11 Tips for Winterizing Your Racecar

11 Tips for Winterizing Your Racecar

Published by Crate Insider on 3rd Nov 2023

How to winterize your racecar is a big, big question that we get a lot from racers. We've compiled 11 tips from different manufacturers and racers to really get you set up for next season, and do it right. 

1. Leak Down Engine

So the first thing to do is with your engine, let's talk about your engine first. And a great idea at the end of the season is to go ahead and run a leak down test. When you do a leak down test, you'll find out if your engine is still in great shape, or it might be time for a rebuild. In some areas of the country, that's not necessarily possible. So you might look at a replacement in those cases. But if you can rebuild, the sooner you can get it to your engine builder, the better it's going to be because those lead times start stacking up - this kind of time of year is when they start getting busy. And it only gets worse. And you don't want to put yourself into a situation where you're four to five weeks out. And yet you've got a race that you wanted to hit and two weeks from now.

2. Fogging Engine

be sure especially if you live in a climate that is really cold and gets to freezing temperatures, be absolutely sure to drain all of the water out of your engine. Now if you choose to have a fluid in it, make sure that you have adequate antifreeze to make sure that it is not going to freeze. Because as that water freezes, it will crack blocks and ruin engines, and too many racers find that out every single year.

3. Carburetor

The next thing you want to do is to have your engine running and pour oil straight into the carburetor. Sounds kind of crazy. But what that will do is that will completely lubricate your engine and prevent rust from happening. Because when it sits there just just sits there, that can be a problem. And I know it's something that engine builders see in the spring, as they see two things if if engines are improperly stored, and one is having rust in the engine, and the second is cracked blocks. 

Depending on whether you've got alcohol or gas, regardless, you want to make sure that you drain all of the fuel out of your carburetor. And a carburetor, much like an engine is not something that you want to store in really super cold freezing temperatures, it's small enough, so try to bring it into a climate controlled area, you might find that this is a great time of year for you to send your carburetor in for a refresh or a rebuild. Some guys do that every single season or you know every year some some people do it every other year. But again, as you're, as you're wrapping up your racing program for the winter, this is a really great time to go ahead and do that.

4. Radiator

Next up, let's go ahead and talk about your radiator - we were talking about water just a moment ago. And with your radiator, it's a good idea to take it out of your car, and you want to go ahead and put the can drain it but put the radiator cap on and then soak it in a baby pool. And I get don't want to do this when this was really really cold because we don't want any kind of freezing situation. But when you soak that radiator, it's going to like let loose of all of the dirt and clay and dust particles that are in your radiator. And you want to go ahead and take it out after a couple of days to drain that water. Do it again until this water is coming out almost clear. And then be sure it is absolutely dry before you want to store it.

5. Brakes

You definitely want to drain all of the brake fluid out of your out of your brake lines. That fluid isn't going to be any good for you in the spring anyway. And also I've you know I've learned here in the last couple years that one of the parts that you want to replace on a yearly basis is your master cylinders. The master cylinders, you know, you can see the price point they're really meant to be a replaceable item on a yearly basis. And I think some people forget that so it's a good idea. First of all, drain your brake fluid and replace your master cylinders or get ready to do that.

6. Parts to Replace Yearly

Because we're also fouling out the plugs on your engine, you might want to go ahead and order some spark plugs just to have them as spares. And speaking of replacing items on a yearly basis. Another one is your spark plug wires, spark plug wires, of course they'll run for a little bit longer, but just for the for the best performance and the best maintenance considers replacing your split spark plug wires on a yearly basis.

7. Shocks and Springs 

Now let's go on to shocks and springs. So first of all with your shocks, definitely take them off of your car and you really never want to store your car especially on a lift with your shocks hanging that is terrible for your shocks. But now's a good time of year to go ahead and take your shocks off and send them to your shock guy. And that this is a perfect time of year to rebuild them, replace the oil in them, all of that. Another thing is your springs, because you don't want all of that pressure sitting on your springs. So here again, great idea, take the springs off of your car, go ahead and rate them. And that way you'll know exactly what you have going in to the next season as well. So, so some of this is preparing some of its preserving. And we want to do all of these things.

8. Chassis

Let's talk about your chassis. Of course, it's a given, you know, just like you do on a weekly basis to go through and do a full bulk check. But you want to take it a whole step farther here in the wintertime, check all of your dry flanges, for instance, and make sure that there's nothing going on with those and seeing if those need to be replaced. Another thing is you want to go through all of your heim joints and your bearings and find if there are any pinch points in your systems at all those are those are items that you'll want to replace but also to preserve them you know clean and and and lubricate them. A great choice would be using the Daytona1 Spray Lube. Now I will caution you that I know some guys use WD 40. But if you've ever seen WD 40 dry and then it becomes sticky like gum, you don't want that. So with the reason why that happens is because WD 40 contains accelerants WD 40 is great for a lot of things. But for preserving your the lubrication on your racing parts over the winter isn't one of them. However, the Spray Lube from Daytona1 has no accelerants - you're going to find that it cleans. And it cleans and it lubricates at the same time. So yeah, and also take a look at those bearings. If it's a good time to replace them. Again, another good thing to do.

9. Safety Equipment

This is a perfect time of year to check all of your safety equipment, including your Fire Bottle, any of these items that are SFI certified will have a date on them. And you want to check that date to make sure that you're not going to be out of date on your Fire Bottle, and also check your seatbelts. There's an SFI label right here. And I'll tell you this, I had a podcast interview with Neil McPhillips from Hooker Harness just a few weeks ago. And one thing I just learned this is a brand new information for me, as if I labels used to coordinate exactly with the month and day that they were done. Now, apparently, with the seat belts, I believe it's July and December, it's one of those two dates. So you can go ahead and get your seat belts ordered, and they're gonna have a December date on them. You don't want to wait, it's not going to do any good. You know, a couple of years ago, it would have helped you to go ahead and wait until the last minute, so you can get every single week out of your seat belts. Now you also want to check, even if they're not out of date, go ahead and check your seat belts, make sure there aren't any frayed edges, any weaknesses in them. And especially if you've got Hooker Harness seat belts. Now, I don't know about other manufacturers. But what's wonderful about the Hooker brand is that you can send your belts back in, they will keep all of your hardware, and they will reweld those seat belts and recertify them. So that is a great advantage and can save you a lot of money. I mean, we know seat belts, all safety equipment is you know, it's not inexpensive by any means. And it's an investment. And it's great that this continues to pay off for you and that you don't have that steeper price point. 

10. Tires

If you've got any tires that you would continue to use next season, there are two enemies of tires and that is air and light. So a great solution for that is to go ahead and wrap any of your tires now and while you store them over the offseason, this darker tire wrap that we carry in stock, it will block out the light, but it'll also seal in any moisture so that you can make sure that they don't dry out.

11. Headers

This is also a great time of year to you're going to be taking your engine, well maybe you'll take your engine out, maybe you won't. But check your headers, take a look at all of the tubes, make sure that you don't have any cracks, weaknesses, anything like that because it's a lot easier and a lot faster to go ahead and get those repaired or replaced here in the offseason versus waiting until again two weeks before the first race show that you want to go to.

So I hope that you find these tips very helpful. If you have any questions, feel free to drop them in the comments or if you've got some tips of your own to add go ahead and do that as well. In the meantime, I hope you'll like our channel subscribe follow wherever you're seeing this thanks for watching and we'll see you in another video.