Tips and Tools:
No one wants a bunch of cars parked in the backyard! Whether you own a classic or antique car that must be protected or a seldom-used car that you just want to get off the street, putting your little-used car into storage keeps it safe and out of the way. You don’t have to worry about theft or by it getting hit by another car, and when you put it in a covered unit, you protect it from hail, wind and flood damage.
Make sure to contact your car insurance company before storing your car. It is likely that you will qualify for less expensive insurance rates if you are not actively driving the car.
Before placing the car in storage, make sure to prepare it properly. Start by gathering your supplies: you’ll need to have a tire gauge, drop cloth, cotton cleaning cloths, WD40, and your jack and jack stands handy. Also make sure you have a wood block for the battery, if you need one. You’ll need to top off your fluids, so make sure all of the fluids your car needs, from oil to windshield washing fluid, are on hand.
- Clean the car. Wash and buff the exterior. Clean all mirrors and windows carefully. Then clean and vacuum the inside thoroughly. Make sure no food is left anywhere inside the car. You don’t want to attract rodents or insects. Check the trunk. It should be cleaned and vacuumed as well.
- Make sure all repairs are made to your car before it goes into storage.
- Change the oil and filter before you put the car in storage. It is very important to make sure that your car’s oil is clean. Used oil contains byproducts that can cause engine corrosion when the car isn’t driven for long periods of time. Once you change the oil, drive the car and allow the oil to circulate through the engine.
- As your storage facility owner if it is okay to fill the gas tank. If so, completely fill the tank with gas. This will prevent moisture from entering the tank. Once gas is in the tank, add a fuel stabilizer and drive the car just long enough to allow the fuel stabilizer to circulate through the car.
- Check all fluids: transmission, brake, steering, and engine coolant. All fluids should be clear. If they are brown, they are dirty. Flush and replace dirty fluids. Top off clean fluids.
- Have your tires checked for leaks and rotate them. Once tires have been checked, overinflate them to 37 or 38 psi.
- Spray all exposed metal surfaces of the engine with a lubricant. This will help prevent rust.
- Replace any broken hoses.
- Remove the spark plugs and coat the inside of the cylinders with engine oil before replacing them. This will also prevent rust.
- Seal off engine openings with the cotton cloth. This protects the engine from rust, but it also keeps bugs and mice from getting inside.
- Check your owner’s manual for battery care instructions and follow them. If the owner’s manual suggests that you remove the battery, place it on a wooden block. If your car has a storage switch, flip it on. This will keep your battery from draining.
- Keep bugs and mice out of your car by closing all windows and vents. If you have a convertible, raise the top. Place a plastic bag over the exhaust pipe and seal it with duct tape. Place moth balls around the car and mouse traps near it.
- Remove windshield wiper blades.
- Park the car on a plastic tarp or on jacks. Make sure the emergency brake is off.
- Cover your car with a tarp to keep it safe from dust.
- Make sure to visit your car and let the engine run for a few minutes on a monthly basis. When you are running the engine, make sure to leave the door to the storage unit open. This will ensure proper ventilation.
When you are ready to take the car out of storage, open all of the windows, remove the cotton from the pipes and take the plastic off the exhaust pipe, reinstall the battery, charge it, and get ready to go.
Even better? We have locations all over Illinois, so your belongings are never far from home.