Long Term Car Storage: 8 Tips for Storing your Car for 6 Months or More

Car storage

If you are putting your car in storage, you clearly care about keeping your car safe and in working order. Keeping the car safe is easy, but keeping the car in tip-top shape after long-term storage… that’s another matter. If you’re considering car storage, you need to take the proper precautions. Otherwise, you may return to rust, rodents, and various broken parts.

However, you don’t need to be a mechanic to prepare your car for storage. Earlier on the blog, we recommended keeping your car insurance during car storage. This is important, but it won’t keep the car running. Today, we will cover 8 steps that everyone considering long-term vehicle storage should take.

  1. Wash and Wax
  • Thoroughly wash all dirt and grime off every surface of the car, including the underside of the vehicle. Dirt, grease, or bird droppings will almost certainly lead to rust and ruined paint.
  • Moisture is the age-old enemy of car storage. You should hand dry the car with a soft cloth to ensure it is completely dry.
  • Apply high-quality wax to protect the paint. This is especially important for outdoor car storage.
  1. Keep a Quarter Tank of Gas
  • Having some gas in the car prevents the buildup of moisture in the engine. A full tank, though, is not necessary. It doesn’t do more to prevent moisture and may negatively affect performance when you return.
    • Over long periods of time, gas starts to evaporate and form gummy deposits. Add a high-quality fuel stabilizer to help prevent both.
  1. Protect from Rodents
  • Clean all food out of the car, even small crumbs or drink stains.
  • Block all gaps that a rodent could crawl through, like the exhaust pipe or the air intake.
  • Lay down some rat/mouse traps around the car.

Car with fitted cover for car storage

  1. Cover Up
  • A cover is a necessary item for outdoor vehicle storage, but is also handy for indoor vehicle storage. However, there are a few things to watch out for when buying a car cover.
    • Buy a cover that won’t trap moisture underneath and damage the paint. Waterproof covers can actually cause rust, so look for a cover that s marketed as “breathable.”
    • Order a custom fitted cover. If it is too big, any wind will cause it to flap and scratch the paint. One-size-fits-all is not the way to go here.

Keep the Battery Charged

  • Even if the car is off, a battery will eventually run out of charge. If you don’t want to fire up the car only to find it’s battery is dead, there are a few options.
    • Take the car for a spin every few weeks. Being turned on periodically will keep the battery charged over time.
    • Buy a trickle charger. This handy device “trickles” a bit of electricity into the battery every few minutes. It does the same job as taking the car for a drive, without the driving.
    • If you can’t do the first two options, you can unplug the battery. This method isn’t ideal, but it’s better than leaving it plugged in and dormant.
  1. Change Oil, Lube, and Filter
  • Oil will harm the engine if it sits for too long. If you plan on storing the car for 6 months or more, definitely take this precaution.
  • Changing the lube and air filter will make sure the car is ready and rearing to go when you return.
  1. Release Parking Brake
  • The parking brake will fuse with the rotor if it’s left engaged.
    • Consider using a tire block instead.
  1. Dehumidify
  • The storage area needs to be dry. If moisture collects on the car, you may return to rust and faded paint.
    • Invest in a good dehumidifier if you plan on indoor storage. This keeps the space cool and dry, the perfect climate for your vehicle.
    • The other option is to store the car in a climate controlled storage facility. This is more expensive, but is arguably more effective.

Preventing damage is always better than fixing damage. With these 8 steps, you won’t have to return to a weathered vehicle. Instead, you’ll rev the engine up, roll down the windows, and take your rust-free vehicle out on the open road.

If you are preparing for long-term storage, Albuquerque Self-Storage has the right units for you. Contact us today and find the best indoor or outdoor storage for your vehicle.