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Storing outdoors over the winter

1044 Views 23 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  alphahotel
I intend for my recently-purchased 2008 9-3 SC to be a 3-season car. I live in south central PA and we do occasionally get some snow and they put salt on the roads. This car is basically rust-free and I would like to keep it that way.
I unfortunately do not have indoor storage for it, so the big question in my mind is to get a car cover or not. We live in the woods, so the issue is keeping leaves and such from composting in the nooks and crannys. But on the other hand, I have read that covers can abrade the paint and trap moisture. Any thoughts?
Next, the manual has a list of things to do for long term parking that make sense to me, but the list includes "drain the washer fluid reservoir and hoses". Why would that be necessary? It's not going to go bad over the winter. It's not going to freeze (assuming it is wash fluid, not water).
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Agree about mice inhabiting it. There are plenty of places they’ll settle under the hood as well as on top of the fuel tank.

In my case, my 9-3 sat in my paved driveway for only a couple days at a time. They nested on the tank and chewed the corrugated plastic EVAP lines making a couple of very tiny holes - but enough to set an EVAP leak code so it failed inspection.

I had to drop the tank to locate the leak. I epoxied and sealed the hose and covered both hoses with split wiring loom so they could chew on the sacrificial loom and not damage the EVAP lines.
I have had something similar happen on a different car that was a daily driver. I guess there is some increased chance if it doesn't move for a long time, but it could happen regardless. We have had mice in a garage also; the door does not seal perfectly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Just had a similar discussion with EdT, and this is what I had mentioned:

With a good cover with an inner microfleece (or similar) layer, the risk of chafing the paint should be small. If you have the space, you might want to consider of getting a portable shelter or tent. Wash the car and let it dry before putting on the cover. If possible, apply some car wax. Apply some silicone or deer tallow to the door seals. Squeeze a bit of antifreeze into the key slots of the doors.
Vacuum the engine bay, remove all the leaves, twigs and other debris.

I wouldn't go through the ordeal of draining the washer fluid but making sure it's at least not freezing at -15 - -20C° (which is also recommended for the daily use in the cold season - think of the wind chill).

Apply at least 0.5 bar more pressure than recommended to the tires. If you want, get those thingies (don't know how they are called in English):

Take out the battery and store it in a frostfree place. If this is not possible, I recommend to buy a battery pulser/refresher/jogger and/or a charger which has a trickle charge mode. To avoid losing the settings, a memory save might work:
Danke for the detailed information. "Tire Saver Ramps" seems to be the english name: Tire Saver Ramps – Low Profile Curved Vehicle Storage Ramp Set, 2 Pk | eBay
Had never seen the memory saver device, that is also interesting.
The manual recommends glycerine for the door seals. Probably a good idea to do that occasionally even if not parking for a long term.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Mice can be an issue but these cars are decently sealed so mice shouldn't be able to get inside. I park my cars outside beside my house, and have not had mouse issues there. But the mousetraps in the house gets a mouse a week or so! I guess I shouldn't curse the neghbourhood feral (?) cat for sitting on the convertible roof. It sheds fur on the top, but maybe it also keeps the mice away.

A good car cover won't hurt your paint. It's important that you get one that fits snugly (but not tightly), so that it doesn't come loose in wind. And yes, a car cover will keep needles, leaves, sap etc from your car.

Inflate the tires maybe up to the maximum on the sidewall.

I like to change the oil last thing before winter, so the oil sitting in the crankcase is fresh and has no acids etc.
I just had it changed, so that's good.
I leave my NG9-3 unlocked under the car cover, and the battery installed. I think this prevents excessive drain on the battery, which I charge up every couple of weeks. When I took the battery out for winter, when I reinstalled I had a lot of steering column lock failures and key not accepted. There was no permanent issue (and I have access to a Tech II), however the plan of just leaving the car and charging periodically seems to work fine.
Thanks, good thought. It doesn't get that cold here, I will just leave it on a tender.
I don't understand Saab's recommendations about washer fluid. Put in some good -40º fluid, run the front and rear washers, including headlight, until you are sure the good stuff has pushed out any old summer fluid. It will be fine sitting like that.
Me neither, I think I am not going to worry about it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I have 3 vehicles that I don’t drive during the winter months. I’m fortunate in that I can store them inside my garage/work shop.
I always make sure I fill the fuel tank completely with ethanol free gas and a few ounces of Stabil 360 before storage and run the engine a solid 5-10 minutes before settling in for the winter.
Also a good practice as mentioned earlier to put in fresh oil and filter.
Hook up a Battery Tender and all is good.
Been following this protocol for 20+ years and never an issue come spring when I fire them up.
Ethanol free gas: another good suggestion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks to all.
I am going to modify the list in the manual to skip the washer fluid draining, and add a fill-up of ethanol free gas, battery tender, and get a good-quality cover.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Apart from the usual drain, very low temperatures are contributing to wear out batteries. Good for you if you have the opportunity to charge it regulary - those who can't may want to take them out though (you should see our landlady getting on the brink of a meltdown whenever she notices someone using the outlet in the garden although it's us tenants paying for the electricity used...:rolleyes:).
Wir müssen ordnung haben! (please excuse any spelling/grammar mistakes, I spoke German fluently when I was in kindergarten, but that was a long time ago). Fortunately, I can run an extension cord to the car and put it on a tender.
When it's really cold, it doesn't matter anyway as the lines and nozzles will freeze.
I suppose, but does it really matter, 2 days vs 2 weeks or 2 months?
 

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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
We have used mothballs to keep rodents out of outdoor furniture cushions stored in a shed that is not mouse proof. It seems to work, though we have not done a controlled experiment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
We have used mothballs to keep rodents out of outdoor furniture cushions stored in a shed that is not mouse proof. It seems to work, though we have not done a controlled experiment.
Replying to myself: I am not advocating mothballs in the passenger compartment. But I might put some under the hood...
 
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