5 Mistakes To Avoid When Storing Your Car

This is a guest blog post by Alexander Harris, web editor at SpareFoot.com

Whether you are waiting for the day that you have the time to fully restore a classic car, or you are just going to be out of town for a long while, storing your car is a smart idea. But only if you do it correctly.

Just like with transporting your car, there are certain things that you must do in order to make sure your vehicle is in good working order. The last thing you want to have to do is tow your car out of a storage facility.

At SpareFoot we make it easy to find the best car storage option near you, including RVs. Once you choose and reserve the right car storage option, we want you to make sure that you do everything to ensure that your vehicle is protected. Below are some of the common mistakes that people make, and how to avoid them.

Choosing the Wrong Storage Type

Not all storage options are created equal. You will pay more for the best ones, and you will have to take additional precautions when choosing more budget friendly options.

Outdoor car storage is essentially just parking on a storage facility lot. This option is typically the cheapest way to store your car, but it is not recommended for extreme climates or very valuable vehicles. Your car will be exposed to sun, rain, dust, hail and other elements, so be certain to use a quality car cover if you opt for this option.

Covered car storage affords some additional protection from the elements, but we still recommend a cover for your vehicle if you are storing it for an extended period of time.

When it comes to indoor car storage units, these are essentially large self-storage units. The most common mistake is choosing a unit that is too small for your car. A 10’ x 10’ unit might sound big enough, but you might be surprised to learn most cars are longer than 10 feet. At a minimum, you’d need a 10’ x 15’ unit to store most vehicles, and even larger units for SUVs, trucks and vans.

Whatever size vehicle you are storing, we’d recommend visiting the facility after making a reservation to double check the measurements before signing the lease. Pay attention to door widths, ceiling heights and whether or not the units are raised from the ground.

Not Filling Up Your Gas Tank

A gas tank will accumulate moisture when sitting empty for an extended period of time. Moisture causes rust, and a you can imagine these particles will wreak havoc on your engine. Topping off your tank will prevent moisture from accumulating. In addition it is a good idea to use a fuel stabilizer to keep the gas from deteriorating.

Keeping the Battery Connected

Even if your car is off, your battery will slowly drain if you don’t disconnect it. Disconnecting the negative terminal while your car is in storage should do the trick. If your storage unit has an electrical outlet, you could use a trickle charger, which will send small amounts of juice to your battery over time, keeping it charged for when you retrieve your vehicle.

Putting on the Parking Brake

Of course you don’t want your car rolling and hitting the wall of your storage unit. Engaging your parking brake is a good idea right? Not at all.

Leaving your parking brake on for too long can cause the brake pads to fuse to the rotors, which is not a good thing. Instead, use chocks under each wheel to keep your vehicle from any unwanted rolling.

Not Inspecting the Car after Storage

Even if you took all the correct precautions, hitting the road right away after storing your car for an extended period of time is asking for trouble.

Before starting your car, be sure to visually inspect your vehicle inside and out. Keep an eye out for signs of pests, that may or may not be residing in your exhaust. Be prepared to top off any engine fluids that may have drained or evaporated. Inspect rubber parts for degradation. Check your tire pressure and inflate as needed.

Start the car and let it run for a few minutes before leaving the area. Take precautions as you drive, making sure you test the brakes before you accelerate to high speed driving. Don’t turn up the radio, but instead listen for any strange sounds. If something sounds off, your first stop should be to your trusty mechanic.

In closing, be careful when you store your car. Take the time to properly prepare it for storage and inspect it when you are ready to drive it regularly once again. Just avoiding these five mistakes can make a big difference in helping your car last a long time!