How to Store Your Cars: A Comprehensive Guide

If you own a classic, antique, or vintage car, you may want to consider storing it in a storage unit. This is especially true if you use it only occasionally or keep it for sentimental reasons. Proper storage can help extend the life of your vehicle, keep it in top condition, and protect it from nature's elements, theft, and vandalism.
In this comprehensive guide, we will show you how to prepare your car for storage and what supplies you need. We will also provide you with a checklist of things to do before storing your vehicle.
Choosing the Right Storage Unit
Before storing your car, make sure to choose an enclosed, climate-controlled storage unit that is in close proximity to your home. A damp storage unit can cause rust damage to your vehicle, which can greatly depreciate its value. An enclosed storage unit will also protect your car from the possibility of being hit by another vehicle.
Supplies You Will Need
Gather the tools and supplies that you may need before you get started. Some supplies you will need to have handy are various quality cleaners and protectants, a tire gauge, plastic drop cloth, cotton cloth, mothballs, and mouse traps. Other items you will need are plastic bags, duct tape, fuel stabilizer, WD40, desiccant sacs, jack and jack stands, and a large wood block for the battery and thin wood trim pieces for under the windshield wipers. Make sure that you have adequate amounts of each type of fluid on hand to top off all of your fluids.
Preparing Your Car for Storage
  • Clean your car thoroughly both inside and out. Wash the exterior and use a buffer over the entire exterior of the car to buff out all imperfections and apply a good coat of wax. This will protect the exterior from corrosion. Wipe the mirrors clean to prevent rust and corrosion.
  • Remove all trash and debris from the interior of the car. Vacuum it thoroughly to remove all pet hair and food crumbs. Use a stain remover to scrub away any and all stains from the carpet and upholstery. Use an air freshener spray to remove all odors from the inside of your car. Remove all items from the trunk of your car and don't neglect to properly clean the carpet in the trunk area as well.
  • Repairs that may be needed should be done prior to placing your car in storage to prevent further deterioration.
  • Change the oil and filter one to two days before putting it into storage. Used oil contains acids, moisture, and other combustion byproducts that will cause engine corrosion over time, especially when the car sits for long periods.
  • Drive your car for several miles after the oil change and before storing it to allow the oil to circulate throughout the entire engine.
  • Pull the spark plugs and add about a teaspoon of engine oil inside each cylinder. Replace the spark plugs. Doing this will coat the inside of the cylinders to prevent rust.
  • Seal off all engine openings using absorbent cotton cloth. This will absorb any moisture to protect the engine. It will also deter bugs and mice from getting inside. Use cotton cloth to fill other openings in the exhaust pipes and other openings. Be sure to write this down on your maintenance checklist to remind yourself to remove the cotton cloth when taking your car out of storage, prior to driving it again.
  • Spray the exposed metal surfaces of your engine with a good lubricant such as WD40 to prevent rust. The WD40 will quickly evaporate, causing a protectant film to cover the carb body, hose clamps, coils, and other parts.
  • Fill the gas tank to prevent moisture and air from getting into your tank. However, if storing in a poorly ventilated area, it may be best to keep the gas tank only partially full to prevent the buildup of harmful fumes.
  • Battery Maintenance:If you plan to store your vehicle for an extended period, it's important to take care of your battery to ensure it will still work when you're ready to use your vehicle again. You can either remove the battery and store it separately, or keep it connected to a battery maintainer or trickle charger to prevent it from losing charge.
  • Tire Pressure: Make sure your tires are inflated to the recommended pressure before storing your vehicle. This will help prevent flat spots from forming on your tires while your vehicle is stationary for an extended period. You can also place your vehicle on jack stands to take the weight off your tires.
  • Cover Your Vehicle: Cover your vehicle with a breathable car cover to protect it from dust, dirt, and moisture. Make sure the cover is made of breathable materials to prevent mold and mildew from forming.
  • Periodically start the vehicle and let it run for a few minutes to circulate the fluids and keep the engine lubricated. This will help prevent mechanical issues from developing while the vehicle is in storage.
  • Check with your insurance company to see if they offer any discounts for vehicles that are stored off the road. Some insurers offer storage coverage options that can save you money on your premium while your vehicle is in storage.

In conclusion, properly storing your vehicle is crucial to keeping it in good condition and avoiding costly repairs down the road. By following these tips, you can ensure that your vehicle stays in top shape while it's in storage and is ready to hit the road when you're ready to take it out. Remember, a little bit of effort now can save you a lot of hassle and money in the future.
The advice on this website is provided as a courtesy for informational purposes only.