Taking a trip overseas for a few months? Putting your car away for winter? Own an old classic that you don’t want to sell but aren't driving? If your car is just taking up space in your garage or driveway, store it! Letting your car sit in the sun, snow, or even a garage without any use or maintenance is extremely bad for it, but storage can help it stay up to snuff. Follow these tips to properly prep your car before and after storing it.
Before You Store It
Stuff it and make it smell – Stuff a rag in the exhaust pipe, with a few mothballs tucked inside. This prevents any small animals from setting up shop and making a new home out of your exhaust pipe.
Keep it charged – A battery maintainer trickle charges your car while it's in storage, so it will be powered up and ready to drive even after being stored for months.
Keep it lubricated – Have the spark plugs removed and use a small amount of fog oil in the cylinders. It’s good to use anti-seize lubricants on the threads as well.
It’s not an emergency – Make sure your emergency brake is not on.
Jack it up – If your car is going to be stored for a long period of time, it is better for the tires to put it on axle stands, especially if your car is a classic, vintage, or a collector.
Lock it up – Make sure the car is locked. This seems like an obvious thing to do, but it’s the simple steps that are easiest to miss, so double check!
Wrap it up – Use plastic wrap or a towel around the windshield wipers to keep the rubber from sticking to the windshield.
Crack the windows – You only need to crack them just a touch to keep some air movement. If it’s a convertible, make sure the top is up. Finally, cover the outside with a dust cover or car cover.
After You Store It
Note to self – Make a list of everything you did to your car before storing it, and don’t forget to undo it! If you have a checklist of what you did, you won't drive your car out of storage with a rag still stuffed in your exhaust pipe!
No pressure – Check your car’s tire pressure and make sure they are inflated. Your car’s tires will most likely need air after being stored for several months.
Fill-‘er-up – Make sure that your fuel tank is full of premium gas, prior to storing. Having a full tank of premium gas keeps air and moisture out of the tank. However, gasoline with ethanol can corrode the tank after sitting in the tank for a long period. Drain the fuel tank and flush the fuel lines, then fill-‘er-up.
Make sure it will run hot and cold – Check your oil and coolant levels. Even if you think your car will run just fine, you should change the oil and filters. Be sure to check the brake and steering fluids also. If your car has been sitting for long periods of time, even in a temperate area, fluids have probably congealed to some extent.
Power it up – Make sure to start the engine in a well-ventilated space and cross your fingers that the battery doesn’t need to be replaced or jumped. If you've been using a battery maintainer, you should be fine. If not, make sure to bring a friend with a car and cables along, just in case.
Wax on, wax off – Clean your car after having it kept in storage, inside and out. Make sure to wash off all that dust it may have accumulated and give it a good wax. Now it’s really ready to go!
It’s always better to store your car in a safe place, away from critters and thieves. If you are interested in storing your car at a secure location, give Sam's Storage in Fredericton a call at 506-206-0803.