Winter Storage of an RX-7
By Ken Walanski
I've used the approach described here to store 1st, 2nd and 3rd Gen RX-7's
over ten Chicago winters. None of these cars has ever had a problem related to
the winter storage of five to six months duration; they have all started and run
well in the Spring.
Immediately Before Storage
1. Change the oil and replace or top-off all fluids.
2. Wash and wax the car, and clean the interior well (dirty cars are horrid
in the Spring). I also remove the floor mats and scrub them well over winter.
3. Remove the battery from the car and put it on an auto-shutoff trickle
charger throughout the entire storage period. Otherwise, the battery will not
survive deep-discharging during winter. I put the battery cover and hold-down
nuts in the trunk, so I can find them.
4. Remove the EGI fuse as a security measure, and put it in a safe place.
The car will crank but not start with the EGI fuse removed.
5. Do not engage the parking brake because the pads can corrosively fuse to
the rotors during storage leaving pad-shaped corroded patches on the rotors. Use
wheel chocks or leave the car in gear.
6. Cover the car even if it is being stored indoors.
Note: Some recommend putting
the car on jack stands to avoid "flat spots" on tires. Others have
recommended reducing the air pressure in the tires for the same reason. While
these can't hurt, I've never done either, and have never had a "flat
spot" problem with a tire.
Removing the Car From Storage
1. Remove the car cover and replace the battery. Now you'll be happy you
cleaned the car before storing it!
2 Check tire pressures and all fluid levels. Look for fluid spots under the
car. Fluid loss during the winter points to a problem unrelated to storage. (For
example, my water pump failed while in winter storage.)
3. Check for animal damage. One owner had animals eat through hoses during
the winter, damage which his insurance company covered. I had a mouse nest on
top of the throttle body.
4. With the EGI fuse removed so that the car will not start, crank the
engine five to ten times to lube it well and wet all the internal engine parts
with oil. I believe this is very important.
6. Replace the EGI fuse and start the car. Although I've had RX-7's start on
the first try, it usually takes several attempts before starting, and it will
typically stall a few times. I don't think any have gone more than 3-4 trys
before starting. Don't push it. Once started, the engine will initially lumber
at a low rpm. Let it. Don't race the engine; let it come up to speed all by
7. Bring the engine up to operating temperature, and check for fluid losses
again. Now you're ready to drive.
8. The brake rotors will corrode over winter. This is not a problem. The
brakes will initially make a terrible noise, but the rotors will be smooth after
just a few miles.