There are several reasons why a person may want to store their car for a longer period of time. You could need to store that classic convertible for the long winter so it’s ready to cruise the road next summer, or you could be leaving town for an extended period of time.
No matter the reason you have for needing long-term storage for your car, it’s better to store it properly than simply leaving it sit out in the driveway or street. There are ways to get the most out of that storage and help assure you that your car will be ready for you to take out on the road when you do bring it back out of storage later.
Let’s go over some car storage tips as you get your car prepped and ready for that long winter’s nap:
Keep it Covered
The ideal option is to keep your car stored in a garage or other structure. This will protect the car from the elements and keep it at a relatively stable temperature. If your garage is holding other cars, acting as a storage space for other stuff, or you don’t have access to a garage, you can use rented storage to accommodate your car storage needs at an inexpensive price. These storage containers act as a garage of sorts and can hold your car if you rent the correct size.
If these options don’t work, and your only option is to store it outdoors, you should consider purchasing a waterproof cover. This will help keep the car clean and dry as it sits through the winter elements. It’s also a good idea to use a cover on your car, even if you do have it stored in a garage or storage unit. The cover can help repel dust and other debris that may get on your car or under the hood.
Clean it Up
Before you roll that car into storage and cover it up, it’s a good idea to give the car a good scrub. This may seem like a waste of time, but it’s a simple step that should never be overlooked.
Things like water stains, bird droppings, or other grime could lead to paint damage if it's left while the car is in storage. As you clean the car, make sure you wash the undercarriage and wheels. This gets rid of the grease, mud, salt, and other road waste that has accumulated on your car.
Once you have cleaned the car top to bottom, also consider giving it a fresh coat of wax as added protection as it sits in storage.
Change the Fluids
If you’re storing the car for more than 30 days, you will want to make sure that your oil has been recently changed. This is also a good time to check all other fluids and make sure that they are topped of as well.
This also includes topping off the gas tank. Keeping the gas tank full will help prevent water moisture from accumulating in the fuel tank and will help keep the seals from drying out. You can also purchase a stabilizer to prevent ethanol buildup and protect the engine from varnish and rust.
Check the Tires
Make sure your tires are in good condition and aired up to the correct tire pressure. This will help prevent your tires from going flat while the car is in storage.
You can also consider taking the wheels off of the car and putting it up onto jack stands at the four corners. This takes a bit more work, but your tires will be in much better shape when you return. This is a decision that is up to you and based on how long your car will be stored.
Keep Critters Out
A garage will keep your car dry and warm, but this warmth also makes the location a welcome spot for rodents and other creatures to hide. To prevent this from affecting your car, you can cover any open gaps where rodents could enter, such as your air intake or exhaust pipe. Just make sure to remember to remove these covers when you go to drive it again!
You can spread mothballs or cotton swabs with peppermint oil around the car, as these scents drive rodents and other pests away. You can also set a few mousetraps around your car in case one does try and get into it.
You may think that since your car is in storage, there’s no reason for you to keep the insurance current. It may seem like a great idea to cancel that payment and save some money for a few months, but there’s a chance that the insurance company could raise your rate due to the gap between coverage.
Your best bet is to call your insurance company and talk with them about your plans for the car storage, and see what they suggest as far as your insurance coverage goes.
While there is more you can do as you get your car ready for long-term storage, these are just a few basic ideas that can help you get the wheels rolling on prepping your vehicle. You know your car and what it needs best. Take the time to do car storage correctly, so it’s road-ready when you pull that cover off next summer!
If you want more storage tips from Porta-Stor, check out our other blogs, such as this one that goes over the best ways to store shoes!