Question:I'll be going overseas for about a year, and I want to know what procedure you recommend for storing my two '90 Corvettes during that time. I have a two-car attached garage, and my son will be by once a week to check on the house. If necessary, he can perform some simple maintenance while I'm away.
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Answer:I'm going to cover this question for any Corvette owner who's planning to store his car for an extended amount of time, or even for the winter. In a perfect world your car would always be stored in an insulated building with a concrete floor, a dehumidifier, and a temperature of around 70 degrees with 65 percent humidity. If possible, it's best to start your Corvette periodically-at least once per month-and let it run for a good 20 minutes to reach operating temperature.
Sadly, we don't all live in a perfect world, and sometimes you have to take what you can get. If at all possible, don't store your Corvette in a non-insulated garage for any length of time. In colder climates the severe temperature changes promote moisture development, and moisture can cause a multitude of problems.
The following is a procedure I'd recommend for storing your Corvette in the typical insulated-but-unheated garage most of us have:
1. Start by washing and waxing your car com-pletely. If you have any chrome, make sure to polish or wax it to help prevent corrosion.
2. Vacuum and thoroughly detail the interior. For winter storage do not use any vinyl dressing, as it can cause mildew in a damp environment.
3. Check your coolant to make sure it's clean and will hold up to the climate in your area. Fill your cooling system with the correct antifreeze for your make and model. This will prevent you from having a cracked block when you retrieve your car from storage.
4. Check and fill all of your fluids to the proper (full) level. Remember that motor oil can become contaminated by dust and condensation. Some motor oils contain additives that can break down over time, so change your oil before long-term storage.
5. If your Corvette is going to be stored for more than a year, remove the spark plugs and add approximately one ounce of engine oil to each cylinder. The engine should be rotated just after adding the oil. The purpose of this step is to coat the cylinder bore to protect against rust formation. If your car is going to be stored longer than a year without starting the engine, the oiling procedure should be repeated every 12 months.
6. Check the air in your tires and inflate them to the proper level. There's no need to remove the tires.
7. If you car has a distributor cap, remove it, spray CRC or WD-40 into it, and then reinstall it on the car. This will stop moisture from forming in the cap. Lubricate all moving parts such as the throttle linkages, transmission kick-down, and so on, with white lithium grease.
8. Make sure you fill the fuel tank and add the correct amount of fuel stabilizer. After adding the fuel stabilizer, run the car for approximately 15 minutes to ensure the stabilizer has run through the entire fuel system. Some owners prefer to completely drain the fuel tank and lines, but this can cause condensation to build within the fuel system resulting in premature corrosion.
9. Clean away any corrosion that has formed around the battery, and use a Battery Tender (or comparable unit) to keep the battery charged during storage. Battery disconnection and removal is not recommended for short-term storage on '84 and newer models, as there are circuits using power when the vehicle is off. Without a Tender, the parasitic draw of these systems would drain a battery in two to four weeks. If you're storing your vehicle for more than six months, however, you may want to disconnect the battery. If you remove it, don't place it directly on a concrete floor. Concrete has a tendency to discharge a battery.