There are many instances where you might want to store your vehicle for extended periods of time. For example, you may have a convertible that you only drive in the summer months. Or maybe you head down south every winter, and don’t need your minivan from November to February. Whatever the reason, you’ll need to put your car into storage. But there are a few things you should do to prepare the vehicle beforehand. After all, just leaving your car parked outside could damage the engine or kill the battery. So here are 7 tips for putting your vehicle in long-term storage. This will ensure the car is undamaged and still running upon your return.
Tip #1: Keep the vehicle covered.
The best place to store your vehicle is in a covered garage. If you don’t have a garage space in your home, consider putting it in a public storage facility. You’ll often find reasonable rates — with discounts for students and seniors too. If your car will be in storage during the colder months, we all know Canadian winters can be quite harsh. A covered unit will keep your vehicle protected from rain, wind and snow. It will also store it at a relatively stable temperature.
If you must leave your vehicle outdoors, be sure to purchase a weatherproof car cover. This will at least help to keep the car clean and dry.
Tip #2: Change the oil.
If you don’t plan on driving your car for more than a month, make sure to get an oil change beforehand. According to the experts at driving.ca, engine oil is full of contaminants that can damage your car if left sitting too long. Although they recommend changing the oil every 5,000 to 7,500
Tip #3: Fill up the gas tank.
Like an oil change, it’s important to top off the gas if you won’t be driving your car for more than a month. This will keep moisture from accumulating inside the tank and prevent the seals from drying out. Also consider purchasing fuel stabilizer, which is a cheap and effective way to fight ethanol buildup. It will also prevent corrosion and keep your fuel system clean as your car sits idle for months.
Tip #4: Wash the car’s exterior.
Before draping that car cover or moving your vehicle into the garage, be sure to take it to the car wash first. Bird poop, dirt and water stains can damage the exterior over time. Water stains can be difficult to wipe down once it’s baked on. And bird poop contains chemicals that can strip off the paint. If you’re feeling really ambitious, give your car’s interior a good vacuum and wipe-down as well. Candy wrappers, garbage and old coffee cups can cause
Tip #5: Drive the car periodically.
An unattended battery will eventually die. Drive the car for about 15 minutes every two weeks to keep the battery charged. If you’re unavailable, have a trusted friend or relative do this for you. Driving the car periodically has other benefits too. It will allow the vehicle to ‘stretch its legs’ and clear out any contaminants that may have accumulated in the engine. It will also lubricate the wheels and interior cogs that have become stiff over time. And be sure to turn on the A/C to circulate the air as well.
If it’s not possible to drive the car periodically, disconnect the negative battery cable instead. Just be warned you’ll lose your radio presets and time settings. But these things can easily be reprogrammed upon your return.
Tip #6: Don’t engage the parking brake.
Never use the parking brake when leaving your car in storage. If the brake pads are in contact with the rotors for too long, they might fuse together. This could end up becoming a costly repair that could’ve been easily avoided. You’ll want to keep the car from sliding back when in storage, so it’s best to purchase a tire stopper instead.
Tip #7: Always maintain your car insurance.
You may think you’re saving money by cancelling your car insurance for the months you won’t be driving. Although you may reduce costs in the short-term, your premiums will likely go up when you reinstate the insurance. That’s because insurance providers raise their rates if there’s a gap in coverage. Instead of cancelling, simply let the company know you will not be driving for an extended period of time. This lowers your risk of accident and may reduce your premiums overall. Feel free to shop around for better rates before putting your car in storage, but never cancel your coverage altogether.
By following these tips, your car will remain in great condition — no matter how long it stays locked away!