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      10-31-2015, 08:34 PM   #1
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Post DIY: Storing your car for the winter (with pics)

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Living in the northeast means that a car with 414 hp and summer tires is pretty useless, so I store my M3 from November to March-April. I've written down the steps I take to properly ensure the car is stored the right way, and thought it would be useful to post the way I do it, in case anyone else wants to and is on the fence about it.

Before we begin, 2 items I hear often:
1- I use snow tires bro!
That's great! More power to you, and I may get rid of my DD 328 for an M2 and do the same. But if you don't want to take your car out in the salt or muck, then this is for you. My M3 is my "special" car.

2- Meh, I'll just wipe it down sometimes and start it up once a month, it'll be fine.
Here is where I'd disagree with you. First, wiping off the dust just grinds it into the clear coat, causing swirl marks, and the car will get dusty just sitting there. As to starting it up occasionally, this is not nearly enough to charge the battery, and all you're doing is increasing cold starts without oil circulation. Store it properly, and come spring you;ll be glad you did, since you can practically uncover it and drive off.

You'll want to at least change the oil right before you store it. This year I changed out the diff and trans fluid as well, since the car was due.

With that being said, let's make it so, Numba One!

Items you will need:
Sta-bil fuel stabilizer
Air compressor
Wheel chocks (4)
Car cover
Battery Tender, or other trickle charger
Clear coat sealant
Baking Soda (2)
Microfiber towels

Time needed: about 5 hours, depending upon your detailing routine.

To begin

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1- Fill the car up with fresh fuel and Sta-bil fuel stabilizer. Proceed to drive around for about 5 miles to make sure everything circulates through the tank and fuel lines. This is your last ride with the mighty beast, so by all means, give it the beans and rev it out a bit.But make sure you leave the car with a full tank of fuel, or water can condense in the tank.

2- Starting with the inside, clean the car. Give it a good detailing and make sure to condition your leather. I also take the mats out of the car and store them separately. Close all the air vents in the car to prevent any critters from getting in there.

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3- Once the inside is done, give the outside a full wash. Make sure to get the underbelly of the car to wash away any dirt that might linger there all winter. Same goes for inside the wheel barrels and other heavily used areas. Now would be a good time to also clean your engine bay.

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4- Using clear coat sealant (I prefer AMMO Skin), seal the entire car, making sure to NOT LEAVE ANY RESIDUE BEHIND. You don't want this sitting on the car in a hardened state all winter. Use spray wax to loosen any trouble spots. Once complete, I'd give the car a second coat, and repeat the process. Any product you prefer can be used of course, but I would visit AMMO's website and watch Larry for detailing tips.

5- The car should now be fully cleaned and detailed inside and out. Are we getting emotional yet? Move the car into it's storing place, and make sure all windows are closed. Put the parking brake UP, then place your baking soda boxes inside the car (One in front, one in the back seat). This will absorb moisture and keep the interior dry. I also like to leave one seat down for access to the trunk, where the battery is, which I'll explain soon.

6- Moving to the outside of the car, you'll want to chock each wheel, and fill each tire to about 45 PSI. This will prevent flat spotting. Check the tires each month due to the air contracting and make sure they remain around this mark. I also put a mat under each wheel to prevent the tires from sticking to the concrete floor, and it looks nice. Once you chock all the wheels, take the parking brake OFF.

7- Plug in your battery tender (F80 bros will need the CTEK one). I hook it right to the battery and not through the connection under the hood, which I feel is the wrong way to go about it. You can still close the trunk, just put a microfiber towel under the wire to prevent it from marking the trunk and rear bumper. I do leave the rear bench seat down to let air circulate and prevent any battery outgassing to build up (this is a purely anal step, but again, won't hurt). Why not the hood connection? Since this trickle charger is constantly charging the battery, I believe a more accurate reading comes from hooking it up right to the battery. Quite simply, if you do not use a charger, even hooked up to the hood, your car will not start come spring. BMWs rely heavily on electronics (duh), and in the E92, the battery is only charged when the car is coasting. You need this.

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8- Stuff a microfiber towel in each exhaust pipe and cover it with painters tape if needed, to prevent critters from getting in there.

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9- Give the entire car a once over. Look for any parts where sealant is stuck, any wet spots you may have missed, and everything is nice and tight. Leave the doors unlocked without the alarm armed, to prevent extra strain on the battery.

10- Cover the car with a cover of your choice. Make sure the cover is clean, and remember to NEVER put a cover on a dirty car. Once you cover it, give it a kiss goodnight and DO NOT lift the cover up over the winter. Dust will settle on the cover and anything that gets under it will get crunched into the clear coat if you keep putting it on and off. Once it's away, just leave it be.

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In the Spring
Reverse the steps, and MAKE SURE TO TAKE AIR OUT OF THE TIRES. Revert them back to your desired PSI. Otherwise, you'll have a spotless M3 with a full tank of gas ready to go. I do suggest taking it easy on the car while you burn off this old tank, and make sure to get the car pretty close to empty so you can fill up with fresh fuel and get rid of the Sta-bil.

And that's it! I've followed this routine for many years now. My particular M3 has 25,000 miles on it, and though it's 6 years old, I'm still on the original battery, thanks to the tender. I hope this helps everyone is colder climates. As for you warm winter guys...lucky
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      10-31-2015, 08:53 PM   #2
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Excellent write up!

...just one thing - do not use Sta-Bil - use Star Brite or Mercury Marine fuel stabilizer - just my opinion but - you will thank me in the spring
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      10-31-2015, 08:55 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E30M3Brill View Post
Excellent write up!

...just one thing - do not use Sta-Bil - use Star Brite or Mercury Marine fuel stabilizer - just my opinion but - you will thank me in the spring
To late this year! But I will definitely get some next year.
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      10-31-2015, 10:22 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E30M3Brill View Post
Excellent write up!

...just one thing - do not use Sta-Bil - use Star Brite or Mercury Marine fuel stabilizer - just my opinion but - you will thank me in the spring
I've used Sta-Bil for many years without issue. Why do you prefer the others?
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      10-31-2015, 10:37 PM   #5
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Nice write up. Two suggestions....

Fabric Softener dryer sheets. Get the cheapest generic. Two under the hood on each side of the engine, one on each floor mat, two in the trunk, One stuffed in each exhaust port. Lay them out on a magazine in the trunk and interior. Keeps all the mice/critters out. I have done this for years in cars and boats. Works great.

Forget the wheel chocks. Permanent Flat spotting of tires is a myth if the storage time is just a few months. The "set" of the the tires rounds right back out after a good spring run heats the tires up.
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      10-31-2015, 10:41 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Krockit1
Nice write up. Two suggestions....

Fabric Softener dryer sheets. Get the cheapest generic. Two under the hood on each side of the engine, one on each floor mat, two in the trunk, One stuffed in each exhaust port. Lay them out on a magazine in the trunk and interior. Keeps all the mice/critters out. I have done this for years in cars and boats. Works great.

Forget the wheel chocks. Permanent Flat spotting of tires is a myth if the storage time is just a few months. The "set" of the the tires rounds right back out after a good spring run heats the tires up.
I'd still do the wheel chocks, which is meant to keep the parking brake off. They can freeze in position. Otherwise, good suggestions!
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      10-31-2015, 11:00 PM   #7
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DCT goes into Park when the engine is shut off. Manual in neutral so chocks work there. Forgot to mention- I fill the tires to 50 PSI as they will lose air over the storage months. Also, you might try Opticoat or C Quartz Finest professionally installed. No more messing with a paint sealant and your paint will be like a mirror. Sealants usually have to be applied over 65 degrees to cure and bond well. Hard to find that temp in October some years here in Wisconsin, although it's been a great driving month this year!
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      10-31-2015, 11:13 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeus69 View Post
I've used Sta-Bil for many years without issue. Why do you prefer the others?

I prefer Star Tron as well. I was told Stabil is made of strong chemicals while Star Tron is less harsh and uses enzymes.
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      11-01-2015, 01:00 AM   #9
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Thanks to All

Some good suggestions. The car I store is in a dryer and warmer climate, but the baking soda can't hurt. Closing the vents makes sense. A quick search produced some mixed information regarding dryer sheets. Still, they won't hurt anything.
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      11-01-2015, 03:02 AM   #10
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Terrific write up. I enjoyed the pics a lot. Two suggestions though, folding the seats down leaves impressions / imprints on the leather. If you are doing this step, perhaps put a towel in between the seat back and bottom. Also, I heard from my SA that more battery is used when the car is unlocked than is used when it's locked. He could be wrong though
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      11-01-2015, 03:07 AM   #11
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Also, how do you like Ammo skin? I like the idea of non permanent sealants, which can actually hold waxes and glazes on top of it, unlike opticoat and cquartz.
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      11-01-2015, 06:25 AM   #12
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Your procedure is 60% wazoo unecessary mania and 40% common sense limited to battery tender, fuel stabilizer in a full tank and wheel chocks (no handbrake).

1. No need to mess up you clear coat with paint sealant. The best is to rinse the car in the summer with a car wash manual pressure water then do a no touch foaming of the whole car and rinse (still no touch), followed by a regular wash. This is by far safer than messing with a paint sealant not to mention unecessary work.

2. Air compressor. Not needed, after warming tires they're back to normal.

3. Car cover. I own 2 car covers one of them 3 times the price of that BMW Noah cover you use. It's good to keep a car perfectly showroom clean for longer time between washs. It's good for winter storage but no sweat if you don't have one follow 1. no problems at all.

4. Baking Soda (2). if you put that inside your car you should do it all year round, not just during the winter storage. Winter is much dryer than summer. Bottomline it's unecessary.

5. Microfiber towels to stop critters. Approved.
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      11-01-2015, 06:29 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoshDawg
Also, how do you like Ammo skin? I like the idea of non permanent sealants, which can actually hold waxes and glazes on top of it, unlike opticoat and cquartz.
I love skin. I've followed the AMMO regiment all year and have been so happy with the results. Best example is when going to a car show and there is another e92 in the same color parked next to me; you can literally see the difference in color and it's much deeper on mine.

As for things like opticoat, I'd never use it because it does not allow the paint to flex and expand. It also wears off the same as any other protectant. Just skin the car every 3 months, put some wax on top after each wash (takes 15 minutes) and it'll look amazing.
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      11-01-2015, 07:47 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeM3SSII
Your procedure is 60% wazoo unecessary mania and 40% common sense limited to battery tender, fuel stabilizer in a full tank and wheel chocks (no handbrake).

1. No need to mess up you clear coat with paint sealant. The best is to rinse the car in the summer with a car wash manual pressure water then do a no touch foaming of the whole car and rinse (still no touch), followed by a regular wash. This is by far safer than messing with a paint sealant not to mention unecessary work.

2. Air compressor. Not needed, after warming tires they're back to normal.

3. Car cover. I own 2 car covers one of them 3 times the price of that BMW Noah cover you use. It's good to keep a car perfectly showroom clean for longer time between washs. It's good for winter storage but no sweat if you don't have one follow 1. no problems at all.

4. Baking Soda (2). if you put that inside your car you should do it all year round, not just during the winter storage. Winter is much dryer than summer. Bottomline it's unecessary.

5. Microfiber towels to stop critters. Approved.
To each his own, but in 6 years of using paint sealant, I've never messed the car up. In fact, I'd bet it looks better than many others. See Larry's detailing tips on his site for the routine I use.

I also didn't post my full wash routine or I'd be here all day. Maybe next spring I'll post on my full wash cycle, but I feel it's been done before and everyone that details has such a routine they follow, it's almost a personal choice.

As for everything else, I guess it's crazy, but it's well taken care of.
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      11-01-2015, 09:42 AM   #15
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What's the deal with the fuel stabilizer? Is it really necessary or are we a bunch of Kool-Aid drinkers? Is there any published data on this other than what the companies put out there? I've personally never used it and never once had an issue after storing different vehicles over the years, a log splitter and an atv all for up to 6 months at a time. I just fill the tank with gas before storage and everything starts up and runs fine when the time comes.
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      11-01-2015, 10:10 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ezndo View Post
What's the deal with the fuel stabilizer? Is it really necessary or are we a bunch of Kool-Aid drinkers? Is there any published data on this other than what the companies put out there? I've personally never used it and never once had an issue after storing different vehicles over the years, a log splitter and an atv all for up to 6 months at a time. I just fill the tank with gas before storage and everything starts up and runs fine when the time comes.
For 6 bucks, does it really matter? Especially with the crap E85 that's all around me. At least I can get 93 octane. Certainly won't hurt, and as others have posted, it could be any brand.
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      11-01-2015, 02:40 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoManyBlueCars View Post
To each his own, but in 6 years of using paint sealant, I've never messed the car up. In fact, I'd bet it looks better than many others. See Larry's detailing tips on his site for the routine I use.

I also didn't post my full wash routine or I'd be here all day. Maybe next spring I'll post on my full wash cycle, but I feel it's been done before and everyone that details has such a routine they follow, it's almost a personal choice.

As for everything else, I guess it's crazy, but it's well taken care of.
Yes, to each his own, just because you didn't mess up your clear coat does not mean you are not using inappropriate ways. Repeated procedures like paint sealant are absolutely unecessary and add micro wear that compound over the years. The only correct point of reference is new car factory finish, anything else is inferior. I bought my car new, I know the difference when i see 2nd hand owners who think their detail job is up to notch.
When it comes to keeping clearcoat as close to its factory original over the years then limiting contact to only regular waxing is the best. You're just beating yourself with extra work and it only goes to increase micro compounded wear on your clearcoat. Ask detailing competitors..

You think you're the only one who has an extended wash routine ? don't be so overassuming there.. I've probably experimented with half the product sold on Autogeek and my wash routine could easily last a whole day if i wanted, full detailing 3 days. At the end I've learned that doing more is not always better, doing the right thing is.
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      11-01-2015, 02:43 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeM3SSII
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoManyBlueCars View Post
To each his own, but in 6 years of using paint sealant, I've never messed the car up. In fact, I'd bet it looks better than many others. See Larry's detailing tips on his site for the routine I use.

I also didn't post my full wash routine or I'd be here all day. Maybe next spring I'll post on my full wash cycle, but I feel it's been done before and everyone that details has such a routine they follow, it's almost a personal choice.

As for everything else, I guess it's crazy, but it's well taken care of.
Yes, to each his own, just because you didn't mess up your clear coat does not mean you are not using inappropriate ways. Repeated procedures like paint sealant are absolutely unecessary and add micro wear that compound over the years. The only correct point of reference is new car factory finish, anything else is inferior. I bought my car new, I know the difference when i see 2nd hand owners who think their detail job is up to notch.
When it comes to keeping clearcoat as close to its factory original over the years then limiting contact to only regular waxing is the best. You're just beating yourself with extra work and it only goes to increase micro compounded wear on your clearcoat. Ask detailing competitors..

You think you're the only one who has an extended wash routine ? don't be so overassuming there.. I've probably experimented with half the product sold on Autogeek and my wash routine could easily last a whole day if i wanted. At the end I've learned that doing more is not always better, doing the right thing is.
Yea I mean. I trust Larry, whom I've met and does work on cars that are literally priceless. I also bought my car new, so no one but me has touched it. If you put the sealant on correctly it won't scratch.

I simply said everyone has there own wash routine and that its personal to them. I simply follow the AMMO routine, and the results have been amazing. Everyone here has there own way, so as long as the car looks good, go for it.
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      11-01-2015, 03:10 PM   #19
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Do you stuff your pipes on a summer night as well? Have you had issue with flat spotting your tires?
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      11-01-2015, 03:14 PM   #20
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I just put it on lift, fill tank, and put on charger. Stored in temp controlled garage and work on it all winter.
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      11-01-2015, 03:32 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrs_66
Do you stuff your pipes on a summer night as well? Have you had issue with flat spotting your tires?
I've never flat spotted them. In the summer I don't do anything in between rides aside from the charger. I take it out at least once a week at that time. Mice usually seek shelter in cold weather, so chances are slim in warmer climates.
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      11-01-2015, 09:12 PM   #22
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Wouldn't it be easier to attach your battery maintainer to the positive terminal and ground lug under the hood rather than directly to the battery?
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