“Take care of your Corvette” isn’t just a saying but, rather, a commitment. Now, I would never be one to profess that taking care of your Corvette is more important than taking care of your kids (but there are times!). However, there’s a similar value of commitment and effort required. Once you do have the kids down for the night, properly feed, all tucked away and you’ve spent quality time with them now would be a good time to take stock of what’s going on in your garage.
In the interim, maintenance of any vehicle we own is an important responsibility. Let’s face it, our cars—and especially Corvettes—represent a significant financial investment. All of us to varying degrees attempt to take care of the basics on our daily drivers … wash and wax to maintain some appearance of care and then the obligatory oil/filter changes to help maintain a properly running car. Let’s face it, we rely on these vehicles to take us to work and back, our loved ones drive them, and they are expensive … we really should be involved with them, too.
Corvettes, on the other hand, have a station in life that’s much more elevated than the other family vehicles. Our Corvette (or pride and joy) requires copious amounts of time to maintain the factory fresh look both on the outside and mechanically. And, for the most part, we do this willingly as we derive a great deal of pleasure from owning America’s true dominant sports car. Each of us who owns a Corvette has been charged with maintaining the integrity and heritage that comes with the nameplate.
Even if you don’t drive your sporty car frequently that doesn’t mean you should ignore the painted surfaces, keep the interior fresh smelling, and the mechanics in proper running order. In case you weren’t already aware of this (but I am guessing you are), letting a car, much less a Corvette, sit in a garage for prolonged periods of time can lead to troubles. It is possible for tires to develop a “flat spot.” “Flatspotting” is the condition of a tire developing a temporary flat spot that generally occurs when a vehicle (especially your Corvette) is parked for too long a period of time. As the tire’s footprint rests against the garage floor things begin to happen. To get rid of these flat spots (remember you have four, one for each tire) you need to take the car out for a drive and build up temperature in the rubber so that the tires become pliable again. (It’s possible to permanently flat spot a tire, thereby rendering it ruined.)
If your Corvette sits for prolonged periods of time it would be a good idea to at least get it out once a month and drive it on a 30-mile loop to get the tires warm and “round again.” It’s also good for the engine (and other components) to boil off—through heat—any condensation that resides in the engine, transmission, exhaust system and gas tank. All the while the seals and gaskets rejuvenate themselves by being bathed in oil once again.
I live in Southern California and one of the most common lack of maintenance problems automotive dealerships see around here is the transfer case and frontend seals on the four-wheel-drive units that dry out. Let’s face it, we live in an area where you just don’t need four-wheel-drive and hence the vehicles are never placed into 4x4 mode and therein lies the beginning of the problem.
Something else to keep in mind is the gasoline in your gas tank. This in and of itself could be an entire story. But, suffice to say, if you are going to store your Corvette for any period of time it might be good to store it with a full tank, or nearly full, to minimize the ill effects of condensation that can occur within the tank. Place an additive like Sta-Bil (fuel stabilizer) in your gas tank and make sure to cycle the additive throughout the fuel system. It’s ideal on cars that are to be stored for 30-plus days and it can keep gasoline fresh for up to 24 months. This stabilizes all types of gasoline and it provides metal corrosion protection against ethanol sulfate salts and provides advanced metal protection when E15 fuels are used.
It’s always a good idea to wash the metal (painted) surfaces, clean the glass, and polish the chrome before storage. By getting all the baddies off the exterior you’re protecting the surface from corrosion that can eat away at the paint’s clearcoat, as well as attack the metal residing under the chrome.
There’re other things you can do to make sure your pride and joy remains factory fresh for the next time you bring it out into the open air and go for a blast down the highway or negotiate a winding country road.