For a fortunate group of you, this post won’t be relative. You are lucky enough to live in a climate that allows for year-round driving of your Porsche 993; or, you love your car so much, that you put on snow tires and zip around in the winter weather. For the rest of us unlucky souls, we need to put our car away for the winter.
Last week I wrote about the “Worst Day of the Year”! This week, I wanted to re-cap my preparation for that day. What do I do to get my car ready for storage.
1. SET THE DATE
I live in New England (North Eastern portion of the US), so I’m always looking at the weather forecasts to see what to expect in the weeks to come. I’ve been fortunate enough to drive my cars all the way up to Christmas some years and in others I have had to put them away before Halloween (althought it’s been a long time since that’s happened).
My first Porshe was a 1973 911 T (which I purchased in 1999). This Porsche was all original with 45k documented miles (two owners) and original paint. This car was pristine. As a result, I was obsessed with keeping her as original and clean as possible. This meant that the car never saw rain, let alone any snow or salt. Now, eight years later, with a 993 that has decent rust proofing, I still find the idea of getting salt on my car repellent. So, watch the weather forecast and get your car inside before they start putting salt on the road. Remember, it doesn’t have to snow for them to salt. You can get salt on the roads from freezing rain too. As a general rule, I set a drop dead date for putting the car away and then watch the weather like a hawk so I don’t get caught.
2. MAKE A CHECKLIST
While this isn’t a necessity, it does make it easier if you haven’t put your 993 away for a nice winter’s rest in the past. Things I recommend are as follows:
a. Clean it inside and out. The cleaner the car is when you put it away, the better it will look every time you check in on it. Don’t forget the wheels. The last thing you want to do is leave brake dust on your rims to sit for the winter.
b. Gas it up. Make sure you have as full a tank as possible. I make it a point to gas up at the station closest to my garage right before I put away my car. With a full tank you help to keep out any unwanted condensation or water build up that can happened when a car sits all winter long.
c. Use a fuel additive. I like Stabil. Read the directions and use the proper amount for your 993. The key with any fuel additive is to put it in prior to filling the tank and then to make sure you drive for a few miles to get the additive throughout the entire fuel system.
d. Tire Pressure. If you’re not going to put your car up on blocks (which I don’t recommend), the next best thing is to get a good amount of tire pressure in each tire. Make sure you don’t overinflate past the manufacturers recommend capacity, but you should go over the recommend driving pressure. As a general rule of thumb, I put 50lbs of pressure in each tire. You have to remember to do this when the tires are cold or you won’t get an accurate reading and you will end up with flat spots. There is nothing worse then taking your Porsche out for the first time in the spring and having damaged tires due to flat spots from storage. Properly inflated tires will avoid this.
e. Battery. Some people like to take the battery out of their cars or at least disconnect them. Not me. I like to use some form of Battery Tender to make sure my battery is always fresh and I’m ready to go. It would be a shame to get a nice Spring day, go to start the car and find you have a dead battery (not to mention, it can get expensive replacing your battery every year). Let’s face it, the electronics in a 993 tend to eat up a battery pretty easily if the car isn’t used frequently. So, either disconnect it or put on some type of Battery Tender. What you shouldn’t do is start your air-cooled Porsche and let it “warm-up”. Look in your manual, you will see this is not recommended and can damage your car.
f. Cover it. Even if your car is in a nice heated garage, securely tucked away with the key hidden, I’ve always thought it a good idea to keep my cars covered. This way, you don’t have to worry about anyone or anything bumping into or crawling on or over you nice paint. I use a thick, padded, custom fitted cover from California Car Covers. If you do use a cover make sure it covers your exhaust pipes. If you don’t use a cover, you might want to think of covering your pipes with something (those big 16 oz keg cups work great). The idea behind this is to keep out any rodents that might want to try and build a nest for the winter. You laugh, but I’ve seen it happen to friends cars and it can be very frustrating and expensive.
3. DRIVE IT
This should probably be up at the very top, but I don’t want you to forget. The most important thing you can do prior to putting your toy away is to drive it and enjoy as you may not have her back on the road for another 4 to 6 months.
4. VISIT OFTEN
One of the reasons I bought my car in the first place was that I just loved the overall design of the 993 (I’m sure that was a major factor in your decision making process as well). I get a lot of enjoyment simply from looking at my car (althought not as much as I do when driving).