How to Prepare Your Car for Storage

If you won’t be using your car for a long period of time (for one reason or another), you will need to keep it in a storage unit. However, prior to actually doing this, you will have to make your car ready for storage, so that when it is once again time for you to drive your car, there won’t be any nasty surprises.

If you plan to keep your car in storage for not more than six months, you will need to:

Wash and wax your vehicle. If the paint is not clean and well protected, all the contaminants and dirt left on the car will cause the paint to corrode and to turn into rust.
Top off the fluids. Full reservoirs attract less moisture because of condensation.
Change the filter and oil. With time, the oil becomes acidic and pretty much ‘eats’ your engine. On the other hand, fresh oil needs a lot longer to break down. Therefore, you will need to make sure the engine seals remain in good condition during the storage.
Both suspension and steering components need to be greased. This will keep the rubber bushings and seals in the suspension from dying out.
Remove the car battery. If it is left connected, it will deplete completely. This will even cause one or more inner cells to go bad.
Top off the fuel tank. Add fuel stabilizer too. If your tank is full, there will be no room for condensation. Also, the stabilizer keeps the gas from evaporating.
When leaving your car in the storage, do not use the parking brake. When the car sits for a long period of time with a parking brake on, the pads of the breaks tend to rust all the way down to the drum. This results in a complete seizure of the wheel. Instead of the parking brake, rather use a pair of wheel chocks. They will surely keep the car in place.

If the car is to be kept in storage for more than six months, do all of the above, with the additional:

The worst thing that could happen to a vehicle, apart from a crash, apparently, is extended sitting. Parts rust, fluids breakdown, seals dry out. To prevent these, you will need to perform occasional ‘start and drive’-s. If you won’t be in town to do it yourself, ask someone to do it for you; it is essential. Start the car, let it work a minute or two and drive it around in order for the transmission fluid to circulate and the axle to grease.
Lubricate the rubber seals and hinges. This way you will prevent the hinges from rusting and the rubber seals from dying out.
Exhaust vents need to be blocked off. This keeps both moisture and critters out.

If the vehicle is to be kept in storage over a year, do all of the above, excluding the ‘start and drive’ and also add the following:
-Remove all the fuel from the tank.
-Coat all metal parts using lithium grease in order to prevent rust.
-Remove the spark plugs and also add mystery oil to the cylinders.
-Put the vehicle on jack stands.

Putting your car “out of the game” is a terrible punishment for the vehicle itself. However, if you really need to do it, you ought to keep it safe in storage and to also do all you can so that when it is once again time to hit the road, your car won’t disappoint you.

Gregory enjoys cars and writes in a variety of topics concerning secure car storage and relocation.