Proper Storage Prep for Your Car

prepare car for storage

I love my car. However, I do not treat it like it is a human being. Nor do I treasure it or value more than human beings. I know many people who do such things. Being a driver is more than an identity, its unto a religion for them. They take care of their cars in the same way that some people hold birthday parties for their pets yet forget the birthday or anniversary of their spouses.

I know a guy just like that. That is why it was so surprising to learn how much he didn’t know about prepping a car before long-term storage. He just parked it in front of his garage before going on a month-long trip. When he came back, he found that a family of rats had taken up residence under his hood. He left his fuel tank empty which allowed condensation to build up in the tank and fuel line.

How to Prepare Your Car for Storage

Also, his brake pads had rusted. He had to pay $250 for new brake pads and a few hundred more dollars to take care of various other problems. It’s amazing how absentminded or reckless we can be with something we love so much. If you won’t be using your car for a month, or longer, there are many things you need to do to prepare and protect it in storage.

Extended periods of non-use can damage a car in many ways. Cars are designed and built to be driven, not to sit unused for weeks, months, or years after all.

Don’t Engage the Parking Brake

It may seem like common sense. You don’t want the car to roll away. However, if you apply the parking brake, also known as the emergency or handbrake, you can do serious damage to your brake pads. The brake pads could become stuck to the discs. Or, the brake pads and disc could be become stuck and rust over.

You’re better off placing wheel chocks or immobilizers on your wheels. You should also overinflate the tires as much as possible without damaging them. An average car weighs over a ton or more. That much idle weight on your tires will cause bald spots on the wheel treads.

Park Your Car Indoors

Not washing your car for weeks at a time, or longer can have devastating effects on the paint. If you leave it sitting unprotected by the elements, wind, dust, and sunlight can dull or fade the paint. A car left unprotected under a tree can have its paint job damaged by falling droplets of sap from a tree, or worse, bird excrement. A rainstorm may wash it, but it can also warp or rust the paint.

If you leave it outdoors, make sure to cover it with a car cover designed to cover that specific model of car. Your best bet is to park it covered indoors. Keep your garage very clean and this can also help cut down on pest infestation problems. You could store it in a professional, climate-controlled car storage garage, but that can run you $450-a-month.

Top Off the Fluids

Fill up the gas tank. This way, water won’t condensate in the gas tank or fuel lines. It might be also a good idea to add in a fuel stabilizer so that the gasoline won’t breakdown. The last thing you need is for sediment and impurities to develop in your full gas tank. Change the oil and the oil filter as well.

Make a Checklist

Remember to disconnect the batteries so they don’t corrode. Cover the air and intake valves to keep moist air out. Remove the spark plugs and oil their sockets to keep rust and moist air out. Confer with a mechanic or car expert to help you make of list of how to properly prep your car for long term storage.

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