Winter or Long-Term Storage of
a Mazda RX-7 or Rotary Vehicle
Term Storage Preparation
the oil and replace or top-off all fluids.
the gas tank & add Fuel Stabilizer (The objective is to eliminate any
air space in the tank where condensation can occur). Add the stabilizer during
the fill at the gas station en route to the storage facility in order to allow
it to mix thoroughly.
and wax the car, and clean the interior well (it's nice to start with a clean
car in the spring). This is also a good opportunity to remove the floor mats
and scrub them well over the winter.
- Remove the battery from the car
and if possible place the vehicle on an auto-shutoff trickle charger throughout
the storage period. The battery will not survive deep discharging during the
winter or over long periods of time. Note: place the battery cover
and hold-down nuts in the trunk for easy retrieval.
- FC3s ('87-'91) vehicles: remove
the EGI fuse as a security measure, and put it in a safe place. The car will
crank but not start with the EGI fuse removed.
NOT engage the parking brake. This will prevent the pads from fusing to the
rotors during storage, leaving pad-shaped corroded patches on the rotors.
Use wheel chocks or place the car in gear.
the brake rotors with a light coat of oil in order to prevent rusting.
OR indoors, lay a sheet of plastic or tarp on the floor and drive the car
onto it. Concrete (gravel, dirt, etc.) allows moisture to condense on the
surface, and exposes your undercarriage to condensation.
tires on "Carpet Squares" to avoid dry rotting (Note: Some recommend putting
the car on jack- stands to avoid "flat spots" on tires. Some recommend reducing
the air pressure in the tires for the same reason OR putting the car up on
blocks to save the suspension.
- Carbureted Vehicles: open the
carb barrels and pour a 2 oz bottle of 2-Cycle Engine Oil into them (1 oz
in each). Rotate the engine by hand a few times to spread the oil around.
This will cause a smoky startup, but is worth it to prevent engine damage.
Note: this would be done BEFORE you bag up the carb and tailpipes!
- Place a plastic bag over the intake
snorkel, to seal off the intake system. Likewise, bag the tail pipes with
a zip-tied plastic bag at the rear of the pipe so no air can pass. This is
in order to prevent moist air or critters entering (and condensing) inside
the motor from either end.
moth balls (or fabric softener sheets) in the engine compartment. This will
help prevent rodents/critters from nesting or chewing the wire harness, etc.
the car even if it is being stored indoors.
the Car from Storage
- Remove the car cover
and replace the battery. Now you'll be happy you cleaned the car before storing
- Remove the plastic bags
from the intakes & tail pipes.
- Remove moth balls or
fabric softener sheets from engine compartment.
- Check tire pressure and
all fluid levels. Look for fluid spots under the car. Fluid loss during the
winter/storage usually indicates a problem unrelated to storage.
- Check for animal damage.
Owners have reported rodents gnawing through hoses, oil-lines and harnesses,
and nesting in glove compartments or on top of the throttle body during the
- With the EGI fuse removed
(so that the car will not start), crank the engine five to ten times in order
to lubricate all the internal engine parts with oil.
- Replace the EGI fuse
and start the car. Although RX-7's may start on the first try, it usually
takes several attempts, and will typically stall a few times. Do not push
it. Once started, the engine will initially lumber at a low rpm. Do not race
the engine; allow it to come up to speed by itself.
- Bring the engine up to
operating temperature, and check again for fluid losses. Now it's ready to
- Note: The brake rotors
may corrode over winter. This is not a problem. The brakes will initially
make an unpleasant noise, but the rotors smooth out after just a few miles.
Start Up Option
If possible, we personally prefer that the car
be stored somewhere that we have frequent access to it. This also allows us
the opportunity to start the car up on a regular (weekly/biweekly/monthly) basis.
This is much healthier for a rotary engine, as it prevents the internal components
from 'seizing' in place, thus avoiding the potential for blowing the engine
at the time of initial start up. We have seen several spring rebuilds resulting
from poor winter storage.
With this option there
is no need to remove the battery, bag the pipes & intakes, remove fuses
or add 2-cycle oil to the engine. However, all recommendations marked with an
are still applicable.
If starting the car on a regular basis, ensure
that the vehicle reaches operating temperature prior to shutting down the engine
and adequate ventilation.
Racing Inc. is not responsible for any adverse effects due to this or any modification/suggestion