Winter is a wonderful time to dive into new seasonal activities. However, don’t forget to protect your warm weather assets before the cold weather hits! Many vehicles are not meant for our harsh Canadian winters, and you will need to store them for the winter. We’re here to give you some tips to keep your car safe and well-maintained while it’s stored for the winter. We’ll also share some tips and tricks on what insurance you’ll need while you enjoy all that winter has to offer.
Where to store your car during winter
Location, location, location! To keep your vehicle safe, secure and in good condition, store your car in a dry location with a concrete floor such as your garage or an indoor storage unit. If you don’t have indoor storage space for your car, local high-rises or condo buildings may have an extra parking spot or two underground that you can rent. If you live outside of a high-density area and do not have a garage, a neighbour may have one available for rent! Check online forums such as Kijiji or Facebook Marketplace to see if there’s anything available nearby.
The location you choose for your vehicle doesn’t need to be climate controlled, but it should not have excessive moisture. A building with lots of moisture and humidity inside is going to cause much more harm to your vehicle than a cold, dry one. If an indoor location is not possible, don’t despair! You can safely store your car in the elements for several months if it is properly covered.
Cleaning your car
Clean, dry and preferably waxed is the best condition to have your car in before it is put away for the winter months. If not properly winterized, acidic material could eat away at your paint, while improper car covers could rub dirt around the clearcoat and scratch your vehicle. To avoid any issues, ensure there are no contaminants left on your car’s surface and apply a coat of wax to the paint.
Don't for get about your tires!
Make sure your tires are inflated to the recommended tire pressure. If a vehicle is left stationary for too long, the tires could develop flat spots as the weight of the vehicle presses down on the tires' footprints. To ensure your tires remain in good shape, you can remove them and use jack stands to hold your car off the ground.
A few additional tips when it comes to your tires and winter storage:
- If your car is manual, leave it in neutral with the parking brake on. Automatic cars can be left in park with blocked tires to prevent any moving.
- Your car should be parked on a level surface.
- Park your car with a flat section of 2-inch by 10-inch wood boards or similar under each tire. This provides a mild insulating effect if you’re parking on concrete, and will help keep the rubber from hardening up too much.
Check your car's oil before storing it for the winter
If you will be storing the vehicle for longer than 30 days, consider getting the oil changed. Used engine oil has contaminants that could damage the engine or lead to sludge buildup. If you live in a colder climate, make sure your car has enough antifreeze. Once you’ve topped off the fluids and added fuel stabilizer, take your vehicle out for one last ride to circulate the new fluids before you store your car for the season. You can skip this step if you're only storing the car for a week or two.
Here are some more important tips to keep in mind when storing your car for the winter
- Lubricate important chassis points. The chassis is the base frame of your vehicle. If we lost you when we said chassis, get a mechanic to help out with this step.
- Check your coolant protection level.
- Block off your exhaust and intake.
- Use desiccant inside your car to absorb any moisture. (Desiccant is a substance that absorbs moisture. You’ve seen it before – desiccant often comes in what looks like little salt packets but they say “throw away, do not eat” on them.)
- Use rodent repellent outside of your car.
Maintain car insurance while your car is stored
You may think you don't need car insurance while your car is stored. Keep in mind: insurance is there to protect you from the unexpected. Here are a few examples of incidents that may be covered under a comprehensive auto insurance policy:
- Falling objects, such as trees, lamp posts or telephone poles
- Damage done to the windshield while the car is parked
- Theft of the vehicle, vandalism or other form of property damage to the vehicle as a result of civil unrest
- Damage to the vehicle from fires, explosions or natural disasters
Still unsure about what car insurance you need? BrokerLink can help take the guesswork out of buying and renewing insurance for your stored vehicle. Our expert insurance advisors can help you with any questions you may have when storing a vehicle for the winter. We have decades of experience when it comes to offering the right insurance coverage. Get a quote online or visit one of our community branches.
Consult a BrokerLink car insurance expert!
Why go with an insurance broker for your car insurance? Here are a few reasons:
- The great thing about going with a broker is we do all the work for you! We have connections with insurance companies across Canada. We will reach out to our extensive networks to ensure you get the coverage you need at a great price.
- We are licensed insurance experts. We know the insurance rules and regulations so you don’t have to. When you deal with a broker, you’ll walk away knowing your investment is protected.
- At BrokerLink, we offer insurance on your terms. We make it easy. You can reach us by phone, online or in person. We also offer extended hours in many of our locations for your convenience.
With an insurance expert in your corner, you have a knowledgeable resource ready to help you get the most out of your insurance coverage. Our brokers, with offices in Ontario, Alberta and Atlantic Canada, will take the time to get to know you so they can find affordable car insurance that makes sense for your life. You’ll walk away with a policy that fits. Nothing you don’t need, and everything you do.
FAQs about storage coverage for your car during winter
How should I properly store my car for the winter?
Choose a dry, covered location to store your vehicle in. Make sure your car is clean and apply a wax coat to avoid any debris scratching the surface. Consider removing your tires if storing for a long period of time and getting an oil change to avoid contaminants that could damage the engine or lead to sludge buildup. Also, make sure you have the right insurance coverage for your vehicle while it’s being stored.
Is it bad to let the car sit for a month during winter?
Not at all! If you follow our recommendations, your car can likely sit comfortably with no issues for several months. If you are worried about your vehicle’s condition during storage, you can reach out to your local mechanic, who can help ensure your car is well maintained for storage.
How much is the cost of storing a car during winter?
This will depend on several factors. Do you own a garage or indoor space where you can store your vehicle? Will you need to pay to rent a facility for your vehicle? Are you going to clean and wax your car yourself, or pay to have this done? Will you be changing your car’s oil before storing it? All these factors will determine the cost of storing your car during the winter.