Automotive Hibernation Strategies

Posted by John on February 04, 2009
Hibernating Vehicles

Sleeping beneath the snow...

As winter grinds into February, and with it the weekly snowfalls that are starting to make me think that maybe asphault has always been brown and white and I just never noticed, one thing that every car owner in the city dreads is the inevitable moment of decision: do I move the car today?  Sure, you’re running out of toilet paper (stockpiled from an early december Costco run), the local pizza delivery guy knows you by name because you’ve tried every ridiculous page-filler combination on their menu (banana peppers, squash, bacon, and anchovies? PILE THEM ON!), and you keep telling yourself that you can make it to spring on the trash bags you’ve got if you melt everything down in oven first… but when the alternative is digging your beloved vehicle from weeks of snow and possibly giving up that great space that you can see from your bedside window, the decision always presents as a deeper question than “should I take the car out?” might let on.

While my car hibernates, I visit it about twice a week on my walk to the T to brush off the resident sticker and make sure the windows are still there.  Once every two weeks, I pry open the door, start it up, and let it run for about 30 minutes, before giving it a quick dust-off, locking up the doors, and heading on my way.  For a while, I thought my system was brilliant, but no… I am merely an amateur to this northeastern winter city car storage paradigm.  The following are some of the other approaches I’ve seen lately:

The Cover Artist
He’s in it for the long-haul and knows every small corner store to buy every specialized winter necessity until April.  The cover artist hasn’t put up some cheap-o Pep Boys car blanket to protect his summertime toy, but found an ad in the back of a Canadian auto-magazine to buy his prized, battened down, threaded, and locked-tight cover that looks more like something out of an enterprise rent-a-car commercial than standard vehicle protection.  He’s got fuel stabilizer in the tank and his battery is neatly placed on his living room floor, hooked up to a trickle charger next to the canned foods stockpile.

The Best-Spot-Of-My-Life -er
This guy’s been waiting for that spot on the flat road outside his apartment window since he moved in last September, and he’s never giving it up now.  When friends come over, you can see him pointing from his apartment window, glowing with pride over his free storage spot.  After the big snowstorm, his roof is piled 3 feet higher than everyone else’s because of the old snow from the last storm two weeks ago that never got cleaned off.  You can spot this parker at the first thaw, trying to figure out why his car won’t start and nervously counting the days until street sweeping starts back up.

The Commuter
There’s half a foot of snow on the ground but the economy is in the dirt and the commuter isn’t about to risk a sick day.  He’s out there at 5am, swearing and beating his car clear of packed snow and ice.  You might wake up to the sound of spinning tires and a *KA-CHUNK* sound as he rolls back and forth trying to break free to join the rat race early.  The commuter parks wherever he can, bound by the maze built by winter street-stored care owners.  5-feet from the curb and the front is sticking into the main thoroughfare?  Looks good!  He’ll be back before dawn. 

The SUV Jockey
It’s winter and finally that 4-wheel drive means something!  The SUV Jockey gets his kicks in the winter climbing snowbanks and generally parking at least at a 15degree angle or abandoning the space for better terrain.  And why not?  Gas is cheap again and even though the concrete jungle is flat 3/4 of the year, this is the big chance to do all those things on the cover of the manual and finally impress all the babes old ladies walking in 5-layers-deep coats through the snow.

Happy parking!


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