How do I properly store my car for an extended period?

Properly storing your car for an extended period requires careful preparation to ensure that the vehicle remains in good condition and is ready for use when you’re ready to drive it again. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you store your car properly:

1. Choose a Suitable Storage Location:

  • Ideally, store your car in a dry, clean, and climate-controlled environment. A garage is the best option. If that’s not available, consider using a car cover to protect it from the elements.

2. Clean and Detail:

  • Clean the exterior and interior of the car thoroughly. This helps prevent dirt, dust, and contaminants from causing damage during storage.

3. Change the Oil and Filter:

  • If your car will be in storage for an extended period, consider changing the oil and oil filter. Used oil contains contaminants that can be harmful if left sitting for a long time.

4. Fill the Tank and Add Stabilizer:

  • Fill the fuel tank to prevent moisture buildup. Add a fuel stabilizer to prevent gasoline from deteriorating. Run the engine for a few minutes to ensure the stabilized fuel reaches the fuel lines and injectors.

5. Inflate Tires:

  • Inflate the tires to the recommended pressure. Overinflated tires can cause damage, so follow the manufacturer’s guidelines.

6. Lift the Car (Optional):

  • If you’re storing the car for an extremely long period, consider using jack stands to lift the car off the ground. This prevents flat spots on the tires and reduces strain on the suspension.

7. Disconnect the Battery:

  • If the car will be stored for several weeks or months, disconnect the negative terminal of the battery to prevent drain. Alternatively, use a battery maintainer to keep the battery charged.

8. Use a Car Cover:

  • If your car is stored outdoors, use a quality car cover to protect it from the elements and minimize dust buildup.

9. Lubricate Moving Parts:

  • Lubricate door hinges, locks, and other moving parts to prevent rust and ensure they operate smoothly after storage.

10. Close Windows and Sunroof:

  • Close all windows and the sunroof to prevent moisture from entering the interior.

11. Remove Valuables and Documents:

  • Remove any valuables, important documents, and personal items from the car.

12. Consider Pest Control:

  • To prevent pests from making your car their home, consider placing mothballs or other pest deterrents around the vehicle.

13. Cover Exhaust Pipes:

  • Place a cloth or tape over the exhaust pipes to prevent moisture and pests from entering.

14. Set Up Regular Checks:

  • If possible, arrange for someone to start the car and let it run for a short while every few weeks to keep the engine and components lubricated.

15. Record Storage Details:

  • Keep a record of the storage date, maintenance tasks performed, and any specific instructions for starting the car after storage.

When you’re ready to take your car out of storage, perform a thorough inspection, check the tire pressure, and recharge or reconnect the battery. By following these steps, you’ll help ensure that your car remains in good condition during its time in storage.