Winterizing Your Garage

A garage in need of winterizing.
What You'll Need
WD40 or PB Blaster
Cement Crack Filler
Sea Foam
Plastic storage container
Steel wool or SOS pad

There is probably more heavy lifting and organizing to do in the garage than in your house in order to get it ready for winter weather. Most of the time this area is overlooked, which makes it all the more important to get it done now, before it's too cold to do anything about it.

Relocate Liquids

Start in one corner of the garage. Gather all the items that could be damaged if frozen (especially any liquids) and find a good place to store them in the basement. It’s best if you put them all in a plastic storage container. This will make them easy to transport and if there are any leaks, it will reduce the mess. Please be sure to read all labels -- some fertilizers cannot be stored with any other chemicals.

Clean Yard Tools

Now collect all your yard tools. Rinse the tools off well with a hose. If there are any rust spots buff them with some fine steel wool. If you don’t have any steel wool, use an SOS pad. After the tools are cleaned and dry, spray some WD40 or PB Blaster on the metal parts. Doing this will prevent your tools from rusting over the winter. Be sure to get the clippers and pruners well sprayed, especially on the inside of the blades.

Drain Gas Powered Machines

For gas powered items, either drain the gas out or start them up and let the motor run until the gas is gone. If you prefer to leave the gas in, then you should add some Sea Foam (found at most hardware stores), which prevents the gas from becoming gummy, creating startup problems in the spring. Take the spark plugs out and put a little oil on the threads. Leave the spark plug wire off for the winter (just the wire -- you want the spark plug itself re-inserted to protect the engine). If you have a yard tractor that can be converted into a snow blower, now is a good time to take off the mower deck and put on the blower. Before storing the lawn mower deck, scrape out all the stuck-on grass and give it a good rinsing with the hose. Just like your other tools, a thin layer of oily spray (inside and outside of the deck) will keep the deck from rusting.

Swap Out Seasonal Items

Bring all the winter items, like sleds and shovels, to the “easy access” corner and stow all the float rafts and beach balls (deflated of course) in the back of the garage. Hang up the bicycles (unless you ride in the winter). Sweep the garage and hose out if it seems necessary. Now that everything is out of your way, it is a good time to inspect the garage floor, garage doors and weather stripping.

Prevent Floor Cracks

Fill any cracks in the floor with a good cement crack filler. You want to fill these cracks because your car will bring in snow. The snow will melt during the day and freeze at night. This action just makes the cracks bigger.

Replace Weatherstripping

Inspect the weatherstripping around the garage door. If it is brittle or is showing signs of wear, it is time to replace. You can purchase replacements at most hardware stores. While you are at it, check the doors themselves. Are they aligned? Are the springs or screw drives in good working order? If you have a garage door opener, is functioning correctly?

Clean Trash Cans

Last but not least: wash out the trash cans since it may be awhile before you can use the hose again.

Organization, a good cleaning and maintenance are key to keeping your garage and all the items within in working order. Don’t overlook your garage just because it's where you park the car. You’d be surprised by how much you really value that garage when it is 20 degrees below zero, snowing and you can’t find a shovel!