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.

Flat Spotting
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 // 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.

Engine Care
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.

Owners of older Corvettes usually unplug and sometimes remove their batteries during winter storage. If you choose to remove the battery, do not place the battery directly on a concrete floor. Concrete has a tendency to discharge a battery which is the exact same thing you’re trying to avoid by leaving it connected to the car. Use a piece of wood between the battery and the floor. Because batteries produce hydrogen gas which is flammable, do not store the battery where it will be exposed to open flame, or where it is exposed to children.

Some owners of newer Corvettes feel that battery disconnection and/or removal isn’t a good idea given the large amount of onboard circuits in newer Corvettes. They prefer to use a “Battery Tender”. The Battery Tender, produced by Halon Marketing, Inc., is a 1.25 amp battery charger capable of fully charging a battery and maintaining the batteries optimal charge. The unit is small, compact and comes with a 5-year warranty from the manufacturer. The Battery Tender can be purchased from Casey Chevrolet.
David Scott at GM explains it is actually because there are circuits using power when the vehicle is “off”. Without a “Battery Tender” the circuits would drain a battery in about 30 days. General Motors does not require / mandate that an owner have a charger going. We have typically recommended disconnecting the battery.”

Fluid Levels
Make sure to top off all fluid levels. These include coolant, brake fluid, clutch/transmission fluid and most importantly, oil and fuel. Over time, motor oil can become contaminated by dust, condensation, and even antifreeze and metallic shavings. Some motor oils contain additives which can break down over time and also act as contaminants. As these contaminants accumulate in the oil, sludge can form which will gradually adhere to internal engine components, causing your engine to perform less efficiently. Left long enough, this sludge can cause permanent engine damage. Combustion gases can also accumulate in the oil that will gradually lower the pH of your oil making it more acidic. Even if you only put 1,000 miles on your Corvette per year, make sure that you always change your oil and filter before placing it in winter storage.

Fuel Stabilizer
Another important step is to make sure you top off the fuel in the tank and add a fuel stabilizer. Some owners prefer to completely drain the fuel tank and lines, but this may be an open invitation for condensation to build within the fuel system causing premature corrosion.

One of the biggest problems with winter automotive storage is rodents. Depending on how secure the facility is that you store your Corvette in, one fact remains…. it’s a source of protection from the elements for both your Corvette and those furry little critters. Most owners don’t realize it, but certain brands of spark plug wires can become a meal for mice. Some brands (including GM brands) consist of a silicone inner jacket that surrounds the carbon suppression core. The silicone inner jacket is then surrounded by a vegetable oil based insulating outer shell which mice find particularly appetizing. To help prevent them from making a meal out of your Corvette’s ignition system, place some mothballs in and around the engine compartment, but remember to remove them before starting up the car!

Exhaust System
Mice and other small rodents like to build nests in very small spaces and your Corvette’s exhaust tips and mufflers make a perfect home. Use a couple small face cloths and rubber bands to seal off the exhaust tips on your Corvette. Simply cover the opening of each tail pipe with the towel and wrap a rubber band around it.

Car Cover
Should I cover my Corvette while it’s in storage and if so, what’s the best type of cover to use?” This is one of the most commonly asked questions when it’s time to store your Corvette. The answer depends upon where the car will be stored. The type of cover you should use, again depends upon where the car will be stored. If it’s stored indoors, a simple cotton based cover is sufficient to keep dust off the car. If it’s stored outdoors, you should consider using an Evolution-3 type weatherproof cover to protect against the elements. These covers can usually be found at our parts department or through mail order companies.