Car in storage

How to Prep Your Car for Long-Term Storage

One of the best ways to take good care of things we value is to put them to safety when we won’t need them.

Just like your car. You may need to secure it before leaving for a long vacation. Or store it for the winter. Whatever the reason is, you cannot just leave your car in a stationary for too long unless with proper measures.

You should consider two things—your garage or storage and your car. It is to ensure that your car will function as normal after storing it for a long period. Below are the necessary steps in preparing your car for long term storage.

Clean and organized garage

Tidy up and organize your garage

It should be dry and warm. Check if there are damp areas that need to dry. Sort your things so it would be easy to find them when you need them and as much as possible, throw the stuff that you no longer need.

Check if there are scratches, cracks, or holes that need to be covered. It is to prevent cold air from passing through it. Vermin and rodents might also pass through the holes. You may set up some mouse traps and rat poison. They may hide in different parts of the garage as well as inside the car. This will require over-all cleaning of both.

Well-regulated heating systems play a very vital role in maintaining the temperature. Make sure that the flooring of your garage is suited for the weather. If you are to keep your vehicle in there for winter, choose the flooring that can add extra insulation to stay warm. Blankets and cloth can also maintain a reasonable temperature.

You must also do some checking to avoid flooding in your garage. Examine your sewage, gutters, and pipes to see if there are leaks that need to be fixed. Moreover, don’t forget to inspect your garage foundation and install flood drainage. You can also have your garage professionally evaluated before storing your vehicle in it.

Prepare your car

Once the garage is all set, it’s time to prepare your car. First, clean your vehicle. Check all its door pockets and boxes. There might be critters, so make sure to examine every corner of your car. Remove unnecessary stuff.

Put a box of baking soda to remove odors. Wash the stains, muds, and grease and clean the wheels as well as the undersides of the fenders. Once done, wax your car properly.

Car cover

Cover your car

Physically cover your car. It will shield your car from water spots, dust, and other elements. It can also prevent the exterior of your vehicle from being damaged. You can make use of some custom made car covers or even buy from online shops. Tarps are also a great alternative.

Find the right size and shape. It should fit properly to avoid dust from getting in. It should also protect your car against ultra-violet paint degradation. At times, your car cover will also depend on the storage. There are also car covers for all weather.

And finally, if you don’t have a garage, you can seek for an accommodation or a storage facility at a reasonable price.

Now here are steps you can do if you are going to store your car for longer than 30 days.

Change the Oil

If you are only storing your car for a week or two, it is fine not to change your oil. However, it is better to have clean oil for your car while in storage for more than 2 weeks. Normally, the shelf life for motor oil is 5 years. Likewise, check the coolant and antifreeze.

Full fuel tank

Fill the tank

Fill the tank to full to prevent moisture from accumulating inside the fuel tank and to keep the seals from drying out. Moisture can cause the fuel to breakdown and the car to rust. Gasoline also works as a coolant and keeping your gas tank full may help prevent your car from mechanical issues.

You can add a fuel stabilizer so you won’t have a difficult time starting your car once ready to use it after a long period. It should keep the fuel fresh for up to 24 months, and it works with both ethanol and non-ethanol fuel types. Once done, you can start the car and run the motor for 30 seconds or more to circulate the stabilized fuel to the fuel system.

Charge your battery

Use a battery tender to help you maintain your battery well amidst the long period of inactivity. This device can make your car battery operate as fresh as the day you stored it. You can store it in the basement or garage. You can even put in on the concrete.

Man checking and adjusting tire pressure

Check and adjust your tire pressure

Inflate your tires to avoid them from flat-spotting, leading to permanent deformation or damage to the tires. If you are to store your car for more than 30 days, you can take the wheels off and place the car on jack stands to maintain the better shape of your tires. If not, your tire will have to bear the weight of your car for a long period.

Call your insurance company

Check with your insurer if you are insured for storing your car in a particular area. It can be a barn, outside your home, or a garage. It is to avoid being denied by your insurer if something untoward or unfortunate happens while your car is in storage. So make sure you are covered.

It may save money if you cancel your insurance while your vehicle is in storage, however, it is still best to maintain your insurance as it’s charge may be higher once you reapply.

There may be a lot of things to remember in storing your car but these can guarantee that it will function as normal as possible once you start using it again. It will provide you the transport and convenience it has provided you before.

About Jean-Claude Landry

Jean-Claude Landry
Jean-Claude is the Senior Editor at and webmaster of He has been a certified auto mechanic for the last 15 years, working for various car dealers and specialized repair shops. He turned towards blogging about cars and EVs in the hope of helping and inspiring the next generation of automotive technicians. He also loves cats, Johnny Cash and Subarus.

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