How to Arrange Safe Long-Term Storage of Your Car

It happens sometimes that you need to leave a vehicle for a long term. For sure you wish that it is in a running order when you start using it again. Maybe you are going on business overseas for some time. Or maybe you are planning a long term vacation. No matter what the reason is, you have to arrange safe storage of the vehicle. You cannot simply leave it in a garage, as you may find it with dead battery, damaged tires or engine.

Below are some tips to ensure your vehicle runs properly when you return.

1. Don’t keep the vehicle outdoors

The best way to keep a vehicle safe is to leave it in a garage. If you don’t have it, look for a paid storage facility. There your car will be kept at relatively stable environmental conditions. If you cannot find a covered space for the car, at least use an outdoor car cover.

2. Change engine oil

Consider this tip if you won’t be running your vehicle for a month or longer. Oil should be changed because used oil can damage the engine.

3. Wash the car

Don’t overlook this step, because bird droppings and water strains damage the paint. Wax the car for extra protection.

4. Fill the tank

Follow this tip if you won’t be running your vehicle for a month or longer. With this measure moisture will not accumulate inside the tank and seals won’t dry out. Consider purchasing a fuel stabilizer for extra engine protection.

5. Keep the car battery charged

If possible, ask someone to drive the car every 2 weeks for at least fifteen minutes. This measure provides lubrication of the engine as well as other parts and maintains the car’s charge. Running the air-conditioner has benefit of keeping the parts in proper condition. If nobody can do this, disconnect the battery cable or purchase a tickle charge.

6. Use a tire stopper

Avoid using parking brake when a car is stored for long term, because they may fuse due to prolonged contact with rotors. Instead, use a tire stopper.

7. Inflate the tires

If the tires are kept not inflated to proper pressure, there may develop flat spots during the long-term storage. In worst cases, the tire will need replacement. It is more likely to happen in cold temperatures in cars with lowprofile/performance tires.

If you have someone who can drive the carregularly, it will prevent flat spots. An alternative way is to take the wheels off. The tires will be in working condition after the storage.

8. Keep rodents away

When not driven for a long time, your car becomes attractive to rodents: there are lots of things to chew on and plenty of places to hide. Keep the rodents away by covering the gaps where they can enter and place mothballsdipped in peppermint essential oil around the car. Another effective measure is to use rat poison and mousetraps. But in this case it’s better to ask someone to check the garage regularly.

9. Maintain insurance

If you cancel car insurance for the period when you are away, the insurance company may increase rates once you wish to restore it. Insurance cancellation may initially save you money, but it willcause greater expenses in the long run.

Here are steps to follow when you return and are ready to run your vehicle after the storage:

• Ensure that fluids are at the proper levels and that there are no leaks.

• Look for the signs of rodents, such as chewed pieces. If you have covered the gaps, remove the materials you used before running the vehicle.

• Ensure that there are no cracks and brittles in rubber of windshield wipers.

• Inflate the tires.

• Check the brakes.

• If you have disconnected the battery cable, connect it and don’t forget to clean the terminals.

• Wash the vehicle.

Read also: How Much is a Used Car Really Worth?