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Winterizing Your Checker

Copyright 2016 - Checker Car Club of America, Inc.

In November 2016, a request was posted on the Checker World Facebook page asking Checker owners what they do to store their cars for the winter. The responses are given below followed by a more complete checklist.

Checker owned by the Box House Hotel in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, NY

This is not the way to store your Checker!

Checker World Admin: Now that we're into November, it's likely that you will be putting away your Checker until next Spring. What steps do you follow to get this done?

George Laszlo: To start things off, I will mention the Sta-Bil products of the Gold Eagle company. I use Sta-Bil every time I fill up with gas since it helps prevent the damage that ethanol and unleaded fuel can cause the engine. The effects are noticeable. For example, without Sta-Bil the engine knocks and has run-on when you try to turn it off. With Sta-Bil it runs like a charm. The company also makes a Storage version of the product which allows you to put the car away without draining the fuel. There are Sta-Bil products for diesel engines too!

Edward Fox: Last year I got burned by thinking I was going to have one last ride, so I didn't do anything. This year, I will jack her up and put jack stands under the frame to give the tires a break. I suppose some Sta-bil too. I added a battery disconnect switch already, so that ought to do the trick.

Steve Contarino: 1) Bring tire pressure to 50 lbs. 2) Put in fuel stabilizer and run the car at least 15 minutes to get it into the carb and fuel lines. 3) Always put a float charger on the battery. 4) If there is a chance for mice, put steel wool in the tail pipe. Also either moth balls or some kind of deterrent in the interior. 5) If you can afford Slick 50 add that to the oil and run it for 15 minutes.

Steve Contarino: A battery disconnect is not the proper way to obtain maximum life out of a battery. Even

a disconnected battery will lose amps and discharge. Remember: an alternator is not a battery charger. It is only

designed to put back a reasonable amount of amps. A float charger will charge a battery to 100% and extend the

life of a battery for many years.

John Weinhoeft: On a Checker, the other thing I would do is close the driver's side air vent and the passenger

side heater vent. Otherwise mice could get through the grill and air hoses. And over the winter I keep the Checker, the VW and the camper batteries all on float chargers. If you don't want to do that, then remove the battery, place it inside on a block of wood, and fully charge it. Ed note: I’ve picked up float chargers with permanent attachment hardware at my local Farm & Home Supply stores on sale for about $35.

James Garrison: My routine is: a) stabilizer in the full fuel tank and drive for at least 15 minutes, b) put it up

on jack stands to preserve the tires, c) put aluminum foil in the air intake and exhaust, d) moth balls inside an old

sock in the drivers floor, rear passengers floor, and in the engine compartment, e) remove and charge the battery, f) cover, if you have one. Don't let anybody put anything on it while stored.

Rob Sinkus: In the garage surrounded by mouse traps


  • Wash and wax the car before storage;

  • Vacuum the interior and remove any food remnants;

  • Check the antifreeze concentration or do a complete coolant flush;

  • Change the oil (Optional);

  • Fill the gas tank to almost full;

  • Add fuel stabilizer and drive the car for 15 minutes to get it properly mixed in;

  • Disconnect the battery (minimum); remove it and store in warm spot (medium);

  • Put a float charger on the battery (maximum);

  • Inflate the tires to 50 lbs. if you don't plan to jack it up;

  • Put the car on jack stands at all four corners, preferably under the suspension;

  • Stuff the exhaust pipe(s) and air intakes with steel wool to keep out critters;

  • Place moth balls or cotton balls dipped in peppermint oil inside and around the car;

  • Add Slick 50 to the motor oil and run the car for 15 minutes (Optional);

  • Close the driver's side air vent and the passenger side heater vent;

  • Put the car away and use a car cover or bag if you have one;

  • Do not cancel your car insurance!

With thanks to Tara Hurlin at Haggerty Insurance for some of the tips in the Checklist.

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