If you need to store your vehicle for a long period of time, it is important to take the necessary precautions to ensure its structural and operational integrity.There are endless reasons why you might need to store your car for a long period of time. Whether you are planning to jet set around the world for a few months, or honorably accepting an overseas job promotion, vehicular storage practices remain the same. Storing a vehicle is not like storing your favorite baseball cards or luggage equipment. It’s a valuable mechanical machine that requires special care and attention to ensure it remains in optimal condition during its hiatus. Continue reading to learn what you should do to prepare your vehicle for storage.
What’s at Stake
Your vehicle is a valuable investment, and one that deserves preservation. If you do not store your car or truck properly, even for just a few months, it can reap a wide range of frustrating and costly consequences. Not only are you likely to return to a dead battery, you might also come across endless spider webs, rust, paint discoloration, ruined tires, engine damage, electrical issues, and even a rats nest under the hood. Fortunately, with proper care all of these possibilities are preventable.
Here’s how to take good care of your vehicle while it’s in storage:
✔ Cover It
Whether in a garage or under a thick tarp, keeping your car covered is a major part of preserving it during storage. Coverage keeps the temperature regulated, which keeps systems in good condition. It also prevents discoloration and bubbling of paint from sun overexposure, protects it from outdoor elements and inclement weather, and much more. It is best to store a vehicle in a garage or shed, but if you cannot do this, at least use a weatherproof vehicle cover tarp that is designed for outdoor storage.
✔ Clean It
Although it can seem a little counterproductive, it is a good idea to clean your car before you store it for a long period of time. Even if you are only storing it for a few weeks, cleaning both the interior and exterior can go a long way in terms of vehicular preservation and protection. If you leave dirt and grime on your car without cleaning it off, it can damage the paint. Things like bird droppings, mud, sand, grease, and sap, should be removed thoroughly from the exterior of the car, as well as the undercarriage, wheels, and fender. To complete the process, give your car a good waxing for ultimate protection.
✔ Charge It
To preserve the car battery, use a battery tender (also known as a trickle charger) while it is in storage. You will need access to a wall outlet for this option. If you do not want to purchase this device, enlist someone to start your car engine every 2 weeks. Have them run the air conditioner and drive around the block a few times too. If neither options are possible, you can disconnect the negative car battery cable. This, however, will likely cause you to lose any stereo presets and clock settings, and possibly a few other settings.
✔ Service It
If you are storing your car for longer than one month, you need to have it serviced beforehand. Fluid changes are very important, especially the oil. Be sure to also get other essential car fluids changed, including transmission, radiator, brake, and more. After you have it serviced, go the gas station and top off the fuel tank. Having a full tank of gas is important for a few reasons. Not only does it prevent moisture buildup inside the fuel tank, it keeps the seals from drying out. You can go a step further and use a fuel stabilizer too. This can help to prevent ethanol accumulation and protect the engine from tar, corrosion, and oxidation.
A Few Other Storage Tips:
⚙ Do not use the parking brake. Use a tire stopper, or chock, instead.
⚙ Inflate your tires to the proper tire pressure.
⚙ For very long storage, remove the wheels and keep the car on four jacks.
⚙ Place rodent traps and bowls of moth balls around your vehicle.
⚙ Keep your car insured.