Winter Question: Store, or Fix and Drive?

Hello all,

I have a 1995 Ford Probe (5-speed) that needs front struts (~$450) and may have a coolant leak, but is very good and fun otherwise. I work in a rural area in southern Pennsylvania and am curious about this car on ice and snow. I also have at my disposal my wife’s old car, a 1997 Oldsmobile Eighty-Eight, which needs no work at the moment.

I am trying to decide what to do with the Probe over the winter (which is apparently supposed to be cold, but not that snowy here), and I could use some advice. Here are my options:

1) Find some kind of indoor storage (really cheap garage, barn, shed) for the Probe and drive only the Eighty-Eight. If I choose this option, I also wonder if it is wiser to have the car fixed first, or just fix it in the spring if nothing will get any worse.

2) Have the Probe fixed and drive it on warmer/drier days, and fight the ice and snow in the Eighty-Eight.

3) Wait to have the Probe fixed till spring, but keep it for free in the parking lot at my apartment complex. Could either remove the battery or attempt to drive it once in a while.

The Probe is the first car I’ve owned, and it’s a blast. I want to keep the car in good condition for another two years or so, and I would appreciate your help and insight. Thanks!

If you are planning to have the struts replaced in spring, why wait? Do it now. You will have use of the Probe all winter. You will certainly appreciate the second car when the Olds needs to go into the shop for a few days. And why maintain insurance, etc, for a car that is taken out of service?

The Probe will handle the winter conditions as good as the Olds. Make sure both have good tires.

It makes no sense to do anything other than keep both cars in service.

I would fix the Probe now and continue to drive it. Why give up driving it until spring for just $450? Cars don’t like to sit around in storage. Driving the car is the best thing for it.

The trick with snow is to have winter tires. They make all the difference. Either of these cars will be fine in snow with the proper tires.

If you decide to wait until spring to fix the Probe put fuel stabilizer in the car NOW and make sure the gas tank is full before you park or store the car for the winter.

I’m not sure if either of your problems are applicable, but I’ve done the parking a car for winter instead of fixing it thing a few times and the trouble with it is that in the spring, you don’t know which problems it had before and which ones are just related to it sitting.

If you are for sure going to fix it, I’d vote for fix it now. At very least, I’d at least figure out the coolant leak issue before you put it away.