How to store your car long term

If you are considering storing your car long term, there are a number of helpful hints from us here at Easy Storage Rockingham, to ensure your car is kept in the best condition during storage. Here they are:

  • Change the oil and filter before storage.If your car is being stored for an extended period of time (years), talk to a mechanic about using oils without special additives.
  • Fill the fuel tank with fresh, premium fuel. This will reduce condensation in the tank. If you are storing long term, it is advisable to add a fuel stabiliser (available for lawn mowers and other seasonal yard equipment).
  • Check coolant levels are proper.
  • Inflate the tires to proper pressure.Storing for the winter in a cold climate will require different pressure levels. Over-inflation while in storage may help to prevent flat spots. Driving for the first 15km or so after storage, you may expect some thumping tires.
  • Clean and wax the car.Be sure to wash under the car to remove any dirt, especially from the wheel wells. Clean the interior extensively, being especially vigilant about all food scraps and particles which can attract small animals.
  • Remove loose mats. This will prevent them from becoming musty.
  • Consider placing a sheet of vapour barrier plastic under the car on the floor if being stored indoors.This will prevent water vapor build-up in an unheated garage, and also makes it very easy to spot fluid leaks when the car is removed from storage.
  • Open a window slightly if stored indoors. But not enough to allow small animals inside.
  • Convertibles – Put the top up.
  • Stuff a rag into the air intake and exhaust. This will prevent animals from nesting.
  • Use a battery maintainer if the car will be stored for more than a month.These are basically “smart” battery chargers that only turn on periodically.
  • Place a piece of plastic wrap on the windshield under the wiper blades. This will prevent the rubber from sticking to the glass.You can also leave the wipers in place and just wrap them with plain plastic wrap. This can be gently scrubbed from the window if it sticks. Alternatively, if your car has the windshield wiper arms that pop out and away from the windshield, you can store them in the “out” position
  • Remove the spark plugs and spray a small amount of oil into the cylinders to prevent rusting, then insert the plugs again.Do this only if you are comfortable with basic mechanics.
  • Jack up your car on axle stands. This is recommended if the car will be stored for extended periods of time and will help avoid flat spots in the tires.
  • Release the handbrake.If the brake is left on, the brake pads can stick to the rotors. Place chocks under the tires to prevent movement.
  • Cover your car when storing. Especially if it is an outside car space.
  • Place a note to yourself on the steering wheel outlining which optional steps above you carried out. (rag in exhaust, rag in intake, carpets removed, battery removed, etc). This will help you to ensure all of these steps are reversed.
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