There may come a time when you need to store your vehicle for an extended period. This can happen for a number of reasons, including international travel, a license suspension, illness or the lack of a need to drive. Storing your vehicle isn’t as simple as putting it in a lot or garage and coming back to pick it up a year later. Vehicles that sit in one place for extended periods can crack, fade, rust and otherwise begin to degrade. If the car isn’t periodically driven around, the tire rubber will begin to break down, the brakes can fail and the engine can experience a number of problems. Therefore, if you’re going to store your vehicle, knowing how to protect it can save you a great deal of money.
1. Store The Car Indoors
Your best bet for long-term storage is an indoor facility with a cool, dry air quality. Many private storage companies offer garage space, but if you’re going to be away from the car for longer than a few weeks, it’s important to find a facility that offers periodic driving services. This means that a licensed worker from the garage will take your car and drive it around every once in a while, which is very important for keeping everything operating as it should. You will have to pay a bit more for this service, but it’s crucial if you don’t have a friend or family member who is willing to do it for you.
If you absolutely have to keep your car outdoors, know that there will likely be some damage. Storing your car outside is never the best option, but if you have no other choice, a thick and well-tied tarp will help reduce damage from the elements.
2. Check Fluids Before Storing
Always flush and refill all of your important fluids before storing the car. This includes doing an oil change and putting in a fresh filter. If you leave any airspace in the fluid compartments, you will have a greater chance of rust. You can also buy a fuel stabilizer, which will prevent the breakdown of any gasoline that is sitting in your tank.
3. Take Extra Measures For Long-Term Storage
If you will be leaving the car for longer than a year, it can be helpful to remove the battery and clean all of the surrounding connections. You will also probably want to jack the car up off the ground a bit, as this takes pressure off the tires and prevents them from going flat. Completely removing the tires is also an option, but not if you want the car to be driven while you’re away. Also, consider removing the windshield wipers. If you don’t, they could be fused to the glass by the time you return.
4. Guard Against Pests
Even if you choose an indoor parking facility, you could still face an infestation. Mice and other small pests love to find warm places to sleep, including the inside of your car. You won’t be able to seal every opening, but if you cover the tailpipe, it can discourage pests from entering. Moth balls are also helpful. If you live in an area where these animals present a major problem, talk to the owner of your storage facility and check if they offer any sort of pest-control solutions.