How to Safely Store Your Rig in the Off-Season | GRID Off-Road
When winter comes around, you’ll need to store your off-roader for the season. Freezing conditions bring snow, sleet, ice and other unwanted conditions. You’ll need to care for your machine correctly to ensure it’s ready for the warmer spring days.
With that in mind, here are six tips on storing your rig safely in the off-season.
1. Find Storage
The first step is to find a place to store your off-roader. The best option for any vehicle is to lock it up in storage. Preferably, you’ll find one that’s climate-controlled to maintain your machine’s condition. These facilities are also suitable in the summertime when humidity can soar and harm your vehicle. Use your garage at home if storage facilities aren’t available, or use a car cover to keep your off-roader outside. Keep your rig on concrete or asphalt because dirt or gravel can adversely affect your machine.
2. Check Fluids
Once you determine your storage, ensure your rig’s fluids are full. This includes your oil, gas, brake fluid and transmission fluid. If you plan to store your vehicle for a month or longer, top off these fluids before locking it up to ensure it’s ready when you return. Changing your oil before storage is wise, or else you risk corrosion. Ensure the oil is new and amber-colored — older oil becomes darker brown.
Typically, gasoline begins to oxidize and evaporate after a couple of months, but you can improve the shelf life by using fuel stabilizers. They’ll add two years to your gas’s life and prevent old fuel from leaving behind unwanted clogs.
3. Strengthen Your Garage
The garage is one of the safest places to store a rig in the off-season, but the door can experience wear and tear over time. For example, it can weaken and compromise its insulating capabilities. Before the cold weather arrives, you’ll want to ensure the garage can protect your machine.When studying insulation, you’ll want to look at the R-value. This factor tells you how much resistance the garage door has to heat flow. The necessary R-value depends on your area because winter isn’t the same nationwide, but you should aim for an R-value of at least 10 to keep the cold weather out.
4. Examine Tire Pressure
The transition to cold weather can take a toll on your off-roader, especially the tires. Sudden temperature drops make your pounds per square inch (psi) fall. In fact, your psi can drop 1 pound for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit temps fall. Before storing your rig, fill up the tires to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
When in doubt, overinflate your tires. When in doubt, overinflate your tires. The psi will drop over time, so overinflating slightly is wise. The last thing you’d want to see on your upgraded off-road wheels is flat spots, which often happen in winter. Flat spotting is at its worst in early fall and spring because temperatures are the most volatile.
5. Charge the Battery
Wintertime can also critically impact your battery. It’s common to crank the engine only to find a dead battery. Before you store your machine, it’s wise to charge your car’s battery and check the level when you’re ready to take it out again. Maintenance is even more essential if you have an electric truck, considering how much the battery matters to the vehicle’s operation. You’ll want to visit your rig every few weeks and crank the engine when you store it. This will ensure everything operates smoothly. Another option you have is to unplug the battery entirely. It should have a full charge before disconnecting. You could also leave the battery intact and connect it to a trickle charger, giving it enough power to last the winter.
6. Protect Against Theft
The climate threatens your big rig, but you’ll also want to beware of theft. Despite the cold weather, criminals will find any excuse to infiltrate your garage, driveway or storage facility. They could break into your off-roader and try to steal items or the entire vehicle. Luckily, there are ways you can protect the machine.
Numerous anti-theft devices are on the market to safeguard any off-roader. For example, you could install a steering wheel lock to prevent thieves from moving it more than a few inches. Also, install a GPS tracker or air tags to locate your machine if someone steals it.
Protecting Your Big Rig in the Off-season
Car maintenance should be a priority all year, but it’s even more critical in the off-season. Cold weather can significantly affect your machine, so use these six tips to ensure it’s ready when spring arrives.