Grand Rapids Ford & Mazda Dealer News


Spring arrives this month in West Michigan, and some of us may be spending an upcoming weekend getting their summer vehicle out of storage. During this process, it's not uncommon to find things not working like they should, or even not working at all. The causes are as varied as the issues, but there are some common systems that can be affected while your vehicle is in storage.

In this article, we'll cover some common issues you may see when taking your vehicle out of storage (or even just driving less over the winter,) things you can do to fix them, or what to look for that signal deeper issues beneath the hood. We'll even include a couple of tips for winterizing your vehicle for a hassle-free 2023 season!

My Vehicle Doesn't Even Try To Start

If you bring your vehicle out of winter storage and find it doesn't start at all, it is most likely the battery. Batteries and extreme temperatures do not mix, so the first step is disconnecting your battery and taking it to the Borgman Service Center for testing. In most cases, charging or replacing your battery fixes the issue.

Next fall, we recommend disconnecting your battery, covering the posts with safety caps, and storing it somewhere warm for the winter. Make sure you take precautions against leaks and short circuits!

My Vehicle Tries To Start, But Sputters and Stalls

If you turn your ignition over and there's a lot of sputtering, stalling, uneven idling or stalling, there could be a number of causes. However, there are only three main things to look for: fuel, air flow, and spark. A disruption to any of these will cause misfires, rough idle, or the engine shutting off entirely.

First, ask yourself if you put in fuel stabilizer when you stored the car last fall. If not, expired gasoline is likely the culprit. This one is easy enough to fix yourself. Get a bucket and a hand-siphon (both are very inexpensive) and remove the gas from the tank. Replace with fresh gasoline using an approved container and try again.

If that doesn't work, check your air intake. It's not uncommon to find that critters have taken up residence inside the air filter over the winter, or even the tailpipe. This is also a good time to replace your engine and cabin air filter anyway. You an find these at the Borgman Parts counter.

If you're handy, you can remove the spark plugs to make sure they're clear of carbon deposits and the wires are in good shape. We would be happy to check for you too if you have concerns.

In the fall, many people storing vehicles will go around the vehicle looking for places rodents might hide like the tailpipe and air intake. Plugging these areas with steel wool works great, (just don't forget to take them out in the spring) and spreading moth balls under the vehicle adds an extra deterrent.

I Have Warning Lights On My Dashboard, But The Parts Are Ok

Usually when you see your dashboard light up like a Christmas tree in the spring, it's a sign that something has taken to chewing on your wiring harness. Take a look at the wires under the hood and see if you can spot any obvious damage, but this is likely something the Borgman Service Center will need to handle. Take a look above for tips on keeping little critters away from your vehicle.

My Car Drives Lumpy

If you've had your vehicle sit on one spot the whole winter, chances are your tires have developed a flat spot. In less severe cases, you can even these out by driving for a while on a warm day but usually it means they'll need to be replaced. Performance tires and low-profile tires are especially vulnerable.

There are a couple of ways to mitigate this over the winter. The easiest is to simply park the vehicle on plywood (which also can protect your garage from drips - more on this below.) Make sure you chock the wheels in case the parking brake gives out, and once a month go in and either raise each wheel with a jack and spin the tire, or just push it into another position. Use chalk to mark what part of the tire was touching the floor.

Another thing you could do is store the vehicle on jack stands all winter, but some argue this isn't great for the suspension and there's risk of injuring yourself or others.

Coolant Leaked All Over The Garage

If coolant leaked onto the floor, what likely happened is your coolant was too worn out to sustain colder temperatures and froze. When water freezes, it expands and this will crack hoses (which are already more brittle in the cold) or break the joins to the tank and radiator. If you're handy and have an attention to detail you can try fixing this yourself but the Borgman Service Center can help too.

Next fall, make sure you take your vehicle in and have the coolant tested before storage. If it's not up to snuff, you'll need to get the system flushed before winter. Same goes for the transmission!

Leaks can happen, especially if your vehicle is classic or vintage. That's why we also recommend putting a tarp down under the vehicle to prevent stains on the floor.

Other Things You Can Do To Prepare

Storing a vehicle for the winter is definitely doable on a budget - your biggest expense will likely be plywood for the tires. However, the best way to save time and money in the long run is to store the vehicle correctly. In addition to what we've already mentioned, here are some additional things you can do to make getting the vehicle out for spring easy:

  • Change your oil before storage: Motor oil can build up contaminants that will soak into your engine parts over time. Getting an oil change right before putting it away will mitigate that risk. Be sure to check the oil level and color before running the engine in the spring!
  • Wash thoroughly and use a car cover: Giving your vehicle some serious love before putting it away will pay dividends. Removing dirt, grime, and acids from the paint will ensure they don't soak in and ruin the finish during the winter. Adding a layer of wax will further protect the paint. Letting it completely dry and using a car cover keeps dust off while in storage too, so it's sparkling clean in the spring.
  • Put moisture absorbers in the cabin
  • Adding desiccants to the cabin will help keep that musty odor away in the spring. It's also better for your health too!

Get Ready For Spring at the Borgman Service Center

If you've taken your vehicle out for spring and found issues or just want a checkup, the Borgman Service Center is here to keep you moving. Use our easy Online Scheduler to set up your appointment, then check out our Service Coupons for big savings this spring. We service all makes and models, and it'd be our pleasure to help you get the most out of your vehicle this summer. Come see why we're the Best in the West!

Categories: News, Service, Parts