XR4Ti Archived Tech Articles

    How to Store Your Merkur (or any other car) for Winter - An answer to a question that comes up every year. How do you prepare the car for hibernation anyway? Will it be inside, outside, started occasionally, or not at all. A compilation of information from the IMON list. All info used by permission.

Post Date:    Mid-November, 2001
Subject:      XR Winter Storage Tips?
List:         imon@lists.merkurowners.org

From Richard Curtis:

Lots of theories on how to do this properly. Here's mine:

-If not done recently, this is good time to replace engine coolant, 
backflush radiator, etc.

-Run engine until warm. Change oil and filter. Pull spark plugs, squirt in 
just a little oil, WD40 or Marvel Mystery Oil (my choice). Crank engine over 
a few times with gas pedal fully depressed (cuts off injectors). This coats 
cylinder walls with oil. Replace plugs. Now is good time to install new 
plugs, distributor cap, etc. 

-Fill tank to eliminate air pockets. Add fuel stabilizer.

-Clean car thoroughly, inside and out. A good time to wax it also. Add 
mothballs to interior (helps keep out mice, etc.) and under the hood where 
they might nest. Also either plug up the exhaust or add mothballs there also. 
If leather interior, treat it with cleaner and conditioner.

-Put car on jack stands to relieve weight on wheels to prevent flat spots. 
Some folks say this isn't necessary depending on the tires you have.

-If you have a good quality car cover, use it.


From Marty Farber:

-Stabil in a full gas tank and run for a few minutes to insure it gets through 
the system

-Inflate tires to 35#

-Insure that coolant is clean and good to -25

-Pull plugs and put a small amt of oil in each cylinder then turn engine over a 
couple rotations to make sure cylinders are coated.

-Make sure battery is fully charged and then disconnect. Consider removing [the
battery] and storing in the house.

*Previous steps are only if you don't intend to start it about once a month*

-Put a small amount of mothballs inside ... also a small dessicant bag

-Block wheels, leave parking brake off.

-Cover with a good quality car cover meant for outside use (if storing outside 
like I am)


From Larry Biles:

-I usually take the car to a _professional_ detail shop for the full
treatment. ($100 bucks, or so.)

-I usually put a pack of desiccant in the under hood relay panel(s), and
inside the distributor cap. (Don't forget to remove them in the Spring.)

-Don't store with the emergency brake on.

-Disconnect negative battery cable.

-Flip windshield wiper arms to get the blades off the glass.


Additional info that I'm providing but didn't post:

-Use a set of wheel/tire covers from Harbor Freight or the like.  This keeps
the moisture from getting directly onto brake rotors and seems to help reduce

-Alternately, swap on a set of brake rotors that you don't mind getting rusty.

-If you are going to cover the car, remove the wiper arms altogether.

-I always prefer to store my battery inside the house, preferably where it's
not going to build up fumes, but not kill anyone either.  I also keep it off
the ground.

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Published by Chris Anglin.