Do you leave a vehicle in storage for the winter? You need to read this!

Vehicles that are left to stand for extended periods can develop problems with their fuel system – TerraClean explains the issue and what can be done about it
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It’s that time of year when people’s summer or weekend vehicles come out of storage to make the most of the good weather while it lasts.

Motorbikes, motorhomes, classic cars and two-seater roofless cars such as Caterhams, are all examples of vehicles that might be kept in a garage through the winter.

But there is a potential problem with this approach to vehicle ownership that owners should be aware of: staying locked up for months at a time causes problems with a fuel system, which can cause performance and reliability issues.

What goes wrong when a vehicle is left in storage?

Assuming you have left the battery on trickle charge over the winter, you may well be lucky enough to have a reliable vehicle that fires up straight away after several months in storage.

However, there could still be unseen issues that affect performance and which could grow worse over time.

One of the biggest issues is caused by stagnation of any fuel that has been left in the system. Fuel can stagnate when it is left to lie in and around critical engine components for any extended period, leading to the build-up of gums.

Most of the major moving parts of the fuel system are vulnerable to this – the fuel injectors, the fuel pump and the fuel pressure regulator, for example. When these gums build up, they can hamper performance and prevent these parts from moving and operating as efficiently as they should.

The gums will not necessarily be cleared away as part of the combustion process, leading to a cumulative build-up, and further impaired performance, as the seasons pass.

What can be done?

Some may see this as a fact of life – simply a by-product of choosing to run seasonal vehicles – but it doesn’t need to be.

A thorough fuel system clean can be carried out on any vehicle’s engine. A TerraClean, for example, uses a patented technology to remove precisely those gums and tars from the fuel system – it also decarbonises the fuel system.

As well as improving performance, it can help efficiency and reduce emissions.

It is a quick process and surprisingly affordable – plus, the service is offered at 500 dealers across the UK, so there is almost certainly one close to you. Pop your postcode into the search bar at the top of this page to find your nearest TerraClean dealer.