Hardly anyone likes leaving a vehicle without attention for a longer period of time. But, sometimes you just don’t have a choice. It may be a short period in case you are leaving on vacation and your car has to wait. Or it can be a couple of months in case you are leaving for a job. Even having a convertible or collectible model will make you think about some kind of storage solution, if just for a season. You don’t want to just leave it in the parking lot or some improvised car storage area. What you need is to find an adequate storing solution and prepare your car for storage.
Make a plan to prepare your car for storage
There are a couple of steps you can take before storing your car. If nothing else, they will help to keep your car operative and all of its parts intact. You won’t find a dead battery upon arrival, a pile of dirt on the roof, or insects and other pests inside. Not only that, but these steps will help maintain your car in the “ready to go” condition for the moment you are back.
The first step is to find adequate storage
Choosing the adequate storage solution can depend on a couple of things. However, the most obvious is the size of your car. Another important thing is how long you plan to store it. Many storage facilities will provide you with more than one car storage option. You can choose between outdoor and indoor solutions, where both come with an open and enclosed version. In case you need the highest level of safety and protection for your car, there is a climate-controlled indoor enclosed storage. However, it comes with the highest price as well. If you are looking for a cheaper short period solution, you can go for outdoor storage with cover. But it offers the least protection from weather conditions.
Cleaning your car for storage
Before you store your car in nearby storage you should clean it thoroughly. Take some time and clean both the interior and exterior of your car.
- Cleaning the interior:
Get rid of any trash, dust, and dirt inside your car. Do a complete detailed cleaning of everything. From seats and floors to the control table and windows. If you have leather seats or any other part, you can use the leather conditioner. For plastic, you can use an anti-static disinfecting solution like a plastic conditioner. Make sure there is nothing left inside which can attract insects and other pests.
- Cleaning the exterior:
On the outside, pay close attention to the paint. Remove any stains but be careful not to damage the protective layer. Clean other metal parts below your car and check if there are traces of rust and damage. Also, don’t forget your tires and rims. Use a protective tire conditioner to prevent rotting. However, be sure that your car is completely dry before storing it.
Any water left on and inside your car can cause rust or moisture. It’s particularly bad for electrical installations in your vehicle.
Steering and suspension
Greasing the steering and suspension will be the next logical step to do. It will help you dispose of any water left after washing or heavy rains. It is a good method for protecting metal connections from sticking to each other and can prevent many other operational problems in your car.
Protect your tires to prepare your car for storage
First of all, after your tires are properly clean and properly conditioned, you will want to adjust your car’s tire pressure. This is especially important when storing your car for a longer period of time. Staying stationary for too long can cause flat spots on your tires, the rot of the material, all of which can eventually lead to replacement. Consider mounting your car on jack stands if your car needs to be in storage for more than a month. This way you will lose the high pressure on your tires and relieve the suspension from the car weight. Thus, saving your car from unnecessary wearing.
Properly handle the battery
Leaving your car for a longer period of time will eventually drain your car battery. The cells inside will degrade over time so it’s important it is not connected to any electrical device that can use it. At least not without recharging. The most common offender for this is your car stereo. However, there are a couple of solutions to this problem, and one would be to remove the battery completely. The other solution is to use the trickle charger to provide enough power to keep the circulation going. Not only your battery will be safe, but it will also be ready for you when you come back.
Check the recommendation levels of fluids
This is one of the most important steps to prepare your car for storage. The engine oil, coolant, and fuel in your car need to be at the optimal level. First, if you are storing your car over winter, the coolant is an inevitable part of your car maintenance. It will prevent the water inside your car to freeze and cause the damage. Second, with changing the oil you will “refresh” your engine and be sure it’s properly protected on the inside. Finally, your fuel tank should be full with the addition of fuel stabilizer so it won’t degrade over time.
Go to mechanic
Even though it is hard to imagine, but there are situations when you just won’t have enough time to do some of these steps. In that case, the only option you have is to drive your car to the mechanic. He can do a close inspection of your car, help with repairs, and prepare it properly for storing. Even if you are preparing your car for transportation this is a necessary step.
One additional thing, when you need to prepare your car for storage, insurance is a very important thing. Don’t cancel any ongoing car insurance you already have. Furthermore, ask your storage facility what additional insurance they provide for their storage units. You never know what can happen so it’s better to be ready for anything. It’s not so big investment considering the cost of repairing the damage.