If you are going away for a long time, or you have a much-loved classic car or convertible that you only drive during the summer, you may be wondering how to keep your car safe and secure while it is not in use.
Leaving an unused car parked out on the street for months at a time is a bad idea. Not only do you run the risk of your car being stolen or vandalized, the weather can take its toll on your precious vehicle. When you return to your car, you may find that the battery is dead, the engine has seized up or sprung a leak, the tyres have gone flat or you have animals nesting inside the car. All of those things can be prevented with proper care and storage.
Taking Care of Your Car
Before you put your car into storage, wash it and give it a good coat of wax. This simple preventative step will protect the body of the car from rust, and offers the added bonus of ensuring that you look over every inch of the vehicle before putting it in storage. If you spot any problems with the car when you clean it, fix them immediately.
Change the oil
If you will be storing the car for more than one month, be sure to change the oil. Car manufacturers recommend that you put fresh oil into a car before storing it for any length of time because used engine oil contains contaminants which may seriously damage your engine.
Empty the fuel tank
To prevent moisture from building up inside your fuel tank, make sure the tank is completely full before putting your car into storage. If you know that the car will be left for more than 30 days, add some fuel stabilizer to tank. The stabilizer will stop the gas from deteriorating and keep your engine healthy for up to one year.
Protect the battery
Car batteries lose charge even when they are not in use. The best way to keep a car battery healthy is to use it for a few minutes every two weeks. If you cannot do this, then you should disconnect the negative cable on the battery. This does mean that your car alarm will not work, and your radio will lose its settings, but that is a small price to pay for a healthy battery.
Take a look at the tyres
Check the pressure of your car tyres before storing your car, and re-inflate the tyres if necessary. If you know that the car will be left for a long time, or you have high-performance tyres, consider removing the tyres and putting your car up on blocks. Performance tyres are more prone to developing flat spots than normal tyres, so it is worth going to some extra effort to protect them.
Look after the breaks
When you park your car in the storage lot, do not engage the parking break. Instead, use a tyre stopper to hold the car in place. This will prevent the brake pads from fusing with the rotors.
Taking Your Car Out Of Storage
Putting your car in an enclosed storage facility will keep it in good condition, and ensure that it is ready to drive when you return. Before you start your car and drive it out of the facility, check that the rubber on your windscreen wipers has not dried out, and re-inflate your tyres. You should also check the engine and the brakes. If the car has been stored properly then a slow, gentle drive will get fluids moving in the engine again and your car will run as well as it did before you put it into storage.