Laying up for Winter

I’m told that some people don’t use their cars in winter which seems a bit odd to me!

Anyway, if you are planning this then here are some tips to ease the hibernation.

Let’s start with radiators. Don’t be tempted to leave this drained over the winter. This leads to extra corrosion inside the core and gives the waterways extra opportunity to corrode. Get the engine warm then drain and dispose of the old coolant. Fill again with clean water and run to try and rinse out any other debris and nasties. Drain this again and then fill with water and antifreeze mix. It’s always a good idea to completely change the coolant every two years anyway.

Next, the antifreeze itself. There are actually a couple of types: Organic Additive Technology (IAT) and Inorganic Additive Technology (OAT). These should be marked on the labels but you definitely DON’T want to use OAT. The IAT is what you want and this is often blue, but it’s not a hard and fast rule.

Take out the spark plugs and squirt some clean engine oil into the cylinders and turn the handle a few times. Hopefully this will put some oil on the bores to cut down on any corrosion.

My personal preference is to change the sump oil and oil filter after a lay-up instead of before. This is because I’ve seen engines that have had new oil before winter that have managed to acquire some moisture in the damp months which then gets circulated for the entire next season.

Of course there is a way of avoiding all this faffing about and that’s to get the engine properly warm every month. It doesn’t have to be much- a trip of a couple of miles on a dry day will suffice. It has the added benefit of preventing brake linkages and the like seizing up. Every Spring I have people booking in cars to sort out problems that have appeared due to inacivity!

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