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When the aroma of pumpkin spice fills the air, it’s time for classic cars to go into hibernation for the winter. But you can’t just park them in the garage and hope for the best. You need to winterize your classic car to keep it safe for spring.

Follow these seven steps to keep your favorite ride safe all winter:

  1. Get it clean. Wash, wax and polish it up. This helps prevent corrosion and tarnish. It also keeps grit and grime from scratching your car when you put on its cover. And don’t forget to vacuum and wipe down the interior, too.
  2. Fill ’er up. Fill your classic car’s tank with premium fuel and add a fuel stabilizer. The stabilizer will prevent evaporation that can lead to corrosion in the gas tank. Without a stabilizer, fuel can deteriorate and gum up your carburetor, making it difficult to start the engine come spring. After you add the stabilizer, run the engine for a few minutes to distribute it throughout the system.
  3. Change for the season. Change the oil and filter and replace coolant, brake and transmission fluids to prevent corrosion during the winter months.
  4. Keep it dry. While your classic car is in hibernation, moisture and humidity can lead to mold on its upholstery and carpet. Placing several boxes of baking soda throughout the interior can help absorb excess moisture.
  5. Give it air. If you are storing your classic car for less than six months, you can prevent flat spots on your tires by slightly overinflating them before hibernation. If you are storing it for longer than six months, your best bet is to lift the car on jack stands to prevent strain on the tires.
  6. Unplug. Disconnect the battery terminals or remove the battery entirely to keep it from discharging in storage. Use a battery tender to keep the battery charged until it’s time to cruise again. If you remove the battery entirely, follow these steps to store it properly.
  7. Cover up. Cover your vintage vehicle with a breathable classic car cover (not plastic). This will prevent moisture buildup beneath the cover. Special environmentally controlled storage facilities for classic cars are available, if you want to be extra careful. If you keep yours at home, just make sure the storage area is dry, and take precautions to ward off rodents that may crawl into the car for warmth (and end up chewing up your upholstery).

If you follow these steps, your precious roadster should be ready to roll come spring. One last tip: Make sure your classic car is well insured. Frankenmuth Insurance has a Collector Car policy designed specifically for treasured rides like yours.