Some thoughts on storage and additives
Your “classic vehicle hibernation tips” procedure in the December issue sounds great, much more thorough than what I normally do. But I have one more thing that I consider essential before storing cars. I put a tray of mouse bait/poison on the floor in the front seat area. The little buggers are almost impossible to keep out of my shop completely, and can do serious damage, so in addition to replenishing the bait stations scattered around the perimeter (and a few KetchAll traps), I put some bait in each car. So far it has only been consumed in a car once, with no apparent damage and a shriveled carcass under the seat. Also, I wonder about STA-BIL. Does it really do any good? Or is it snake oil? The bottles don’t tell us what it is and I have never seen any comparative supporting documentation for it. We used to think STP was great and it turned out to be the same as what is already in motor oil.
Thanks for pointing out the need for rodent traps. Not only can the little critters do a lot of damage to upholstery and wiring, but they also have been known to carry plague and Hanta virus among other rather dire diseases. Wear a mask and gloves when handling dead mice or rats and sweeping out their droppings, I would also recommend that you place a few mothballs in any car with wool or cotton upholstery, which was typical in cars from the 1920s through the early ’50s.
Editor’s note: For information on a rodent repellant called “Fresh Cab,” see the Letters section, page 4, of the January issue.
As for STA-BIL, I am not a petroleum engineer so I couldn’t guess what is in the stuff, but I will say this: I go back and forth between the United States and New Zealand for several months each year, and I have been using STA-BIL for about 10 years when I mothball my cars, and it has worked very well. Their product contains no alcohol so it does not attract moisture the way the methanol used in some gasoline does. But all I am personally qualified to say is that it works for me. I fill my cars to the filler neck with the lowest octane fuel because in the localities where I live the high-octane fuels are the ones with more alcohol, and by filling the car all the way up I minimize the surface from which fuel can evaporate. I only have one vehicle that requires high-octane fuel, and with it I take it easy after starting it until some of the low-octane stuff is burned off, and then I add high octane to top up. I did do a little research, and the people at STA-BIL say this: “Our stabilizers and treatments each contain a powerful mix of additives and chemicals that neutralize acids, prevent gasoline from oxidizing and coat metal surfaces to prevent corrosion. “Every product in the STA-BIL brand family performs a different function. Each one is specially formulated to treat a specific type of fuel, from pure gasoline to ethanol blends and every type of engine, from lawnmower to boat to classic car.”
Editor’s note, continued: If any readers have had experience with STABIL in their vehicles, please let us know how it worked for you.