How I Prepare My Convertible For Fall/Winter
By Cliff Jacobson
My 1996 BMW Z3 (105,000 miles) will be 22 years old in January. It looks like new—actually, better than new!
A short story: Two years ago, I brought my Z3 in to BMW for service. The Service Tech walked back-and-forth to the car twice.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“Nothing – but the VIN on this car says it’s a 96. I’ve never seen such a beautiful ‘96. How do you do it?” He asked.
My secret is 303® Automotive Protectant. Really! This stuff is magical. Several times a year I apply it to the plastic rear window (which looks like clear glass!), dashboard, leather shift boot, seats and door seals (they look brand new!).
Then, before storing the car for the winter, I meticulously do the following:
- Change the oil, check the air filter, top up windshield washer fluid (temps can get down to -35 degrees here in Wisconsin).
- Wash and wax the car.
- Vacuum the convertible top. Come spring, I will re-treat it with 303® Fabric Protectant. This product restores color, resists UV deterioration and allows rain to bead right off my fabric top.
- Nourish the leather 303® Leather 3-in-1 Complete Care.
- Clean and polish the plastic window, inside and out (I use “Mirror Glaze products); apply 303® Protectant over that.
- Apply 303® Protectant to leather and plastic, head-and-tail-light covers and tire-sidewalls.
- Go for one last, fast drive (brakes, exhaust pipe and muffler must be completely dry before Dry Bag storage.
- Fill up the fuel tank and use a fuel stabilizer to keep your gas fresh during storage.
- Place one desiccant bag under the car (windows left a few inches open for ventilation, and to reduce stress on rubber seals); a second desiccant bag goes inside the car.
- Cover the car with a soft flannel car cover and then zip the Car Bag closed.
When my Z3 comes out of hibernation in the spring, it looks perfect! Note: rodents are a big concern if you live in the country. A Car Bag keeps them away.
P.S. No need for a fabric “dash cover” if you use 303! I’m also a serious canoeist (see my website). I have four extremely expensive Kevlar/carbon-fiber canoes. I regularly use 303® Protectant on them and on my $300 carbon-fiber paddles.