Store your Sprinter for the Winter

It has been always a question how to store your Sprinter for the winter time. To keep him right and pulling him out in the Spring ready to go. To start, just like with your dishes you don’t put them away in your cupboard without washing, right?

So, it is best to start first by washing, polishing, and vacuuming your sprinter.

If you must keep your sprinter outside, make sure the paint has the right protection. Inspect all the seals on windows, and doors for signs of cracking, or deterioration because the moisture collected will get inside, and cause you many headaches (i.e. mold, mildew, Vynal delamination). Don’t leave anything inside, which rodents want to eat, and believe me they will find it and then make a nice winter nest out of your car.

Close off air intakes, and any other openings to the inside, before you park it. If yours is an RV mount a mouse trap from “A24 Rat and Mouse Trap Kit – Automatic Trap Company Inc.” in it, they are very effective.

If you would like further protection, cover it, to prevent sun and weather damage. However, be sure you use the right car cover. Use a cover, which is waterproof, but also breathable to prevent moisture from being trapped inside and under the cover, which may cause damages to your paint.

Tires are another concern if your Sprinter sits for extended periods of time. Air molecules will leak out of the tire stem and tire bead sealing ring. The tires will lose 1-2 psi of air every month. There is nothing wrong with over-inflation of the tires by 10 pounds. Two things will be achieved with this.
One the tire pressure stays up. Two it has less of a chance to get a flat spot. Just make sure before you use your Sprinter again the tire pressure is corrected to the manufacturer specification.

This should not have to be said, but … make sure all fluids are in excellent shape or have been replaced. Motor oil and Brake fluid are hygroscopic, which means it will saturate itself with water. And you know what happens then = rust. Engine oil should be changed annually, regardless of mileage or driving habits. If enough moisture accumulates in the oil of your engine, the oil will become acidic and rust can form on metal engine parts inside your motor. This is also true for Brake fluid. Brake systems are a hydraulic system and need liquid fluid to work since the liquid is not compressible. When you use your brakes, the brakes heat up and change the water in your brake lines into steam. If there is water inside the brake system, and the brakes are used hard (which means a lot of heat) the water or moisture will change into steam (gas) and your brake pedal will feel spongy or in extreme cases, you could lose your pedal completely= this is called brake fade. NOT GOOD. Please change your brake fluid every two years or have the brake fluid checked by your shop for water content.

The cooling system on your Sprinter is not very problematic but be sure to check the fluid level and freeze protection. On older Sprinters, I would also recommend checking the chemistry of the antifreeze. The antifreeze has an additive package in it, the additive is there for protection from rust and adds lubricant for the water pump. If it is worn out (used up) there will be no protection for corrosion or lubrication and it should be replaced. It is not enough just to check for freezing level protection (glycol level).

Transmission fluid and power steering fluid are just as much of a concern and should be changed every 40,000 miles or four years. Without fail, when we change these fluids after these miles it comes out contaminated.

Now let’s talk about fuel. Before you store your sprinter fill up the tank. Your Sprinter has a plastic tank, so corrosion is not much of a problem, but there is still a temperature change from day to night, which means temperature changes will produce moisture (water). Over time you will have water in your tank. One way to prevent this is to add some fuel conditioner. You can get it in any Parts store.Now there are some Gas-powered Sprinters out there. Today’s gasoline is more problematic since it has minimum 10% ethanol in it. Ethanol is also hygroscopic and absorbs moisture. If your sprinter is parked long enough the water will separate itself from the fuel. The water will settle on the bottom of the tank. On start-up this can cause a hard start condition.