Help me store my car for the winter

December 1, 2011 | By Richard Prince


I have a 340 Barracuda and I go out every three or four days and start it up to keep the battery charged for the winter. I think your readers would like to know what is the best way to keep it charged. I heard just letting it idle causes carbon to build up and it’s better to put it on a load by driving the vehicle.

I also heard that CRC makes a fog spray that you spray into the engine through your carburetor and when you see white smoke turn the car off and it helps coat the engine parts.

Would you use a trickle charger instead of starting the car up every three or four days? Your input on this would be greatly appreciated.


While it’s certainly nice that the battery gets charged when you run the engine for a while that’s not the primary reason why you should start and run the car regularly while it’s in storage for the winter months.

The most important things you do when you run the car regularly are circulate oil everywhere it needs to go and if you move the car a little bit, even if it’s only up and down your own driveway, you circulate lubricant in the transmission and rear end, and give a variety of parts and systems, including the brakes, steering, clutch, wheel bearings and U-joints a little bit of exercise.

As pointed out in this column in the past, it is very important to run the engine long enough to burn off condensation that normally forms inside the engine and exhaust. A good rule of thumb is to run the engine at least 20 minutes past the point where it has reached full operating temperature. If it won’t get up to its normal operating temperature then help it to do so by restricting air flow through the radiator.

I’m not sure what CRC Industries product you’re referring to but as far as I know they don’t make or market a product designed to be sprayed into the carburetor in order to coat internal engine parts.

If you’re not going to run your car’s engine for an extended period of time it may be worthwhile to get oil into each cylinder. Some people do this by adding oil to the fuel, pouring oil into the carburetor while the engine is running, or removing the spark plugs and squirting oil into each cylinder.

You mention trickle charging the battery and I used to be a proponent of this until I had a minor catastrophe with a trickle charger made by a well-known manufacturer. The charger was supposed to measure the battery’s state of charge and adjust accordingly but it malfunctioned and continued to charge the battery to the point that it induced all of the water in it to evaporate.

Unaware of the problem, my wife got in the car and turned the key to start it and the battery instantly blew up. Mercifully, it didn’t spray wet acid all over the place because it was bone dry inside. Even so, the dry residue and bits of the plastic housing and internal parts were everywhere and it took a long time to clean up the mess. Ever since that unfortunate incident occurred I have not used a trickle charger.