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garagecleanupExcerpted from an article written by Charles Krome for realtytimes.com

“Some of us look at our garage as a place meant for storing tools, toys, sporting gear, landscaping equipment and perhaps an extra fridge or two.  We often lost sight of its main purpose – to store and protect some of our most valuable possessions – our vehicles.  With winter coming on, there are more reasons than ever to get that garage cleaned out so it can serve its intended purpose well, and some aren’t as obvious as just protecting it from the bad weather.

  1.  Use it as a protective shield.  Parking in a garage protects your car from dangers like hail, which can crack windshields and ding sheet metal in extreme cases.  It also reduces the chance of damage from a more common overhead source – our fine feathered friends.  Bird droppings are highly acidic, and that combined with what alternating sun and cold can do to an exposed car is a recipe for potentially expensive paint damage.  Safer than parking in the street, where you car is right in the path of traffic, moving into a garage raises the bar.  Now, you’re out of the way of delivery trucks, visitors and people turning around.
  2. Think about the Bottom Line.  Beyond protecting your vehicle, putting your vehicle out of sight helps decrease opportunities for intentional damage.
  3. Keep it Made In The Shade.  If you’ve ever had to start your work day by digging your car out of a snowy driveway, and/or scraping off a layer of ice from the windows, you already know of the key benefits to parking in a clean garage.  It’s also better for your car.  Even in the dead of winter, your car is warmer in a garage than if it’s exposed to t he elements, and the warmer your car’s oil and other fluids, the easier it is on the engine when starting up.  The flip side to those winter benefits show up with the better weather, when your car will stay out of the heat of the sun and won’t have to work as hard to reach comfortable operating conditions.  Parking in a garage also limits your car’s exposure to UV rays, which can be particularly harmful to a vehicle’s interior.  Along with causing the cabin surfaces to fade and crack, the hot sun also can be surprisingly harmful to you by heating up the steering wheel and seats to painful levels.
  4. Bring Out Your Inner Mechanic.  Doing your own minor car repairs can be both economical and great for your ego, and a picked-up garage can provide a clean, relatively weather-free place for your efforts.  You’ll also have access to electrical outlets for handy resources such as tools, lights, heaters and fans.  Learning to change the oil is a simple starting point that can give you the confidence to try other automotive challenges – also topping off your windshield wiper fluid.
  5. Keep the Critters Away.  Finally, you should clean your garage so as to keep the pests out.  Messy garages make attractive homes for rats, mice, spiders and other unwelcome critters, many of which are eager to follows you right into your home.  Some, like termites, bring destructive results anywhere they’re found.  With that in mind, you’ll want to reduce mess as much as you can.  And don’t forget to go the extra mile to weatherproof your garage when you’re done, so the pests can’t get back in.  This also will  help prevent pets and other animals from taken shelter int he warm engine compartment or other areas of a vehicle, then getting inured – or worse – when the vehicle is started.”

SOURCE:  Charles Krome is an automotive expert and writer for CARFAX.  He prides himself in sharing consumer tips on how to maintain your car’s value.  realtytimes.com

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