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Preparing Your Car for Long-Term Storage: A Step-by-Step Guide

So, you’ve decided to put your car into storage. Whether you’re traveling, protecting a classic, or simply not using your vehicle for the foreseeable future, ensuring that it is stored properly and securely is paramount. Here’s a comprehensive step-by-step guide to prep your car for its hibernation.

car in parking space

Photo by vai_jcw F56 on Unsplash

Checklist to Prep Your Car for Long-Term Storage

1. Find the Right Storage Facility

Opt for a facility that offers security features that kind provide peace of mind. Look for 24/7 surveillance and gated access to the facility to guarantee your vehicle’s protection against potential threats. Additionally, consider facilities that offer easy access and are located in low flood-risk areas.

2. Clean the Car Inside and Out

A thorough wash and wax will prevent any buildup or contaminants from damaging the paint. Wipe down, vacuum, and sanitize the interior of the vehicle to avoid any unpleasant smells or mold from food particles. This will also help prevent critters from making your car their home.

3. Change the Oil

If you’re storing the car for longer than 30 days, consider changing the oil. Used oil can contain contaminants and acids that can corrode engine parts over time. Fresh oil ensures that your engine is coated with a clean, protective layer—minimizing the risk of damage and ensuring optimal performance when you need to drive your car again.

4. Top Off All Fluids

Check the coolant, brake fluid, and even the windshield washer fluid. This ensures that all systems are hydrated. These efforts will prevent rust and corrosion.

5. Fill the Gas Tank

Along the same lines as #4, a full gas tank prevents moisture from accumulating inside the fuel tank and keeps the seals from drying out. Using a fuel stabilizer in conjunction with a full tank can further prevent the gasoline from breaking down and protect the engine from gum, varnish, rust, and corrosion.

6. Protect the Battery

For very long-term storage periods, consider disconnecting the battery to prevent it from draining. Alternatively, you can hook it up to a battery maintainer or trickle charger.

7. Protect Your Tires

Inflate your tires to the recommended pressure. If storing for a long time, you might consider getting the car off its tires using jack stands to prevent flat spots.

8. Seal the Car

Consider using a car cover that’s suitable for long-term storage to protect against dust and pests. For added protection, you can seal the exhaust and air intake with steel wool to prevent pests—but remember to remove it before starting your car!

9. Do Not Use the Parking Brake

Instead of using the parking brake, which can cause the brake pads to fuse with the rotors over time, use tire stoppers or chocks to prevent movement.

10. Regularly Check on Your Car

If possible, visit your car every few weeks. Run the engine for a few minutes, and if the storage duration extends, consider a short drive. This will circulate the fluids and keep the battery charged.

Remember, the time you invest in preparing your car for long-term storage will save you from potential costly repairs and maintenance when you’re ready to drive again. Properly stored, your car will be ready to hit the road whenever you are!

Secure Your Car Storage with Cool Spring Storage Center

Looking to store your car close to your Milton, DE, home or business? Cool Spring Storage Center is a trusted name in the area for all things self storage. Check out our available storage spaces online, and rent yours in just a few minutes with the help of our storage resources, like a storage calculator to approximate which storage unit size you need to hold a specific load or our self storage tips that can guide you through the entire packing process.

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Katie Mest

About the Author: Katie Mest is an SEO Specialist at Storage Asset Management in York, PA. She specializes in writing about the self storage industry, including storage tips and helpful resources. Outside of work, Katie enjoys camping, hiking, and exploring the outdoors with her newly adopted Greyhound rescue, Titan.