As we inch closer to turning the page on another calendar year, conspicuous signs of seasonality (for those of us living in such places) abound, reminding us that we don’t have really nice vehicles to store this winter. But for those who do, there are a few must-have products for proper winter storage.

Most of it isn’t rocket science. Some of it might be things you haven’t thought of or simply don’t have on hand.

In any case, here are eight things we called “must-have” even though it might be an overstatement, and the primary downside to not having them is that your life is less fun. Kind of like not having a vehicle to store at all.


Be Cool Coolant

Like motor oil, other vehicle fluids like antifreeze, can be corrosive when dirty. It is best to top off these fluids prior to storage or change them altogether. It’s never a bad idea to remove existing coolant (including coolant inside the radiator), and add antifreeze that has anti-corrosion properties and rated to provide protection at or below the freezing point (32 degrees or less).

Antifreeze Hydrometers

Antifreeze tester

Hydrometers are used to measure liquid density, and for less than $10, you can give an antifreeze tester to a car guy in your life that’s going to help him or her to easily inspect their antifreeze for rust or sediment and ensure proper cooler concentration to prevent freeze-ups or boil-overs.

Battery Chargers

Battery Tender

Whether your vehicle is a work in progress or finished product, chances are it’s going to be hibernating through winter. That’s why it’s a good idea to maintain your battery’s charge so you can wake your ride at the first sign of warm weather.

Deltran’s Battery Tender products manage your battery’s charge and keep it ready for action.

Jack Stands

Summit Racing Jack Stands

If you are parking your vehicle for a long winter slumber, you might consider removing the wheels and tires and resting the vehicle on a set of jack stands. This takes weight off of the suspension components and prevent premature wear.


Car Covers

Covercraft car cover

Buying a substandard car cover is a little bit like going into a walk-in hair place and letting a total stranger cut it, except your hair grows back but your automotive exterior does not. When buying a car cover, make sure to choose a cover with a breathable fabric to prevent condensation and moisture build-up on vehicle’s surface. Multi-layer covers offer rugged protection against wind, dirt, dust, UV light, scratches, and more.

Fuel System Additives

Champion fuel stabilizer

The fuel system can be a source for problems during winter storage. An empty tank invites corrosion damage from the buildup of condensation inside the fuel system. It’s important to fill up the gas tank, then add fuel system stabilizer to keep fuel from breaking down. Don’t forget to take your car for a quick drive after adding stabilizer to allow the treated fuel to circulate through your fuel system.

Car Dollies 

auto dolly car dollies

Good car dollies allow you to move your car or truck around a cramped garage in any direction—even sideways! Companies like Auto Dolly and GoJak make dollies with big weight capacities and heavy-duty casters for easy movement.

Garage Door Weatherstrip Seals

garage door weatherstrip threshold

Whether you’re planning a bunch of cold-weather wrenching, or just want to keep wind-driven snow and ice (as well as dirt and rodents) out of your garage, a garage door threshold rubber seal can do wonders for garage floor cleanliness and managing air temperature. These flexible rubber strips come in lengths ranging from 10 feet to 20 feet, and includes the adhesive you’ll need for installation.

For helpful tips on proper vehicle storage, have a look at this post.

Author: Matt Griswold

After a 10-year newspaper journalism career, Matt Griswold spent another decade writing about the automotive aftermarket and motorsports. He was part of the original OnAllCylinders editorial team when it launched in 2012.