Whether you are storing your car for the season or for much longer, proper preparation is key to making sure the vehicle comes out of storage in just as good of condition as the day it went in. The following checklist can help you properly prepare your car for storage.
#1: Choose your storage facility
The best facility option is one that has climate-controlled indoor storage. Climate controlled means your car won't be subjected to any extreme temperatures or humidity while it is in storage. Outdoor storage should only be considered if you are only storing the car for a few days to a couple of weeks.
#2: Clean out the inside thoroughly
Crumbs and even skin oils can attract pests to your car. You don't want to come back to the vehicle to find that a rodent has built a nest in your glove box because you forgot to remove a bag of chips, for example. Vacuum the car and wipe down all hard surfaces. It's also a good idea to shampoo the carpets and upholstery, since food residue could have soaked into the fabric.
#3: Wash the exterior
Don't leave gritty dirt on the exterior, since this just increases the chances of scratches and abrasions. Plus, some debris, like bird droppings, can eat away at the paint if it isn't clean off properly. Wash the car and apply a protective coat of wax to ensure it comes out of storage looking good.
#4: Invest in a car cover
A fabric car cover is breathable so it won't trap moisture, but it will keep dirt off your car. A covered car is also less likely to get scratches while it is in storage.
#5: Get an oil change
Change your oil before you store the car. You don't want dirty oil and sludge gunking up the internal workings of your engine.
#6: Use a fuel stabilizer
Never store a car with an empty gas tank. Fill the tank at least half full and add a fuel stabilizer. The stabilizer prevents the fuel from degrading while it is in storage.
#7: Use jack stands to save your tires
Tires can develop flat spots if the car sits in one position too long. You can put the car on stands that elevate it just an inch or so. The stands keep the weight off the tires.
#8: Protect Your battery
Check your battery fluid levels, if applicable, and then disconnect the battery for storage. This prolongs the battery life and prevents electrical malfunctions in storage. You may need to recharge the battery when you take the car out of storage.
#9: Check on the vehicle periodically
Finally, check on your car at least once a month. Take a moment to start it and even drive it around the block for 15 to 30 minutes, if possible. Running the engine will prevent the seals from drying out.
For more help, contact a vehicle storage facility in your area.