Storing vehicle in winter

Hi I would like information on how I should store my 2006 ford ranger for 3 or 4 winter months. I am in N Dakota - gets 20 to 30 below for days. I am a disabled service connected veteran and it is hard to get out when it is snowy and cold to start unit -in unheated garage about 50 meters from apt.

I have a “trickle charger” for the battery and a tank heater to warm oil. I have been in ND many winters but was working and had to start vehicle every morning, am now in wheelchair and worried what I should do to keep the Ranger in good shape for spring.

Thanks for your response. jon

The first thing to do is add a fuel stabilizer to a full tank of gas and drive the vehicle for a short distance. When the vehicle is in it’s parking spot remove the battery and bring it inside. You can then use the trickle charger to keep the battery maintained.

Then you want to get some stainless steel wool and cramp this into the tail pipe and into the intake duct before the air filter. This will prevent critters from getting into these areas a building nests. Stainless steel pot scrubbers work good for this.

Then place some dryer sheets in the interior of the vehicle. Critters don’t like the odor these give off so they stay out of the interior. Then crack the side windows open slightly.

That should be about it for the amount of time the vehicle is going to be parked.


I would only add that if you are close to an oil change do it now.

Invest in a block heater, I will serve you much better. As said previously stabil, and maybe it is less important now than it used to be but store it with a full tank of gas to prevent condensation. You might consider parking the car with the nose facing east to keep the snirt from filling up your engine compartment.

As an old Nodaker myself, I go for battery in the house, fuel stabilizer and oil change. Don’t see why you would want to use tank heater or any heater. The heat could attract critters. As it is they won’t be looking to nest in cold metal when they can either head for the house or find something else in your garage. THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE TO YOUR COUNTRY AND BEST WISHES.

to the last two posters… he is putting the car in an unheated garage …

Using a block heater you are not going to start til spring is just a waste of money. If the battery is less than 3yrs,old and fully charged I would just disconnect the cables and leave the battery in the car. If the battery is not being drained it shouldn’t freeze at those temps. The colder a battery is the longer it will live if it doesn’t freeze. If you are going to worry about it, bring it in, peace of mind is worth more that a little more life from your battery.


jon boman here, thanks for your swift replies re ford ranger PU; think I will go with a full gas tank, fuel stabilizer and putting my battery (4 years old) inside next to my box of fruit loops. I love my ranger and am paranoid about keeping it in good shape. You guys do a good service, have someone give you a hug.


It’s rarely an issue nowadays, but if this is your first Winter with the vehicle, check the coolant or get the coolant checked to make sure that a previous owner hasn’t helped you out with a water rich coolant mixture that might freeze.

Agree; the block heater is something you use to start the car in cold weather, not to preserve it!

Agree with prior suggestions; take the battery inside and put it on a battery minder there. Or give the battery away and buy a new one in the spring. I have many friends who go South to Florida or Mexico for months at the time. That’s what they do; too dangerous to leave the house with a lead acid battery on a minder or charger when not home.

I can only add one thing to Tester’s list. Call your insurance company. You likely can eliminate the collusion part of your insurance (it’s the big part) while it is in storage. Remember to put it back on before you drive it off in the spring.

Drive your Ranger for at least 10 miles prior to parking to warm and dry the exhaust system to limit corrosion. I would disconnect the battery too. I have a car that has no battery drain when parked and don’t use a trickle charger or battery maintainer and don’t disconnect the battery. My car was parked a week ago and will not be run until April as I have done before. It starts right up in the Spring. If you have power in your garage, it would be better to use a battery maintainer, not a trickle charger for a little extra peace of mind if you prefer. As you already have a trickle charger, you can use a cheap 5 dollar 24 hour timer to run it an hour or two per day but not continuously.

If the battery freezes, it was junk anyway. Batteries are preserved by cold…I would disconnect it, but leave it in place. Have you considered the Gulf Coast, Arizona?