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How To Store a Car Long Term

store a car

Are you leaving the country for a while, moving to a new state, or unable to drive your car for medical reasons? If so, you’ll probably need somewhere to store your car while you plan the logistics or recover fully. Your best bet is to store it in a proper car storage unit to keep it safe for the entire period.

On the surface, storing a car seems fairly simple. All you have to do is drive, park, lock, and leave, right? Wrong! 

There’s actually a lot that goes into vehicle self-storage to ensure your car gets zero damage while it hibernates. If you’re going to store a car long-term, you’d best do it the right way.

Today we’ll be showing you how to prep your car for long-term storage by highlighting a few simple tips. Grab your pen and notebook, and let’s dive right into it.

Give the Car a Deep Clean

The first thing you want to do before you store your car for a long time is to give it a thorough cleaning. You probably won’t do it for a long time, so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t go all out. For the greatest effect, deep clean both the exterior and interior of the car.

When cleaning the car for storage, make sure to use as little soap and water as possible. That’s because any water that remains on the car for a long time will cause extensive damage. As such, you need to dry out the car completely before storing it for the long term.

Fill up the Gas Tank

It makes no sense to fill up the gas tank when the car will sit idle for months, or even years. However, filling up the gas tank is important if you want the car to remain in tip-top shape throughout its storage. 

The gas tank is likely to rust and corrode when the car remains idle for too long. This happens when moisture in the tank reacts with oxygen to create rust. Filling up the tank ensures there’s no space left in the tank for air to get in and react with moisture.

In fact, it only takes about 30 days for your gas tank to start deteriorating. A fuel stabilizer also helps keep the gas tank fresh throughout the storage period.

Get an Oil Change

If you want the engine to remain in pristine condition throughout the storage period, it’s a good idea to get an oil change. When oil stays too long in the engine, it’s likely to damage the car’s internal components. Changing the oil before storing the car will ensure the engine remains fresh and clean.

However, it’s worth noting that you must change the oil again once you take the car out of storage. The only exception is if the car uses synthetic oil. Apart from changing the oil, you should also change the oil filter and coolant for the greatest effect.

Keep the Engine Cylinder in Check

Don’t let rust creep into the engine cylinder during storage. Ensure you take out the spark plugs and spray a bit of oil into the cylinder. This should help keep the rust at bay and your engine in good shape.

You should also consider taking your car to the mechanic for a good old-fashioned engine check. Tell the mechanic that you plan to store your vehicle and be specific about the storage period. That way, the mechanic can determine the best way to keep the engine fresh during the storage period.

Overinflate the Car Tires

Before driving to the storage center, be sure to fill the tires with air. A lot of air!

When cars sit for too long without driving, they get flat spots. This happens when the tires lose their round shape and flatten where the tire touches the ground.

To avoid these flat spots, ensure you overinflate the tires to compensate for the imminent tire-flattening. This is especially true when you store your car during the winter or in cold areas. Consider storing your car in a climate-controlled storage center to sidestep flat spots on your tires.

It’s worth noting that flat spots compromise your tires’ functionality significantly. They also make your car dangerous to drive, and you’ll likely have to replace your car tires.

Keep Your Car’s Battery Safe

The battery is a critical component of your car, so remember to give it adequate protection. Remember, when your car sits idle for too long, it drains the battery. The best way to protect your battery during maintenance is to connect it to a battery maintainer.

As the name implies, a battery maintainer is a special device that helps keep the battery charged when not in use. Aside from using a battery maintainer, you can unplug the battery, take it home, and connect it to a trickle charger. Both will help protect the battery while your car is in storage.

Cover the Wiper Blades With Cling Wrap

The wiper blades are likely to stick to the windshield if they stay in the same position for too long. Wrapping them with cling wrap will help prevent them from doing so. As such, wrap all the wiper blades with cling film to prevent them from sticking to the windshield.

Another alternative is to remove the wiper blades and store them in a safe. Just be sure to wrap the wiper blades to prevent them from sticking together.

Plug the Exhaust

The exhaust is an excellent entry point for rodents and other types of vermin, including insects. These pests can wreak a lot of damage when they get into your car. Plugging the exhaust outlet ensures you keep your car safe from these pests.

Store a Car the Right Way

Now that you know how to store a car long-term, it’s time to start preparing for your car’s storage. The above tips should help you do just that.

Are you looking for a safe and secure place to store your car? Rent a self-storage unit today, and we’ll get everything set up for you.