I need to leave 3 cars, 2 Volvo 860s and a Toyota 4 runner from December through May in Maine. Two can be in an unheated garage, the third outdoors. What do I need to do beyond disconnect the batteries? Do I need to put them up on blocks to save the tires? What else? Can I cover the one outside or does that promote rust? These are old cars, but run well.
I would plug the exhaust and other openings and put gasoline conditioner in all the tanks. Five months is not a long time. Make sure the coolant is good for the lowest temperature.
Many slow selling cars sit on dealers lots for much longer without any preparation.
You can also change the oil and filter if not already done so.
Add fuel stabilizer to the gas and make sure the tanks are full. Check the antifreeze.
Make sure you have the security codes for the radios before you disconnect the batteries.
You can try to seal off the exhaust, intake, etc, to prevent rodent entry, but it’s really hard to keep them out if they want to get in.
I’m not crazy about car covers, but it’s up to you.
5 months is no big deal…CLEAN them thoroughly to prevent rust and mildew. Both of these things feed off dirt…Wax the one staying outside, or wax them all…
You can use the search feature of this board to access many past discussions on this subject.
Moth-balls can prevent rodent incursion (some say) but it will take a week or so to clear the oder when you come back in the spring. Some people can’t stand it, others don’t mind…
I wouldn’t disconnect the batteries. I would hook them up to a trickle chargers. Some trickle chargers will let you hook up more than one vehicle to the same charger. This is an option you should consider.
I would cover the tires on the vehicle being stored outdoors, and I would add fuel stabilizer to all three vehicles. Whether or not you should cover the outdoor vehicle depends on the climate and the quality of the cover.
No need to put them on blocks. That went out when modern radial tyres came in.
I do suggest removing the batteries and storing them someplace like your basement. If someone decided to steal one, they will find it a lot harder to do if they did not just happen to have a spare battery with them. Don’t park one under a tree and I would suggest NOT using any form of car cover. They can cause more damage than they prevent.
Get fuel stabilizer in all the gas tanks, fill them and the run home from the gas station should get the stabilized gas from the tank into the motor.
Make sure the batteries are fully charged before you disconnect them. Battery Tender chargers are great, but you might not want to buy 3 of them. Have a charger ready to recharge the batteries before you reconnect them.
If you care about the looks and paint finish on the cars wash them at least, and wax them at best. I’d put a cover on the car stored outdoors, but only if you plan to leave it until spring to uncover. If you try to take the cover off when it is below freezing the frozen cover removal could damage the car and/or the cover.
Your biggest risk is mice getting into the car and causing damage to the wiring, insulation, and seat cushions. Once they get in they can make a huge mess and if they eat wiring cause expensive to repair damage. Put some sticky traps in the trunk and around the car. Some d-con or other mice control measures should be in place too. You need multiple defenses to deal with these pests.
Let me add to the good advice. As Uncle Turbo mentioned, add stabilizer, but run the car with it for a while so all gas in the system is treated. Some interpret adding Stabil as just dumping into the tank and walking away. I agree with the multiple approach to rodent problem and have had some luck with the electronic devices.
Cold weather preserves batteries and their charge…They do fine over winter storage…