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Old 10-21-2011, 11:06 AM   #1
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Winter Storage

So it's getting close to time to put the P-car down for a long winter's nap. I'm sure there are tons of tips but I have a specific question:

After reading the whole "Motor Oil 101" article, and how storing motor oil in cold weather basically ruins it, I'm considering doing half the oil change - drain it and change the filter but don't refill it and putting a BIG tag on the dashboard that says "DO NOT START - NO MOTOR OIL"....

I don't want to leave the old oil in there, and filling it with 9 quarts of expensive Mobil 1 that will be no good in the spring is not very appealing either! Has anyone dealt with this? How about refilling it with 9 quarts of cheap mineral oil and changing it again in the spring?

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Old 10-21-2011, 12:06 PM   #2
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storing w/o any oil? = Terrible idea idea unless you're planning to fully "mothball" the engine... You'd be better served leaving old oil in there, then changing it in spring...
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Old 10-21-2011, 12:10 PM   #3
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But why? The oil drains to the sump anyway, it's not like having a full sump is going to protect the cylinder walls, chains, lifters, etc.....and the old oil contains acids anyway and will just form sludge won't it? I was thinking of adding stabilizer, fogging the engine, draining the oil, and stuffing some oily rags in the exhaust pipes...
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Old 10-21-2011, 12:35 PM   #4
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....."and the old oil contains acids anyway and will just form sludge won't it?"
You just answered your own question as to what you should be doing; you should change the oil and filter before putting the car up. I don't know what you read, but several decades of experience says that article is nonsense...........
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Old 10-21-2011, 12:52 PM   #5
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You just answered your own question as to what you should be doing; you should change the oil and filter before putting the car up. I don't know what you read, but several decades of experience says that article is nonsense...........
I agree with JFP's suggestion here. If you're concerned about putting the car up with contaminated oil, just change it right before putting it up, and unless you're really not going to touch the car whatsoever over the dormant period, just take the car out for a drive when you get the opportunities of nice days over the winter, and that way it doesn't sit totally unmoved and unlubed until that lone startup at the beginning of spring.

And even if you do decide not to run the car at all over the winter, I really doubt a fresh fill of good synthetic is going to get completely ruined over a winter of sitting. I'm not an oil expert by any means, but I have to imagine more than one source would be up in arms about it if it was really that big of a concern that it could cause some sort of damage.
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Old 10-21-2011, 01:38 PM   #6
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A couple of UoA's on oil from stored cars agrees with Overdrive; the oil does not deteriorate or show signs of contamination after a car sitting for nearly six months.......... Get the car ready, change the oil and let it sit.
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Old 10-21-2011, 02:10 PM   #7
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A couple of UoA's on oil from stored cars agrees with Overdrive; the oil does not deteriorate or show signs of contamination after a car sitting for nearly six months.......... Get the car ready, change the oil and let it sit.
Exactly. Like this one, from my car. It's hibernated every year from mid Oct till early April. I never start it. Stored with fresh oil (<1,000 miles). Last UOA was Mobil 5W50 all prior were Red Line 5W40:
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Old 10-21-2011, 02:16 PM   #8
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I know in the past this topic has been beaten to death, and there very divided views with regard to storing a vehicle for the winter . However, regardless of the fact that I use a battery maintainer, I still like to periodically start my vehicle and let it run for a significant period of time (a 1/2 hour or more) in order to circulate the oil and fluids . Does anyone disagree with this ?
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Old 10-21-2011, 02:53 PM   #9
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Yes, I do. Tests on the oil in cars stored, some started, others not, for prolonged periods shows that cars that are started and run for periods of time (not driven) tend to show fuel contamination, moisture build up, and partial break down of the additve packages. The cars left alone tested fine.

Unless the car is going to be driven for a prolonged period, you are better off not starting it at all.
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Old 10-21-2011, 04:01 PM   #10
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Yes, I do. Tests on the oil in cars stored, some started, others not, for prolonged periods shows that cars that are started and run for periods of time (not driven) tend to show fuel contamination, moisture build up, and partial break down of the additve packages. The cars left alone tested fine.

Unless the car is going to be driven for a prolonged period, you are better off not starting it at all.
Good to know . I guess I'll have to break the start and run habit .
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Old 10-22-2011, 02:56 AM   #11
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Does anyone disagree with this ?
I disagree. For many reasons.
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Old 10-22-2011, 05:05 AM   #12
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Okay, maybe I need to clarify this a little bit because I think the point is being missed:

I am storing my car in a detached, unheated garage in CT over the winter. It's a big eight bay on my uncle's gentleman farm and it's 30 miles from home, so I won't be taking it for a spin. I also have some work to do on it, getting the rims refinished, etc so it's going to be sitting on jack stands until spring.

And, as the article in Rennsport states: "Motor oil becomes permanently thicker with exposure to northerly winter type weather. This is more of a problem to mineral based oils. Waxes form. This is why it is a bad idea to even store a bottle of oil in a cold garage. It goes bad on the garage shelf just because it is exposed to the cold."

So if storing a new bottle of motor oil in a cold garage is bad news, then certainly letting a fresh fall oil change sit in the crankcase in a garage that will be going down to 0 degrees overnight is not doing it any favors. The "new" oil will be severely degraded by spring. If you live in San Diego, you're going to be fine. If you live in North Dakota, you're not. You should change it again in the spring and just throw out $50 of clean Mobil One?

Or change the oil in the fall with cheap mineral oil, toss it in the spring and put in the synthetic? Or leave it empty in the winter?

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Old 10-22-2011, 06:14 AM   #13
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Ive been storing sports cars in unheated and partially detached garages every winter for 25 years. I change the oil and fill up the gas tank and either remove the battery, or since I bought the Porshe put it on a battery float charger, and leave it for the winter. Never had any engine trouble on any of my vehicles-and I stored my TR8 this way for over 20 years. I store two vehicles in the unheated, uninsultated 2nd garage that the orignal owner added to my property every winter these days. I'd worry more about damage from mice than from the oil. I live at 8700 ft in Colorado and it gets plenty cold here. I also store my oil in that garage, and again never had any engine problems from using it. More important to make sure the gas tank is full and that someone will be cleaning out the mouse traps you set around the car over the winter. - And I've never thrown out my oil in the spring.


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Okay, maybe I need to clarify this a little bit because I think the point is being missed:

I am storing my car in a detached, unheated garage in CT over the winter. It's a big eight bay on my uncle's gentleman farm and it's 30 miles from home, so I won't be taking it for a spin. I also have some work to do on it, getting the rims refinished, etc so it's going to be sitting on jack stands until spring.

And, as the article in Rennsport states: "Motor oil becomes permanently thicker with exposure to northerly winter type weather. This is more of a problem to mineral based oils. Waxes form. This is why it is a bad idea to even store a bottle of oil in a cold garage. It goes bad on the garage shelf just because it is exposed to the cold."

So if storing a new bottle of motor oil in a cold garage is bad news, then certainly letting a fresh fall oil change sit in the crankcase in a garage that will be going down to 0 degrees overnight is not doing it any favors. The "new" oil will be severely degraded by spring. If you live in San Diego, you're going to be fine. If you live in North Dakota, you're not. You should change it again in the spring and just throw out $50 of clean Mobil One?

Or change the oil in the fall with cheap mineral oil, toss it in the spring and put in the synthetic? Or leave it empty in the winter?

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Old 10-22-2011, 06:21 AM   #14
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Only problem is that you should be using a full synthetic rather than a mineral based oil, so the point is moot................... Full synthetics from major suppliers (I have no data on the small "blenders") has a projected shelf life of three to five years (depending upon manufacturer) when stored from -20 to +120F (most oil suppliers do not store oil inventory in environmental controlled facilities, and bulk storage such as drums or tanks is actually done outside; and my local supplier's outside inventory sees 0F and worse outside every winter). UoA's have confirmed that this is correct. So the oil, in your pan, in CT, in the winter, in your uncle’s garage, will do just fine..........
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Old 10-22-2011, 10:08 AM   #15
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And just as a by-the-by, leaving the car on jackstands with the suspension hanging all winter is also a "no-no".....
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Old 10-23-2011, 03:02 AM   #16
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I also have some work to do on it, getting the rims refinished, etc so it's going to be sitting on jack stands until spring.
This will be your second mistake.
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Old 10-23-2011, 03:33 AM   #17
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My first mistake was asking the question in the first place.

No one has yet weighed in with any demonstrable issue that could arise from leaving the crankscase empty until spring, or any a possible benefit of leaving it full.
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Old 10-23-2011, 04:10 AM   #18
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My first mistake was asking the question in the first place.
Wow, you're good 3 for 3. Just like Albert last night. Congrats. You got your answers, you just fail to listen to them. Maybe this is an iusse for you. Use the "search" feature, and learn. But, you may need to adjust your attitude first.
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Old 10-23-2011, 06:02 AM   #19
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You're a real prince, Flavor, you should sign up for your attitude adjustment. Read the thread from the beginning. Burg said it was a terrible idea, and leave in the old oil with no explanation of how old oil is better than no oil. JFP said to do the change, experience dictated it - that was fine.

Overdrive agreed with JFP.

You chimed in with your ever-so-helpful "I disagree for many reasons" and yet gave none, just lobbed that little grenade over the wall and fled.

I clarified my initial post a little more saying the car would be stored in cold conditions and this has been said to adversely affect oils, especially (but not exclusively) mineral oils (though I always use synthetics). Dave S. responded that it had not been his personal experience that over-the-winter oil changes or storing oil in cold conditions had ever caused him any issues. Helpful, but not really what I was asking though I appreciate the effort and response.

JFP helpfully said that that manufacturers guaranteed shelf life, even if stored to -20 F. He also added it was not a good idea to leave the car on stands.

You chimed in ever-so-helpfully again with another little grenade, even though the point had been stated - "This will be your second mistake" - couldn't resist being snide, could ya?

So your "answers" haven't really been answers at all, have they Einstein? And forgive me for "failing to listen" to you, but I really choose not to.

Next time you feel compelled to respond to a thread of mine, take a deep breath and wait for the urge to pass.
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Old 10-23-2011, 11:38 AM   #20
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Good Old Flavor - NOT !

Sometimes I too would like a more detailed answer from JFP in PA. I would like to know his thoughts about the suspension hanging. But I guess he has to protect his livelihood. Folks like him giving out free mechanical information to folks like me would make less work for the repair shops. Just yesterday my son and I spent the afternoon tearing down his car's engine after talking to a mechanic. Have to have the head redone.

PB77, I'm not an engineer but 40 years of motorcycling has taught me a thing or two about engines sitting over the winter. I think a good reason to leave the oil in could be the same reason we leave the fuel tank full of fuel. To keep corrosion out. Any surface not covered is exposed to the elements and corrosion can begin. Yes I know there are folks who fog an engine and it works out fine. Fortunately for me, I choose to ride all year even though in the winter months of December - March it may only be once or twice per month. I keep my oil clear of moisture by taking 50 to 100 mile rides. And my Boxster S is my Wifes daily driver, so no problems there.
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