We all have that one precious car that we can’t risk exposing to the road. Occasionally, it’s a vintage car that we want to collect, or other times, it’s an old classic with a lot of memories. Unknowingly, most people store their cars in a garage and end up damaging them.

To keep your cars safe for a long time, you have to store them the right way. Today, we’ll tell you how to store a car the right way, so you can keep your precious baby shining like a knight in pristine armor. We’ll look at the secret tricks that people use to keep their cars in working condition and easy, hassle-free ways to keep cars in storage.

Quick Guide – How To Store a Car For Long Term

Here’s a quick guide to turn your car into an immortal beast by storing it properly:

  1. Prepare a Storage Space.
  2. Clean the car (interior and exterior).
  3. Take steps to protect the car from damage.
  4. Check the fluids and battery.
  5. Store the car in the designated storage space.
  6. Maintain the car during the storage period.

This is a simple overview of the process. You can find a more detailed explanation below.

Storing A Car Done Right – Detailed Dive

While we did go over the basics, there’s a lot more to storing cars for long-term. We’ll look at some of the things that you should consider in detail below.

 Choosing the Right Storage Location

To keep your car in the best condition, you need to store it in a well-insulated space. Hold your engines there; we aren’t talking about just any old garage. Here’s a rundown of what the right storage location for a car should look like:

  1. Proper Insulation From the Cold: Freezing temperatures, particularly in the UK and parts of the US, can cause significant damage to a car, especially if it’s electric or a hybrid. Your garage or car storage should have an insulated roof and walls to protect against the cold. Read more about UK garage conversions if you need help.
  2. Damp Protection Flooring: Damp rises through concrete floors and creates problems that you might not like. Having damp protection can prevent rust and keep your cars safer for long term. You can easily make your floor damp proof by covering it with a protective damp-resistant layer.
  3. Rain and Condensation Protection: Don’t leave your car outside in the rain because rust is constantly looking for an excuse to latch onto vehicles. Keep it indoors if you’re planning to store it for long term. Your ideal garage should be completely plugged to prevent leaking roofs.
  4. Car Theft Protection: Nothing is more heartbreaking than losing your car. Your garage should be well protected and equipped with a burglar. Put grills on the windows if possible, and always lock the doors. You can also keep a tracker in your car and have car insurance for the worst-case scenario.

Environment has a major impact on the health of your car. If you leave your car unattended in a junkyard, chances are you’ll only find scraps in a few weeks. If you leave your car parked under an open sky for extended periods, it will accumulate rust, sun damage, plenty of bird droppings, and probably a few rodents.

Preparing the Vehicle for Storage

Since you won’t be using your car for a long time, you have to do everything to keep it safe in your absence. It includes following the 5 steps to preparing items for long term storage. Here’s what you have to do:

Clean the Exterior

If there are dirt stains, mud, or bird droppings on your car, clean them. You can easily do that by going through a car wash. Remember, to remove dirt from the tires, fenders, and other nooks and crevices to prevent damage.

  1. Clean the Interior: Use a vacuum cleaner for the seats. Thoroughly clean the dashboard, footrests, and other nooks and crevices. Wipe the steering wheel with a soft cloth dipped in cleaning liquid.
  2. Clean the Trunk: The trunk of a car is more susceptible to developing odors and pests when not cleaned properly. Use a vacuum and cleaning liquid to exorcise the dust demons out of your trunk.
  3. Dry the Car: Use a soft non-abrasive cloth to dry the car. Leaving moisture on your car could cause rust damage, paint boils, or damage to other components.
  4. Cover with Car Wax: A layer of car wax adds extra protection to your car, keeping it safe from dust, and pests. You can get car wax from any local shop or supermarket and applying it is fairly easy.
  5. Check the Oil Levels: If you’re storing the car over winter or for any extended period, check the oil levels. If the oil level is low, remove the old oil and refill it. Your car will be ready to hit the road, whenever you want to take it out.
  6. Fill the Fuel Tank: An empty fuel tank can cause condensation, which might cause more harm down the road. Keep the fuel tank at least half full to prevent this.
  7. Lubricate the Locks: This doesn’t apply to all cars, but you should consider lubricating them. A well lubricated car door can save you from a pile of small damages down the road.

Some people also use car wrapping paper to keep the paint safe, but it’s more of a personal choice. That’s pretty much all you need to do to prepare your car for long term storage.

Protecting the Exterior and Interior

You need to protect both the exterior and interior of your car. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Use a Car Cover: Use a car cover to keep the exterior safe from dirt, heat, damp, and scratches. You can find a good car cover in your local mart or car parts dealer.
  2. Use Seat Covers: Since seats accumulate dust more easily, you should use seat covers to protect them. You can find seat covers almost anywhere. You can also improvise by using a thin plastic layer if the seats aren’t made from leather.
  3. Pop In Some Odour Buster Balls: These are small balls that keep that musty smell away from your car. You only need to place two or three inside your car, ideally near the footrest. Place at least two in the trunk to keep the smell at bay.
  4. Use Rim Covers: Rims are perhaps the most attractive part of the car, especially when you’ve customized them. Use covers to protect your rims from dust damage.

Maintaining the Battery and Fluids

Leaving your car for in storage can drain its batteries and other fluids. If you want to keep the juice flowing, follow the steps the below when you’re storing your car:

  1. Battery Levels For Electric Cars: If you’re using an electric car, keep the battery levels between 50 to 80% to keep the battery life optimal. Use a smart charger to keep your battery charged without overloading it.
  2. Battery for Petrol and Diesel Cars: The battery of your car can lose power over time. Use a trickle charger to keep the battery up and running over long periods of time. You can also drive the car for 15 to 20 minutes to recharge the 12-volt battery.
  3. Check your Brake Fluid: Remember to check your brake fluid levels in your engine bay. If the brake fluid levels are low, top up to avoid the worst case scenarios.

Preventing Tire Damage

When you leave the car parked in the same position for more than a month, it can cause flat spots in your tires. These flat spots aren’t fixable or repairable, so you might have to spend a few hundred dollars on new tires. Here’s what you can do to avoid this:

  1. Buy sturdy Jack Stands from a car accessory or repair shop.
  2. Park your car in the ideal storage spot.
  3. Put the car on the Jack Stands.
  4. Remove all four of the tires.
  5. Cover the tires in protective plastic.
  6. Store them safely on their sides in separate cardboard boxes. You can get free cardboard boxes with a bit of searching.

You only need to do this if you’re storing your car for long periods. Also, we do not recommend leaving a car on an inclined road for an extended period of time, since it can cause unnecessary damage to tires and the brakes. Finally, never use hydraulic jacks because they can’t support the stress for long periods

Regular Check-ups and Maintenance

If you’re leaving your car for a long period, you will still need to maintain it. Here are some of the things that you should do and consider:

  1. Parking Brake Check-Ups: The handbrake or parking brakes can seize up if you leave them up for extended periods. If possible, release your parking brakes every weak and take your car for a quick 15-minute drive.
  2. Checking For Pests: These won’t necessarily afflict your car, but when they do, it’s a pain. Check for pests, especially ant or mite infestations.
  3. Diesel Particulate Filter: All cars manufactured after 2009 have a diesel particulate filter that makes the car eco-friendlier. The filter regenerates when you run the car at sustained speeds. Turn on the engine for at least 15 minutes every week to keep the filter in good shape.
  4. Rust Check Up: Inspect your car for rust whenever you can, ideally once every two weeks. Check the nooks, especially near the fenders, rims, and around the doors. If there is rust, use WD-40 or a similar rust removing agent, and add a wax coat over the area.

Checklist For Storing a Car

Here’s a quick checklist when you’re storing a car for long-term storage:

Things To Do Place A Tick When You’ve Done It
Find A Suitable Storage Place  
Clean The Exterior  
Clean The Interior  
Add Some Odor Balls  
Wax The Car  
Top The Fuel Tank  
Change The Oil  
Place the Seat Covers  
Place the Car On Jack Stands  
Invest In a Car Cover  


Remember, you also have to periodically maintain the car. Recharge the battery, change the brake fluid, and drive the car, and remove extra dirt.

Removing A Car From Storage

So the winter months have passed, or you’re back from your vacation, and your hands are itching to get on the driving wheel. You want to take your precious ride out for a spin, but hold your horses because there’s a small procedure to all of this, and we’d recommend following it to avoid problems.

Here’s what you have to do when removing a car from storage:

  1. Check your insurance and taxes (no one wants a traffic pull).
  2. Place the tires on the car.
  3. Take the car off the jack stands.
  4. Check the brake fluids and oil.
  5. Inspect under the hood for animals; small animals might cling to the engine for extra warmth.
  6. Start the car and let it run for 15 minutes.
  7. Check the other fluid indicators.
  8. Drive the car at moderate speeds (Don’t overwork the engine from the get-go).
  9. With the formalities taken care of, you can ride around as much as you want.

It’s a simple procedure, but it’s worth it when you want to avoid unnecessary damage.

Conclusion: Store a Car In Storage Easily

Storing a car in long-term storage is child’s play if you know what to do. The good news is, you now know how to store and remove your car from storage with a step-by-step process. You have to start with cleaning, move to protection, and then get on with the storage process.

Remember, leaving your car in storage for long-periods won’t work. You will have to do maintenance checks to keep your car in working order. Without the right checks, you can’t get your car back on the road. Pay extra attention to the tires, battery, and rust to keep unnecessary mechanic repair costs at bay.

That’s all you have to do to store your car. We’d love to hear your feedback and experiences. If you think we’ve missed something, leave a comment, and we’ll be sure to add it.

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