to stick on if the handbrake has been engaged for long periods of time. If you’re worried about the car moving all you have to do is make sure the car is left in gear and there is no harm with chocking the wheels with bricks or similar.
Winter storage tips: Empty the washer fluid
If you’re not using the correct ratio of washer fluid and water it will most likely freeze over the winter. So even if you’re not using the car frozen jets are going to cause you a problem. As you know, when water freezes it expands and this can lead to cracked hosing and fluid reservoirs. Even if you think you’ve got the right water to washer fluid ratio, it’s probably best not to chance it so empty it out into your daily driven car as not to waste it.
Winter storage tips: Power nap
Disconnecting the battery and keeping it topped up while the car is hibernating will ensure a long and healthy life. See our Battery Disconnection Switch Another common problem with winter storage can be a dud battery. Leaving the battery for long periods will eventually leave it drained and can decrease its life very quickly. It’s a good idea to keep it topped up. A topped up battery will last far longer than one that’s allowed to drain on a regular basis. Get a conditioning charger (available from Halfords UK) and, if you can, leave it permanently connected and switched on. It won’t overcharge the battery and it will keep it topped up – ideal. If the car has to remain outside in the weather then remove the battery and take it indoors. Then do the same thing.
Winter storage tips: Go for a drive in your Fig!
Hang on! Isn’t this supposed to be a tip on storing the car? Yes. But going for an occasional drive on a good dry day a few times through the winter will be good for your car. It keeps components from seizing, fuel lines from blocking and allows the oil to circulate. Plus it will probably make you happy to drive your pride and joy once in a while.
Winter storage tips: Security
If you’re leaving your car under wraps on the road or on the drive then make sure it is secure. You can go all out and have an alarm installed but that’s not to everyone’s budget. There are many products on the market that help the fight against car theft. A crook lock or stop lock is a great start, even if they are ugly, but you can also get locks for your gear stick and your pedals. If you’re locking the car away in a garage you should still follow the above pointers as well as making sure your garage locks are in good working order. Fitting deadlocks is recommended and are much harder to break into than padlocks.
If you’re really paranoid and not afraid of tinkering with the engine, it’s a good idea to remove the rotor arm or take out the HT-leads. At least then no-one can break in and drive the car away. You could even remove the steering wheel (not easy) for extra peace of mind!
Winter storage tips: Waxoyl
Even if you’re not going to be driving the car it is always a good idea to protect the parts of your car you can’t reach. Spraying Waxoyl in any crevice you can find will keep the moisture out and prolong your metal. It’s best to do this before the damp air sets in, ideally on a warm sunny day. Doing so ensures no moisture gets trapped and the warmth will allow the Waxoyl to flow. Who would have thought that August and September were the best months to start prepping your car for winter?
Winter storage tips: Legal stuff (UK)
Remember to keep an eye on your MOT, road tax and insurance due dates. When not driving your car it is easy to overlook such things until it’s too late. If your tax is going to run out you can either renew it, provided your MOT and insurance are current, or declare it SORN. If the MOT is due to expire around the same time as your road tax but you don’t want to take the car out, you’ll have to take the SORN route too. Even if the car isn’t parked on the road. It’s quick and easy to do via the DVLA website. Insurance is a must at all times but if you don’t want to pay the full premium for the months your car isn’t on the road, you can take out a “laid up” policy.
Winter storage tips: One last thing
It’s important to remember to keep an eye on your Fig over the winter. Even if you don’t plan on taking it out. You’ll probably just want to get in it and go when the spring arrives so check that everything works as it should before making your first journey of the year. We will cover what you’ll need to check elsewhere.
Hopefully this will help a few of you out there.