As you might suspect, storing your vehicle is not as simple as pulling it into the garage, shutting off the engine, throwing on a car cover and then locking the door. You must perform some vital prep work first. Fortunately, following some sound tips will help keep your Ferrari roadster healthy during long periods of inactivity.
Get Your Vehicle Inspected
Before you even start major preparations for garaging your Ferrari, have it checked out by a service shop. It’s a good idea to know its overall health and have any essential maintenance performed before letting it hibernate.
Wash and Wax Before You Store
Edmunds editor Ronald Montoya stresses the importance of cleaning your vehicle before garaging it for extended periods. If allowed to remain on your automobile’s surfaces, dirt, water stains, bird droppings and other debris can wreak havoc on the paint job. Clean all exteriors thoroughly, including the wheels and undersides of your fenders. Moreover, be sure to remove mud, grease, and tar and give your ride a fresh coat of wax.
Keep Fuel and Oil Fresh
Road and Track writer Brian Silvestro reveals that gasoline only stays good for about 30 days before it begins to oxidize. Let your fuel sit any longer than that without consumption, and it forms tacky, glutinous deposits that can jam up the works while any ethanol content can corrode the inner workings. After topping off your tank, add a fuel stabilizer to prevent such consequences. Meanwhile, he reminds readers that changing the oil ensures clean lubricant in the engine for the next time the vehicle is driven.
Mind Your Coolant-Water Ratio
You’ll need to inspect the coolant-water mixture in your vehicle as well, but this is even more critical if you’re forced to garage your sports car in an environment that’s not climate-controlled. 50/50 is ideal if temps in your area don’t dip too low, but a 70/30 antifreeze-to-water ratio may be better in colder regions to keep the coolant from freezing. Pay attention to current levels and ask your Ferrari service technician about the ideal ratio for your local climate and the specific model of your vehicle.
Don’t Neglect the Battery
Without regular use, your Ferrari’s battery can easily lose its charge. Thankfully, Montoya indicates that you can avert this outcome by taking your vehicle for a spin once every two weeks. Let your Ferrari run for at least 15 minutes to work any kinks out, and operate your air conditioner or heater to keep air quality fresh.
If that’s not feasible, you can either disconnect the negative battery cable or install a battery tender. With the first method, you’ll lose any stereo presets, the current time on your dash clock, and other settings that depend on a constant electrical flow. Conversely, Silvestro clarifies that a tender attaches to your battery to automatically juice it up when charge levels drop below a certain threshold. Once your battery’s back to full power, the tender stops charging. Observe the following advice when using a tender:
- Inspect the battery and clean away debris
- Apply dielectric grease to exposed metal parts
- Connect each lead to its proper polarity
- Disconnect any bulbs that remain lit when your hood’s open
Do Not Use the Parking Brake
Common wisdom usually tells you to engage your parking brake when your vehicle sits, but Montoya advises against doing during extended storage periods. The brake pads and rotors can fuse if they remain connected for too long, so he suggests a using tire stopper instead.
Seal Intake and Exhaust Points
You’ve likely been warned about kitties cozying up under your car in the winter, but a garaged vehicle can also be a tempting nest spot for rodents and other smaller creatures. Cover or seal up any open spaces, particularly exhaust pipes and intake blocks, to keep these critters out.
Whether you’re a hobbyist taking on the challenge of restoring a classic or you’re driving away with one of the best and brightest currently on the market, you might need to put your Ferrari into storage at some point. Before you store, get your vehicle checked out and clean exterior surfaces. Pay attention to your fluids, add fuel stabilizer and take measures to avoid a drained battery. Once you seal up intake and exhaust points, your machine is ready for the long haul.