A car is a big investment that needs good care. If you’re going to store it for one reason or another, you must ensure proper storage, whether it’s old or new. A storage unit for your car provides an excellent way to clear up the garage space. A good storage unit ensures safety, security, and protection from bad weather. It provides perfect temporary storage if you need to travel for a long vacation or a perfect shield from ice buildup during the winter months.
Storing your car in the unit depends on many factors, including the size of the space, the reason for storage, and the temperature in your region. Good storage needs to maintain the integrity of your vehicle during the time when it’ll be out of use. To achieve that, you need proper preparation prior to the storage.
So, how do you store your car in the storage unit and maintain its integrity? This article answers that question and any other concerns you have about car storage.
Do You Need to Store Your Car?
Before you move to the nitty-gritty details of car storage, you first need to ask yourself whether you need to put the car into a storage facility. If you don’t use the car often and think it’s taking up too much space in the garage, you should think about the storage unit. A car storage unit will free up space in your garage and save it from wearing out due to exposure to different weather elements.
If you stay away from home for months and can’t go in your car, you need to store it for the period you’ll be away. This applies to military men and travel nurses, among other people that need to travel a lot for their job. If you own a classic car and you’re not lucky enough to have a big and classy garage, you should consider a storage unit.
Decide on Your Ideal Storage Unit Type
Now that you have the reasons to store your car, you can’t just put it in any other store out there. Failing to consider the right storage unit type for your car seems like just throwing it away. The kind of storage you choose will determine how you get your car at the end of the storage period. The type you choose also depends on your storage period. If it will only take a short time, simple outdoor storage will do. For long-term storage, you need a unit with protective storage solutions.
For long-term storage, you need to protect your car from break-ins and bad weather. Get perfect indoor storage if you live in areas that experience worse winters. You can also consider finding a climate-controlled unit if you have a very luxurious car that needs extra care. Whatever you choose, keep in mind the length of the storage period. Also, know that indoor storage units and climate-controlled ones can be too expensive. Think about your vehicle’s value and compare it to the amount you’ll pay for the storage. Is it worth it?
The Size of Your Vehicle vs. that of the Storage Unit
Considering the size of your vehicle, you must get a storage unit that will comfortably accommodate it. Well, the chances are that you don’t even know your vehicle size apart from what the eye can see. You’re going to have to do some severe measurements before taking it to the storage. You need to know the dimensions of the vehicle from your head upwards.
The unit should be large enough to leave you some wiggle room from all sides. A good unit should also allow you to walk around your vehicle without feeling squeezed in space.
If you’re going to store a VW, Toyota Corolla, Mini Cooper, and other two-door cars, a 10 x 15 storage space is ideal. For sedans and mid-sized hatchbacks like a Toyota Tundra, Nissan Altima, and Subaru Outback, you need a 10 x 20 storage space. For trucks and other large passenger and cargo vans, a 10 x 25 storage space will be enough.
Prepare Your Car for Storage
You can’t just get your vehicle off the road to the storage unit without preparing it. There are a lot of body works you need to do to your car before storage. Here is how you should prepare your vehicle for storage.
1. Clean It
Whether you’re storing for a short or long-term basis, you need to get rid of the dirt, ice, grime, and rust off your vehicle. These dirt particles can cause a lot of damages and deterioration to your car while in storage.
2. Wax It
Washing alone will not protect your car from wearing out, especially in long-term storage. A wax coating on the surface of your vehicle will add another protective layer, which means your vehicle will have even much better protection.
3. Remove the Battery
You can’t store your vehicle with the battery intact. If you’re going to store it for a long time, the acid from the battery will leak and cause wear off of the car engines. Take care of the batteries, especially during the winter months, because the weather can be very hard on the batteries.
4. Change the Oil
Don’t forget to change the oil before putting your vehicle in storage. This way, you will stop any contaminations in the oil from causing damage. In fact, you must change all fluids, including the brake fluid and the antifreeze.
5. Fill the Tank
Filling your tank before storage will be a perfect way to avoid condensation. Ensure you get premium fuel for this because most don’t contain ethanol that can cause corrosion over time. Enough fuel will ensure water doesn’t build up in the gas tank.
6. Cover It
Keep your car covered while in the storage unit. Even if it’s clean, it can still get dirty over time. Cover your car well to protect it from dust, dirt, and debris that can buildup on the surface. A good cover protects it from external elements and keeps it in optimal condition even after long-term storage.
Check the Tires of the Car before Storage
If you’re going to store your car for some time, the pressure will weigh down on the tires, causing them to flat spot. You can consider resting the vehicle on some jack stands or blocks to give them some support. This way, you’ll take off the pressure from the tires and protect them from decompression. This will also get the pressure off the suspension components on your car to increase its lifespan. Another option is to ensure your tires have the required pressure before you can put them off to the storage unit.
Register Your Car to Have Proof of Ownership
You must ensure your car is fully registered and it belongs to you. Storing unregistered vehicles is prohibited and can land you in trouble. You must have all your paperwork with you when placing the car in the storage unit. This will avoid any disparities and squabbles at the time of collection.
Keep the registration titles in a safe place, so they don’t get stolen, damaged, or forgotten. With the registration in place, you can easily sell your vehicle whenever you decide to. This will also make it easy for you if you decide to unregister it after long-term storage.
Take Your Vehicle for Drive Often
If you’re going to be around during the storage period, don’t leave your vehicle unattended all that time. If you’re traveling and won’t be back for a long time, you should assign someone to take your vehicle for a spin once in a while. A short-distance drive often will ensure your car gets a long and healthy life. This will keep the engine and all other parts in optimal condition and running as usual.
Whenever you take it for a spin, don’t forget to pass by your repair shop for a spot check. This way, you can identify any issues before they can escalate and get worse. You don’t want to take back your vehicle from the storage and start spending a lot on the repairs.
Also, don’t forget to check the condition of the storage unit from time to time. Any signs of a leak, pest infestation, or humidity changes can pose trouble for your vehicle. Don’t abandon your vehicle nor ignore the conditions in the storage unit if you want to get your car in one piece at the end of the storage period.
There’s no harm in putting your car in the storage unit as long as you follow the above tips keenly. Well, some of these tips may not apply to other vehicles, or different vehicle types may need additional tips for proper storage. You should also consider talking to storage facility owners so they can give you more tips on what you need to consider for motor vehicle storage. If you’re lucky, they might even help you prepare your car for storage.