How should I prepare my vehicle for storage?
Storing a Vehicle in a Storage Unit in 5 Steps
There are a few things you should do before storing your car in a storage unit. Review our recommended steps for car storage, less than a year in length below.
1. Perform Basic Vehicle Storage Maintenance
Before you put your vehicle into storage, do some basic maintenance to protect your investment.
- Add a fuel stabilizer to increase the longevity of the fuel in your tank for up to 12 months.Be sure to read any manufacturer specifications before adding.
- Disconnect the battery or connect it to a trickle charger. Most batteries do not store well during the winter, and all batteries discharge over time. We have power in our vehicle storage sized units (extra charge) and putting a trickle charger on the battery will save the battery and prolong its life.
- Change or top off the oil, brake fluid, and antifreeze before storing.
2. Protect your Vehicle’s Finish and Deter Pests
Many people underestimate the importance of this next step. Placing a dirty, unkempt car into storage is risky in that you could damage vehicle’s finish or attract unwanted critters. Take the time to do the following to your car before storage.
- Wash and wax your vehicle.
- Vacuum and dust the interior and apply a conditioner to any vinyl or leather surfaces. This will not only protect the material from drying out, but it can also help prevent any foul odors from developing and deter rodents and pests from taking up residence. If you plan on steam cleaning, do so far enough in advance for the interior to completely dry.
- Give the vehicle’s exterior a final wipe down once it reaches its storage location.This step eliminates any final traces of dust, debris, or salt.
- Use a cover to further protect the vehicle while in storage.
3. Tires, Brakes, Wipers
- Prevent Tires From “Flat spotting” Tires can be the first thing to cause issues when storing a vehicle for an extended period. Flat spotting occurs when a tire flattens over time due to contact with the ground. If storing a car for more than a month, consider resting the vehicle on blocks or jack stands. Do not do this if using a car lift.
- Parking Brake: Ensure the parking brake is released as this could cause the parking pads to stick to the rotors. However, if using a car lift insure your wheels are blocked.
- Wipers: Place paper between the wipers and windows to keep them from sticking.
4. Protect Your Car for Long-Term Storage
Now that your car is safely inside a storage unit consider the following bonus tips to keep your car in tip-top shape.
- Leave convertible tops up with the windows and vents closed.A convertible top can develop creases when folded for extended periods, especially in cold climates.
- If possible, start and drive the car a short distance once every couple months.Driving the vehicle helps keep all the mechanical and hydraulic parts in working order.
- If you are storing a classic car or are storing for more than a year, consult with a car specialist to determine what other steps should be taken.
5. Protect against Rodents.
Rodents in storage is unavoidable. It is best to take all precautions to keep rodents out of your car if it is going to be sitting unused for a while. Covering the exhaust pipe and air intake is recommended. You can also set traps inside of your storage unit to stop rodents before they make it to the vehicle.
6. If using a car lift.
Car lifts are dangerous. You must read and familiarize yourself with the lift operation manual and follow all directions. Our employees are not permitted to operate the lifts or assist you in its operations. If you use a car lift you absolve Low Cost Storage of any liability as per our rental agreement. You are responsible for the lifts maintenance in good condition.