What you need to know before putting your car in storage

If you just let your car sit without taking a few precautions, a dead battery could be the least of your worries.

Maybe you have a sports car or convertible, are going away to school for a few months, going on a long and much-needed vacation, or being deployed or doing a study abroad. Whatever your reason, sometimes your car needs to be put in storage for a while. However, if you just let your car sit without taking a few precautions, a dead battery could be the least of your worries. Here are a few things you need to know before storing your car.


Make sure the car you are storing has some sort of insurance, just in case. Also, some insurance companies require the address of where your car is being stored, if it’s somewhere other than your home address. Check with your insurance company to make sure.


Remove all personal items from the car before putting it in storage, as well as anything that will freeze or rupture from being in extreme temperatures of either cold or hot.


Clean the car, inside and out. Water stains or bird droppings will damage the paint, and dirt or moisture left on the car can cause rust or scratches. For extra protection after you wash the car, add a coat of wax.


If your car will be in storage for longer than a week or two, make sure all fluids are full and that the car has an oil change. It will keep the old oil from becoming corrosive.


You will also want to add a fuel stabilizer to your gas tank. Once the tank is about half-empty, drive it to the auto parts store—or anywhere else that sells it—and purchase the stabilizer. Then go to the gas station, pour the stabilizer in your tank as directed on the bottle, and fill the tank with fresh fuel. This will help the gas not evaporate during storage.


Put a plastic bag over the exhaust pipe and air intakes, and secure them with rubber bands to help keep pests from getting in and making nests.


Put scented dryer sheets in the trunk, on top of the tires, and inside the car. Most pests do not like the smell, and it will make your car smell fresh when you finally take it out of storage.


Disconnect the battery, and remove it from the vehicle. If your car will be in storage for a short time (1-2 months), go out every couple of weeks and charge the battery. If it will be in storage longer than that, connect a self-maintaining charger to the battery. It will charge the battery when the charge gets low and will automatically stop once the battery is fully charged.


If your car will be in storage for more than 4 months, put the car on jacks to relieve pressure on the tires. This will prevent flat spots forming on your tires. Also, do not leave the parking brake on—if the brake pads are against the rotors for too long they may fuse. Instead, use chocks on the tires.


What you do to prep your car also depends on where you plan to store it. If you are storing it in the driveway or a different outdoors location, you will want to invest in a high-quality car cover. A garage is a better option, but if you do not have one, invest in a small storage unit. It will keep your car out of the weather, safe from any falling branches, with a more stable temperature, and most, like Total Storage have security in place to keep your possessions safe.



Make a detailed list of everything you did to get your car ready for storage so you remember what to do to get your car road-worthy once again. It would not be good to forget that plastic bag in the exhaust pipe until you are a few miles down the road!

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