UPDATED ON APRIL 16, 2018
Will winter never end? While we avoided all of the "four easters" here in the North East (we were away in Florida for the season), many in our Porsche community weren't so lucky. In fact, just yesterday, on April 15th, it snowed. Our 911s sit in storage awaiting a bit of rain to wash the salt from to road and we can't even install summer tires on our Cayenne yet. Despite our "hardship", many of you are approaching the time of year when you're thinking about getting your Porsche ready to go back on the road. For those unfortunate souls who, for one reason or another, might need to put their Porsche away for a bit, here are our tips on preparing your Porsche for storage.
Now for the rest of you. I know it's an exciting time and it's hard not to just open that garage door, whip off the cover, start up your beloved Porsche and hit the road. Trust me, taking a few extra minutes to make some minor checks and adjustments will do both you and your Porsche a world of good. The following steps are done (in some form or another) for both our '97 993 and our '73 911 but are good for just about any Porsche. If you have additional steps to add, please comment below and we'll add them to the list for next year.
Spring Start up Procedures for your Porsche
1. Open the Garage Door: If you haven't already done so, now would be a good time to open that door. While the chance are slim, you never know what type of vapors might accumulate. Opening the garage door will not only provide fresh air, but also give you some natural light to complete your inspections.
2. Give it a Visual Inspection: Walk around the car in order to eyeball the tires, the lights, the interior, etc. What you're checking for is to make sure that nothing went flat, no cracks developed in any visible gaskets or lights and to ensure that no unwanted stowaway built nests in your tailpipe, airbox or anywhere else for that matter. Don't forget to look under your Porsche for any signs of new leaks that may have magically developed over the winter.
3. Check your Hood Latch: In the winter, a number of you may have rigged your hood lock so that it doesn't/can't catch in order to close the hood most of the way yet still turn off the engine light. Be sure to make sure you use the release lever on the hood so that when you do close it for real, you don't bend the locking mechanism. This is a mistake you will only make once and if we can help you avoid it, all the better.
4. Check your Battery: Most likely you have some form of connected to your Porsche this winter. Not only do these devices ensure an easier spring start-up, they help to greatly extend the life of your battery. Remove your charger (and don't forget any lines you may have run under the hood too). If you didn't use a charger, reconnect your battery (hopefully you have your radio code in a safe place) and ensure it has the proper charge.
5. Tires: I know, you already did a visual inspection on the car. That's okay, go back over your tires. This time, use a gauge and check the air pressure (I use this as it has a "bleeder" function that allows me to quickly let out the excess air I put in for winter storage, but any will do). If you followed our instructions for storing your Porsche then most likely you over inflated your tires for winter storage. Use this time, while the tires are still cold to get the most accurate readings and adjust the levels accordingly. While making your adjustments be sure to look for any cracks in the sidewall or treads and keep on the lookout for flatspots. Most flatspots can be driven out over time. However, if you find dry-rot or a crack, it's time to check out and select new tires for your Porsche.
6. Proper Lubrication Part I: Most likely, your Porsche has been sitting for months. This means most, if not all, of the oil has settled and your engines delicate moving parts will have little to no protection coating them. For some, this may be overkill, but if you want, simply remove the DME or fuse that controls the fuel pump. This will allow you to turn the Porsche over a few times in order to bring the oil and fuel pressure up. Once pressure is up, replace the DME or fuse and you're ready to start it up. Once you're up to temperature (at least for air-cooled Porsches) check the fluid levels and make sure everything is where it should be.
7. Start your Porsche: If you stored your Porsche properly and you followed the instructions above, your Porsche should start right up. Once you have it running be sure to turn on all the lights and blinkers to make sure your electrical system is working properly. Ideally you'll have someone in the garage with you to check your brake lights. Be sure to pump your brakes a few times just to actuate those calipers/drums and lines in-case they became a little tight during storage.
8. Check you insurance: If you reduced some of your key coverages (like collision) while your Porsche was stored, be sure to call your agent and let them know you're putting your baby back on the road. There would be nothing worse than going out for your first ride of the season, getting involved in an accident and finding your insurance is lacking by your own doing.
9. Take it for a Test Drive: Roll your Porsche out of the garage, test the brakes and take it out for a 20 or 30 minute drive around your neighborhood. Be sure to take it slow at first and allow your Porsche to come up to temperature. For air-cooled Porsches you don't want to let the car idle to bring it up to temperature, you definitely want to drive it. Keep your revs under 4000 RPMs until that oil is nice and warm and be sure to bring a cell-phone with you in the event things don't turn out as planned.
10. Final Inspection: When you get back to your garage do one final walk around. Check everything again and be sure to get down and check for leaks. While you might not have seen any leaks during your initial inspection, bringing the Porsche to temperature might now show where a gasket cracked or otherwise failed during storage. Check all your fluid levels, dust it off and you should be ready to enjoy your Porsche for another season.
Every year we get numerous request from regional Porsche clubs asking if they can reprint this article. The answer is yes! All we ask in return is a link back to our site from your website and to cite FlatSixes.com as the source.
Each year our readers help us out by providing their own check list. Does yours differ from ours? Do you have any tips that are model specific? Let us know and we'll add them to the master list. Lastly, be sure to check the comments below for other tips our readers have submitted.