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Boxster Winter Prep 2014

The RainyDayInterns have been putting off “winterizing” the Boxster until the very last possible moment…and who can blame them? According to the interns, with the top down and the Covercraft cover on, the convertible passes for quite the hammock! Still, Winter is coming and nobody wants to be outside in the freezing cold washing brake dust off the Summer tires. So when a 50º day appeared, they took the opportunity to swap out the Hankook Ventus Summer tires for the Firestone Winterforce snow tires, check the front and rear rotors/pads, and put on the recently repaired hardtop.

By having the RainyDayInterns do all our Winterizing/Summerizing work every year, we save a good bit on labor charges. We put those savings toward getting some new/cool tools for the RainyDayGarage, such as a good jack and a portable air pump.

A good sturdy jack makes it easy to lift the car. We have an all aluminum racing jack with a 3-ton lifting capacity. The lower profile of a “racing” jack makes it easy to get the jack under the car. A “racing” jack is designed such that only a few strokes of the handle are all that is needed to lift the wheel off the ground.

To check tire pressure and inflate them to the recommended level, we rely on Clore Automotives portable JNCAir. This unit is what the towing companies use when they have to go out to rescue stranded motorists. The RainyDayGarage folks use it because the battery is powerful. It will jump start a car, inflate tires quickly, and does not require running an extension cord out to the car.

With the top down for five months, the interior of the convertible takes as much of a beating as the soft top. We like to clean and protect the canvas top and the various leather surfaces (dash, door panels, arm rests, etc) before putting on the hard top. Here are some of the products we have trusted with that task:

The Hankook Ventus V12 Evo tires have made it through three New England Summers. Over that time, we have put about 11,000 miles on them and can report that they have performed extremely well. They were “grippy” in both wet and dry conditions, quiet at the highway speed, and have fared well in coping with Boston’s less-than-manicured streets.

Having two sets of rims is quite the luxury, but not having the hassle of bringing the tires to the shop and paying to have them swapped/rebalanced twice a year is well worth the cost. Not only is there a savings on time, but it also eliminates the worry of the rims getting scratched up buy someone being careless with the job. For all those who do decide to get a second set of rims, get youself some Kurgo Tire Totes. It will make carrying the tires to and from the car a much cleaner and easier task.

The Summer tires are rock hard once the temperature drops under 45º. At that temperature, they are fairly useless in trying to get the car in motion and less than useless when trying to bring a car to a stop. While it may be sad to see the Firestone WinterForce tires go on, it is better to be able to get up a hill and, better still, be able to stop when getting to the bottom of it.

We always like to give a “once over” of the car before Winter. We tend to be a little more careful in the Fall check than then Spring one. Mostly because having to work on the car when it is crappy outside is not much fun. Our mandatory state annual car inspection used to be in January. Every once in a while, the inspection would reveal some items which must be fixed before the car can pass. We quickly realized that Winter was a silly time to have the car scheduled for this check. If we wanted to do the fix ourselves, it was not practical (cold, snow on the ground, etc). If we had to be without our car, it was not convenient (cold, snow on the ground, etc). So, gradually, we shifted the mandatory inspection date to July. Now, coupled with the state inspection, we have three opportunities annually to do a check on the general health of the car.

Rotors and pads still look pretty good. Of course, the next time we do the rotors, we’ll remember to get the ones with painted hubs. Hey, we know we can’t see them, but we also know they are rusty.

The OEM bolts which came with the car rusted pretty quickly. We remembered being surprised that it would happen for a Porsche item. This was why we replaced them with chrome bolts over a decade ago. For the minimal amount of attention we have paid them over the years (wiping them clean twice a year), they have held up extremely nicely. We probably should clean them more often, but even we aren’t that obsessive-compulsive:-)

We had some problems with the hardtop after last season. One of the techs at a local repair shop snapped the cotter pin on one of the levers during some work they had down in the Winter, but did not tell us about it. We discovered the little “surprise” when we tried to remove the top in the Spring. However, we managed to fix it ourselves without it turning into a “thing.” While we are pretty sure our repair will hold, time will tell.

With the hardtop on, the Boxster feels like a whole different car! The interior is quieter, warmer, and being able to see out the back is always a bonus (the plastic window of the soft top is not very clear). The car is now physically ready for Winter, even if we are mentally not.

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