Reposted from Bimmerpost in October of 2015.
Living in the northeast means that an E92 M3 with 414 hp and summer tires is pretty useless, so I store my M3 from November to March-April. I’ve written down the steps I take to properly ensure the car is stored the right way, and thought it would be useful to post the way I do it.
Before we begin, 2 items I hear often:
1- I use snow tires bro!
That’s great! More power to you. But if you don’t want to take your car out in the salt or muck, then this is for you. My E92 M3 is my “special” car.
2- Meh, I’ll just wipe it down sometimes and start it up once a month, it’ll be fine.
Here is where I’d disagree with you. First, wiping off the dust just grinds it into the clear coat, causing swirl marks. As to starting it up occasionally, this is not nearly enough to charge the battery, and all you’re doing is increasing cold starts without oil circulation. Store it properly, and come spring you’ll be glad you did. Just uncover and drive off!
You’ll want to change the oil right before you store it. This year I also changed the diff and trans fluid, since the car was due.
Items you will need to store your E92 M3:
- Sta-bil fuel stabilizer
- Air compressor
- Wheel chocks (4)
- Car cover
- Battery Tender Plus, or other trickle charger
- Clear coat sealant
- Baking Soda (2)
- Microfiber towels
Time needed: about 5 hours, depending upon your detailing routine.
1- Fill the car up with fresh fuel and Sta-bil fuel stabilizer. Proceed to drive around for about 5 miles to make sure everything circulates through the tank and fuel lines. This is your last ride with the mighty beast, so give it the beans. Make sure you leave the car with a full tank of fuel, or water can condense in the tank.
2- Starting with the inside, clean the car. Give it a good detailing and make sure to condition your leather. I also take the mats out of the car and store them separately. Close all the air vents in the car to prevent any critters from getting in.
Wash and protect your E92 M3
3- Once the inside is done, give the outside a full wash. Make sure to get the underbelly of the car to wash away any dirt that might linger there all winter. Same goes for inside the wheel barrels and other heavily used areas. Now would be a good time to also clean your engine bay.
4- Using clear coat sealant (I prefer AMMO REFLEX), seal the entire car. Don’t leave any residue behind! You don’t want this sitting on the car in a hardened state all winter. Use spray wax to loosen any trouble spots. Once complete, give the car a second coat, and repeat the process. Any product you prefer can be used, but I would visit AMMO’s website and watch Larry for detailing tips.
Setting up your E92 M3 for storage
5- The car should now be fully cleaned and detailed inside and out. Are we getting emotional yet? Move the car into its storing place, and make sure all windows are closed. Put the parking brake UP, then place your Baking Soda boxes inside the car. This will absorb moisture and keep the interior dry. I also like to leave one seat down for access to the trunk, where the battery is, which I’ll explain soon.
6- Moving to the outside of the car, you’ll want to chock each wheel and fill each tire to about 45 PSI. This will prevent flat spotting. Check the tires each month due to the air contracting and make sure they remain around this mark. I also put a mat under each wheel to prevent the tires from sticking to the concrete floor. Once you chock all the wheels, take the parking brake OFF.
7- Plug in your Battery Tender Plus (F80 bros will need the CTEK one). I hook it right to the battery and not through the connection under the hood. You can still close the trunk, just put a microfiber towel under the wire to prevent it from marking the trunk and rear bumper. Why not the hood connection? Since this trickle charger is constantly charging the battery, I believe a more accurate reading comes from hooking it up directly. If you do not use a charger, even hooked up to the hood, your car will not start come spring. BMWs rely heavily on electronics (duh), and in the E92, the battery is only charged when the car is coasting. You need this.
8- Stuff a microfiber towel in each exhaust pipe and cover it with painters tape if needed. No camping mice needed here.
9- Give the entire car a once over. Look for any parts where sealant is stuck and any wet spots you may have missed. Leave the doors unlocked without the alarm armed to prevent extra strain on the battery.
10- Cover the car with a cover (I use the OEM BMW car cover). Make sure the cover is clean, and remember to NEVER put a cover on a dirty car. Once you cover it, give it a kiss goodnight and DO NOT lift the cover up over the winter. Dust will settle on the cover and anything that gets under it will get crunched into the clear coat. Once it’s away, just leave it be.
In the Spring
Reverse the steps, and MAKE SURE TO TAKE AIR OUT OF THE TIRES. Revert them back to your desired PSI. Otherwise, you’ll have a spotless M3 with a full tank of gas ready to go. I do suggest taking it easy on the car while you burn off this old tank, and make sure to get the car pretty close to empty so you can fill up with fresh fuel and get rid of the Sta-bil.
I’ve followed this routine for many years now. My particular M3 has 25,000 miles on it, and though it’s 6 years old, I’m still on the original battery, thanks to the tender. I hope this helps everyone is colder climates. As for you warm winter guys…lucky.
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