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Preparing for Long Term Car Storage

15th May 2015

If you are facing circumstances that will require you to store your vehicle for a long period of time, there are several steps to preparing your vehicle.  Long term inactivity can seriously affect a car’s performance, engine, interior, and exterior, making that beauty you put into storage several months ago turn into something that is no longer drivable.  Inactivity can lead to engine issues, useless tires, and perhaps even unwanted critters taking up residence.  These steps will help you prepare for long term car storage, so you know your car will come back to you in the same condition it was when you left it.

Cleaning

While it may seem silly to clean a car that no one is going to see, it is a necessary part of long term storage.  Road grime, bird droppings, and other contaminants that are allowed to sit on the car’s paint will cause damage and discoloration after a long period of time.  Make sure to clean the undercarriage and wheels as well to make sure to remove the heavy buildups that occur in these areas.

You will also need o clean the interior surfaces of the vehicle to make sure that the dust and debris do not lead to staining or drying out of the upholstery.  For complete protection, make sure to wax the exterior, and use a protectant on all interior surfaces.

Oil Changes

If you plan on using long term car storage for more than a few weeks, you should change the oil right before putting the car in storage.  Used engine oil is filled with contaminants that cause extensive damage to components that are left to sit in them.  Try to complete the oil change as close to storage time as possible to minimize the amount of contaminants that are allowed to build up.

Fill it Up

Contrary to popular belief, it is much better for your car if you store it with a full tank of gas.  A full tank will ensure that the seals do not dry out, and will prevent moisture inside the tank.  You will need to add a fuel stabilizer to help prevent evaporation and deterioration as well.

Charging

Ideally, you should make sure that someone is available to start the engine, and drive the vehicle for around 15 minutes every two or three weeks.  This will make sure that the battery stays charged, and will also help make sure that all seals and components remain lubricated.  If this is not possible, you have two options for your battery.  You can disconnect it from the vehicle so that it does not go dead, or you can use a trickle charger.  Disconnecting the battery may mean you will have to reset everything, whereas the charger will keep everything ready for you when you get back.

Long term car storage can be hard on a vehicle, but if you take the proper steps, your car will be in great condition when you pick it up.