How to prepare your Car for a Long-term Storage

In General by Magnus SellénLeave a Comment

car storageThere moments you need to store your car for the long term when you are taking a vacation, during winter or you use alternative means of transportation.

Proper car storage keeps your car protected from weather elements and rodents.

But, how do you prep your car and prevent it from rusting when you are not using it?

Fill the gas tank

Many people would think of doing the reverse. But, the gas tank is made of metal and when not in use moisture creeps in and causes it to rust. If you plan on not using the car for some time fill it with gasoline and a stabilizer. Depending on the manufacturer’s type it is recommended to use one ounce of stabilizer with 3-5 gallons of gasoline.

In addition, to filling up the car also change the engine oil. Used up oil with thickening when not used and can cause engine problems when you try to run the car.

Identifying the right storage location

The ideal car location should be properly ventilated and devoid of moisture. It should also be sealed from rodents. Rodents cause havoc to a car’s seats and electrical components. In this regards, clean the car and ensure there are no food particles anywhere.

You can also give the exterior a good wax. Vacuum cleaning the interior ensures that there is no mold build up when you are away.

Check paperwork

If you are not going to be using your car for more than six months it is wise to ensure that all the paperwork as well. You may also need to inform your insurance agent that you will not be using the car. This keeps you protected when something happens to the car.

If you choose not to renew the insurance know it is prudent you set reminders so that you do not drive a car that is not insured when you come back.

Put the car on jack stands

Unused tires will form uneven wear. This is because the entire car’s weight is concentrated on one area of the tire. Jack stands to take off the pressure on the car’s tires. Ensure that the tires are well inflated when leaving. It is also recommended to deflate the tires to 10psi less the recommended tire pressure.

This will prevent cracking of the tires. However, newer tires are engineered to overcome flat spots and will be eliminated the moment you drive the car.

Removing the battery terminals

Battery terminals are subject to corrosion if not used for long periods of time. Removing the terminals will prevent your battery from draining and jump-starting it when you come back. You can do this simple process with pliers.

Car cover

A car cover will protect your car from moisture and thereby rust. It also keeps your car clean and free from weather elements. The car cover should completely cover the car exterior.

Lubricate car

To prevent freezing shut from developing on your doors, lubricate the hood, doors, and truck with silicone or white lithium grease for the tires and graphite based for the locks. When you return you will not have trouble opening your doors or trunk.

Regular drive

rusty car

If you are going away for months you could have someone drop in once in a while and take the car for a drive. Batteries lose charge if not used for long. Taking the car for a test drive ensures that moving parts get lubricated. While at it you can turn on the air conditioner to ensure that it is still in working condition.

You can also clean it for molds and rodents. If you do not have someone do this for you disconnect the negative battery terminal. However, this will reset the car clock and other stuff that use the battery. An alternative is to have a trickle charger. With the device, you connect one part of the terminal to the wall socket. This prevents the battery from losing charge.

Avoid using the parking brake

If you are not going to be using your car for a long time it is wise to use car stoppers instead of the parking brake. The fusing of the brake pads and rotors will occur if you keep the car parked for long. It will give you problems driving the car when you return.

Keeping rodents out

Rodents love a dump area and the garage is a favorite spot. They will find breeding spots in the car hood and trunk. The destruction done by rodents is evidenced through lose wires which can cause electrical shocks. To keep rodents out you can cover the exhaust system and the air intake places.

Peppermint is known to repel rodents. You can spray a bit on cotton balls and then put them in strategic places where rodents like to hide. For those who are a bit adventurous, you can have mouse traps spread around the garage or use rat poison.

Checklist when you come back

When you return you will need to properly check the car before taking it out for a drive. This will include inflating the tires, checking brake rotors for rust and ensuring all the engine fluids are filled up. The windshield wipers could have cracked and you will be required to replace them.

Check under the hood for any forms of rodent infestation. You will need to properly clean the car both inside and outside. When done with all these, connect the battery terminals. Pour up the engine and let the engine oil circulate through all the engine parts. Your car is now ready for a drive.

Conclusion

There those moments when you need to travel for business or leisure and will not be needing your car. Proper prep of the car will keep rodents and moisture from harming your car. Tires will need to be deflated a bit while the battery terminals disconnected.

Once you are done you should clean the car inside and outside and put a cover on. Spray some peppermint on cotton balls and strategically place in the car to keep mice and rats out.

Hello I'm Magnus, the owner and the writer of this website. I have been working with cars since I was 16 and I'm specialized with in-depth Automotive diagnostics. Also been driving drifting for the last 6 years. I'm here to give you answers to all your automotive questions and I hope that you enjoy our content.

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