One of the most popular questions among Corvette owners is “how should I prepare my Corvette for winter storage?” You’re bound to get one hundred different answers and all of them could be different. Above all of the uncertainty and mythical storage remedies you’ve heard of, you are sure of one thing: you want your Corvette to receive the very best care possible.So what is the proper way to prepare your Corvette for winter storage? The answer really depends upon the length of time the car will be in storage. To help us gain some insight into some of the more controversial issues such as engine and suspension preparation, use the General Motors Powertrain Engineers’ recommendations. This article addresses some of the uncertainty that revolves around winter storage.General Washing
Before placing your Corvette in winter storage, be sure to properly wash the exterior in order to remove any environmental fallout from the paint such as bird droppings, tree sap, bugs, etc. Some of this can be acidic and leave permanent marks in your Corvette’s clearcoat.
Clean the tires and wheels
This is one area that is often overlooked in terms of the quality of cleaning. The rubber in the tires is prone to oxidative stress due to road grime and ultraviolet rays from the sun. This oxidation can be seen in the form of a dark yellowish dirt that clings to the sidewalls of the tires. Brake dust can accumulate on the wheels and over time, can permanently stain the wheel finish if the wheels are painted and/or clear coated. Make sure that if your wheels are clear coated, you use a wheel cleaner that specifically states that it’s safe to use on clear coated wheels. Because most wheels cleaners are caustic and harmful to brake components, be sure to never spray the wheel cleaner directly on the wheel.
These days, flat spotting isn’t as much of an issue as it was years ago. Due to changes in composition and technology, today’s tires are less prone to flat spotting than they were back in the days when ’67 big blocks were prowling the streets. Any flat spotting that does occur to today’s tire usually disappears within 30 minutes of normal driving time. “We suggest that when people put their cars away for the winter months, they put the cars on stands and remove and bag the tires. If you choose to remove the tires and wheels from the vehicle prior to storage, please see http://www.corvetteactioncenter.com/ for more helpful storage tips. One method that has proven reliable is to over-inflate the tires to the maximum allowed pressure specified on the sidewall of the tires by the tire manufacturer. By over-inflating the tires, you’re hindering their pliability and increasing their resistance to flatten. Just make sure to deflate the tires to the recommended normal operating pressure before driving.
Tire Storage Recommendations
The following is a document from Engineering at Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. The tips listed are helpful if you are planning on storing your Corvette’s tires for long periods of time.
Storing Tires Mounted on Vehicles
It is best to store a vehicle on blocks to remove all weight from the tires. If the vehicle cannot be blocked up from the storage surface, completely unload it so minimum weight will rest on the tires. Keep tires inflated to recommended operating inflation pressure. The surface should be firm, reasonably level, well drained and clean. Do not store on blacktop or oil stabilized surfaces.
Where area is wet, oily, greasy.
Where subject to extreme temperatures.
In the same area as an electric motor or other ozone generating sources (if there is a question, check ozone levels to be sure they do not exceed 0.08 ppm).
On black asphalt or other heat absorbent surfaces.
Adjacent to highly reflective surfaces (i.e., snow covered ground or sand).
On piers, ship decks or other open, unprotected areas.
Another common area of misconception is proper engine storage. Some of the confusion comes from the fact that the Corvette has been around for almost 50 years. During those 50 years, automotive technology and electronics have experienced enormous growth and change. As a result, different generations of Corvette have different needs when it comes to care, maintenance, and storage.