We’ve prepared a checklist for getting your car ready for your storage unit so it remains safe and secure.
If you’re storing your car in a storage unit for vehicles, there is a good chance you care a good deal about it. Whether it’s an older vehicle that you don’t drive often, a classic car that you don’t want damaged, or a gift that you intend to pass on to a college grad, you want to make sure it’s safe and taken care of. A lot of that depends on how you prepare your car for storage.
How to Prepare a Vehicle for Storage
Good preparation requires attention to detail. Every piece of your vehicle needs to be checked and prepared for storage, so here is a list of 12 steps that you can use to make sure you’ve covered all the details:
- Check the paperwork. Find our insurance, title and license and make sure that they are all up to date. You may also want to find out if your insurance covers cars damage that could occur during storage.
- Don’t put it in there dirty. Any dust and grime already on the vehicle will only attract more as it sits in storage. Either clean it yourself, or get it cleaned by professionals. Either way, make sure the vehicle gets a good wash and wax on the exterior, even going down to the tires and he undercarriage. The wax on the car will fight corrosion as it sits in your storage unit.
- After you clean the outside, move to the inside. You don’t want any little bits of things to sit and mold or decay, or even attract other living things that can’t possibly pay you back for any damage they do. Remove all garbage, vacuum every inch and crevice, and remove anything that may be in the trunk. And if you have leather seats you should condition them before placing the car in storage. This will al help your car look, feel and maybe even smell nice when you take it back out.
- Just before placing the vehicle in storage, change the oil and filter. Do this the week you plan to put the car away, and try to do as little driving as possible. Letting a dirty filter and old oil sit in the car for long periods of time can cause unwelcome engine damage.
- Give your car one last drink of gas. Fill the gas tank up all the way, which will help keep out any unwanted air or moisture. You should also add a fuel stabilizer to help the gas in the tank maintain its integrity and not break down while it sits in storage.
- Batteries can be tricky. Each vehicle is different in battery type and set up. The first thing you should do is check your owner’s manual to see what it says about storing your battery. If it says something different than we do, then go with the manual. If it says nothing,then we know of two ways you can take care of those batteries. One, remove the battery and clean it with water and baking soda, then give it a good rinse using distilled water. Once you’ve dried it off completely, store it in a cool, dry place. Two, you can leave the battery in the car and connect it to a trickle charger so that it doesn’t sit too long without a charge. Either way, be sure to do something about your battery before placing your car in storage.
- Sometimes little critters find their way into storage units. This seems to be enjoyable for them, so they like to just keep finding their way into more things. You will want to thoroughly seal any openings to prevent the curiosity of our tiny friends. Close all windows and vents. Use plastic bags and rubber bands to cover any opening in the engine. Tape down a towel or blanket along the opening between your hood and windshield. Stuff some steel wool in your exhaust pipe, and cover it with a plastic bag and some tape. There are many different openings, and many ways to cover them. For a more exhaustive list, check out this blog post on winterizing your car.
- Depressing the clutch can also help keep your vehicle in good condition, if you plan to keep your vehicle in storage for long periods of time. The plates of your clutch can stick together if left that way for long. Finding a pipe or stick to wedge between the pedal and your seat frame can help prevent the sticking.
- Your tires may need some extra attention as well. Sitting for long periods of time in one spot can cause the tires to develop flat spots. One way to prevent his is by over-inflating the tires. A safer way, however, is to remove the tires and store them with the car. It’s a little extra work, but it could save you from replacing a whole set of tires.
- Moisture will always be an issue. But to further your chances of avoiding moisture problems, try parking your vehicle on a plastic tarp. This will place another layer of protection between your car and the concrete (which can easily attract moisture).
- Before shutting the door on your storage unit, cover your car. A nice, cotton flannel cover will be gentle on the exterior of the car, and allow it to breathe. If you place something like plastic over the car, it won’t be able to breathe and will trap in moisture, causing damage to your vehicle. With all of the other steps, and the addition of this cover, you should open your unit to find a nice, clean car that looks almost as good as it did when you put it in the unit.
- The last step to keeping your car in optimum shape while storing it is to go back and check on it. If you plan to leave it in the unit for a long time, then you will probably want to open up the unit and give the car a once-over every month.
Following all of these steps and taking extreme caution to pay attention to detail, will help your vehicle withstand whatever storage needs you have. When you return to your car to take it out of storage, it should be ready for you to get rolling again. All you will need to do is open the windows to air it out, check all of your fluids, take care of the battery and tires, remove all of the coverings, and you should be ready to go.
Need Assistance with Placing Your Vehicle in Self Storage?
These tips are from our self storage experts, and we’re happy to offer our assistance for anything else you might need to know about storing your vehicle or choosing a secure storage facility in Dallas, TX. Don’t hesitate to contact us for more helpful tips on vehicle storage or to reserve a unit to keep the car you care about safe.