Tips for waking up your Porsche after its winter hibernation
By Jay Heppe
It’s spring (we hope!) and many of us are getting ready to get our hibernating vehicles out of storage. Before jumping in and turning the key to see what happens, here are some quick tips that may help get your car back on the road quickly.
Remember to remove any and all coverings from the intake, exhaust and other areas that you may have plugged to keep animals and/or moisture out.
Inspect your engine compartment, trunk, wiring, and belts to ensure field mice or other animals didn’t eat into anything and everything is still intact as you left it when putting the car away. Also, inspect the engine for mice nests to ensure that a hot engine can’t ignite anything. Check the fuel lines and connections to ensure they are not leaking.
Inspect underneath the car to check for oil leakage. A seal drying out over winter may increase the risk of oil leaking and causing a potential hazard (fire, slippery floor, etc).
Obviously, if you have removed your battery from the car for winter, replacement is necessary. Hook up the positive terminal first, then the negative terminal. This can help reduce potentially dangerous sparks when connecting the electrical load of the car. Whether or not you’ve removed your battery from the car, it’s a good idea to get the battery back to full strength before starting the car. Use your battery charger to get it back to full charge. If the battery is back to full, your alternator won’t have to work hard at all to recharge it once the car is running. Also, make sure that you secure your battery correctly. A loose battery can be damaged.
Check all four tires to ensure that they are at the correct pressures. If you have over inflated the tires for winter storage, running the car at these high pressures can cause odd and potentially dangerous handling conditions. Also, we all know that only visually inspecting radial tires is deceiving. A tire that is 10 to 20 psi low may look O.K. at first glance. Get that tire pressure gauge out and check the tires! A visual inspection of the tires to check for any new cracks or dry rot is always good. Remember that summer tires (three-season tires) do not have the full traction potential at temperatures below 40 degrees.
After everything looks good, it’s time to start the car. You may wish to switch the ignition to the on position in electric fuel pump-equipped cars for a short time period before starting the car to let the fuel pump build up pressure. Then start the car as you normally would while listening for odd sounds. Do not ever use ether (starting fluid), carburetor cleaner or any other accelerant to try to start a Porsche engine! You may wish to read the article on page 70 in the March 2009 Panorama to get a good reminder of why you should not use ether to start your Porsche. If your car does not start after a reasonable amount of attempts at cranking it over, consult with your service facility before proceeding to avoid any potential damage to the car.
Before leaving the storage area, once the car is idling correctly, do another visual and audible inspection of the engine compartment to ensure nothing is leaking or burning. Drive off slowly and proceed to drive conservatively for a few minutes to ensure everything is working correctly. Does the clutch engage correctly? Are the brakes grabbing right? If so, take the car for a drive that is long enough to get it up to full operating temperature. On cars with air conditioning, don’t forget to at least switch on the A/C compressor to spin that again to lubricate any internal seals.
Sometime after the car is out, inspect the interior and other compartments for mold or mildew. Now is a good time to wash your car cover too!
Once the car is back from being warmed up, do another inspection of the belts for the proper tension, check the fuel lines for leaks and check the engine for any leaks or odd odors.
Don’t forget to put the insurance back on the car too if you remove coverage for winter!
Enjoy the driving season!