There's a lot of truth to that old '60s expression "use it or lose it," but when it comes to customized classic trucks and the wintertime, it's often best to hibernate. As easily and inexpensively (under $100) as it is to pickle a truck for the duration, it's amazing how many owners allow extensive damage to occur while their ride is on the sidelines.
In addition to being able to get in one last cruise before the weather turns bad, a good place to start is to pour in a fast flush into the radiator. As one drives, the rust and scale in the cooling system loosens up and is then flushed out when the radiator is dumped. While the engine is still relatively hot, the oil should be drained. Maybe we are just suckers for tradition, but we use products from Valvoline, a company that has been around for over 100 years. On the other hand, maybe it is because Valvoline's Max Life motor oil is formulated to condition to the engine seals and contains anti-wear additives. We felt these qualities make Max Life fit the bill perfectly for an engine that won't be started for months on end. When not in use, a neglected cooling system takes its toll on more than just the radiator. Rust and corrosion do not discriminate when it comes to eating away at metal castings.
After flushing the cooling system to the point that the water ran clear, we refilled it with phosphate-free Zerex Formula G-05. The third fluid we addressed, and often the most neglected, was the gasoline in our truck's tank. For some, the smell of stale gas is nostalgic, but for someone who has had to deal with the damaging effects of varnish, old gasoline stinks. The product we used to treat the gasoline in our truck comes in a handy container with a built-in measuring cup. Sta-Bil Fuel Stabilizer comes in an 8-ounce container that is sufficient to treat 20 gallons. Since we had only 10 gallons left in the tank, we measured off 4 ounces and poured the reddish-colored Sta-Bil in. The last two things we had to take care of before we could walk away in confidence were the tires and battery. It's a good idea to disconnect the battery on a vehicle if it's going to sit for a while, but it's an even better idea to remove it completely. We charged the battery and then stored it on a wood block. Since we had just completed a brake job on our truck, the last of our worries was the tires. We rounded up a set of worn-out rollers, threw them on, and then covered up our trusty ol' '75 with a waterproof tarp.