How to Prepare Your Car for Long-Term Storage?

February 8, 2024

Storing your vehicle for an extended period can be a daunting task. It’s not simply about parking it in a garage and throwing a cover over it. There are several important steps that you need to take to ensure that your car remains in excellent condition while in storage. In this article, we will walk you through the process of preparing your car for long-term storage.

Choosing the Right Storage

Choosing the right storage

The first and perhaps the most important step in preparing your car for long-term storage is to choose the right storage. Your storage choice will largely depend on the term of storage, the class of your vehicle, and the climate in your area.

If you’re planning on storing your car for a short term, say a few weeks, your garage could suffice. However, for longer periods, especially for high-class vehicles, you might need to consider professional car storage facilities. These facilities are equipped with climate control capabilities, which prevent humidity and temperature fluctuations that could potentially harm your car.

In regions with harsh winters, indoor storage is a must to protect your car from snow, ice, and freezing temperatures. If you can’t access indoor storage, consider investing in a high-quality weatherproof car cover.

Preparing the Vehicle Exterior

![Preparing the vehicle exterior](https://www.wikihow.com/images/thumb/3/3b/Prepare-Vehicle-Exterior.jpg

Before you store your car, it’s essential to give it a thorough cleaning. Dirt, bird droppings, or any other contaminants left on the car for a long time can damage the paint. After washing, apply a coat of wax to protect the paint and add an extra layer of protection against potential rust and decay.

Don’t forget to check your car’s undercarriage for any signs of rust or damage. If you live in a region where the roads are salted during winter, make sure to wash the undercarriage thoroughly, as the salt can cause corrosion.

Taking Care of the Engine

Taking care of the engine

The engine is the heart of your car, and taking steps to protect it during long-term storage is paramount. A good starting point is to change the oil. Used oil contains contaminants that could damage the engine.

Next, drain the cooling system and refill it with a mixture of antifreeze and water in the right proportions. This mixture will prevent the engine from freezing in the winter and corrosion in the summer.

Don’t forget to remove the battery and store it in a cool, dry place. If left in the car, the battery could corrode and damage your vehicle. Also, remember to keep it charged during the storage period.

Preparing the Interior

Preparing the interior

Similar to the exterior, the interior of your car also needs attention before long-term storage. Firstly, clean the interior thoroughly. Organic materials like food crumbs could attract pests, and a dirty interior could develop mold.

If your car has leather seats, apply a leather conditioner to prevent them from drying out. Likewise, use a protectant for vinyl or plastic surfaces to prevent them from cracking.

Lastly, to keep the interior fresh, place a few packets of desiccants to absorb moisture and prevent musty odors.

Protecting Your Car’s Tires

Protecting your car's tires

Tires are often overlooked when preparing a car for storage. However, if not properly cared for, they could develop flat spots from the weight of the car being in one position for too long.

To prevent flat spots, inflate your tires to the recommended pressure. If you’re storing your car for a very long term, consider placing it on jack stands to remove the weight off the tires.

Remember, preparing your car for long-term storage is a crucial step in maintaining its value and performance. The time you invest now will pay off when it’s time to bring your car out of storage in the future.

Maintaining the Fuel System

Maintaining the fuel system

The fuel system is another significant area that requires your attention when preparing your car for long-term storage. Leaving the fuel system unchecked can lead to clogs and other issues that may impede the smooth running of your car.

Before storing your car long-term, ensure you fill the gas tank to avoid condensation within the tank. Condensation can lead to rust, which can contaminate the fuel and damage the fuel system. A full gas tank also prevents the gas from becoming stale.

For the fuel in your tank to remain fresh throughout the storage period, consider using a fuel stabilizer. This additive can slow down the degradation of gasoline, preventing it from gumming up your engine. Remember to run your car for about 15 minutes after adding the stabilizer so it can circulate throughout the fuel system.

Furthermore, it’s crucial to check your vehicle’s fuel lines for leaks. Fuel leaks are not just hazardous; they can also lead to costly repairs. If you notice any fuel leaks, have them fixed before putting your car in storage.

Securing the Car and Regular Checks

Securing the car and regular checks

Securing your car and conducting regular checks is the final step in preparing your car for long-term storage. This step primarily ensures the safety of your car and maintains its good condition throughout the storage period.

When storing your car, avoid engaging the parking brake. Leaving the parking brake on for an extended period could cause the brake pads and rotors to fuse. Instead, use tire stoppers or chocks to prevent your car from moving.

Additionally, ensure that all the car’s windows and doors are securely closed. This step is crucial to prevent small animals from getting into your car and causing damage. However, if you’re storing your car in a humid environment, you might consider leaving the windows slightly open to prevent moisture buildup.

Even when your car is in storage, it’s beneficial to start and run it for about 15 minutes every two weeks. This practice helps to lubricate the engine and circulate the battery fluid. If this is not possible, consider requesting a friend or a car storage facility to do it for you.

Conclusion

Conclusion

Storing your car for an extended period requires more than just parking and covering it. From choosing the right car storage to preparing the exterior and interior, maintaining the engine and fuel system, protecting the tires, and securing the car, each step plays a significant role in ensuring that your car remains in optimal condition throughout the storage period. By adhering to these steps, you’re not only protecting your investment but also ensuring your vehicle will be ready to hit the road when needed. So, take your time to follow each storage step carefully – it’s worth it in the end.