Preparing for Long-term Car Storage
If you are planning to store your car for a longer period, there is more to it than throwing a car cover on and hoping for the best. There are steps that owners can take to make their long-term car storage experience a success. Our storage experts at The Hideout have a few suggestions to help you.
Location matters. The climate in Southwest Florida is hot and humid the majority of the year. These are things that help make us a favorite for full-time and seasonal residents as well as tourists. They also work against car owners. Fortunately, you can do something about it and we can help. Our car condos are an ideal location for long-term car storage. These indoor, air-conditioned storage solutions are exactly what discerning car owners in the Naples and Marco Island area need. These climate-controlled units combat many of the factors that are detrimental to the condition of your car.
Clean the car
It might seem strange to wash your car before storing it, but there is good reason to do it. Things like chemicals, bird droppings or hard water can damage your paint if left on the surface for a long time. A thorough cleaning can prevent this. Attention to wheels and wheel wells is also a good idea since mud, dirt or fluids can be hiding there as well.
Don’t forget the inside. Things we may track in on our shoes can be bad to store for long-term storage, as well as food or crumbs that may have fallen under the seats or spills in the cupholder. Keeping the interior dry and odor-free is the goal. Packets of silica or another desiccant could be a good idea.
Change the oil
Even if you’re not due for an oil change if you are planning to store your car for more than 30 days, consider changing the oil. When oil is used, corrosive materials can start to build up. Leaving those to sit in your engine for a long period of time is not a great idea. Some manufacturers, like Ford, recommend this step in their owner’s manual.
Fill the tank
If you plan to store the car for more than 30 days, experts suggest storing it with a full tank. Condensation can collect in the tank and seals can dry out. Neither of these are good for your car. You may also consider using a fuel stabilizer. This will prevent the gas from deteriorating for up to 12 months. It can also prevent ethanol buildup and protect the engine from gum, varnish and rust.
Top off the other fluids
Topping off fluids like antifreeze, windshield washer fluid, and brake fluid are also good ideas. Condensation can form in the empty spaces of those reservoirs too and, if left for a period of time, can lead to corrosion, similar to the gas tank.
Remember the battery
The battery is one of the trickier components to deal with. Ideally, having the car run for 15 minutes every couple of weeks is great, but not always a realistic option. The simplest solution is to remove the negative battery terminal. This solution, however, will probably cause you to lose your radio presets, time and some other electronics. Some features like your power locks will also cease working. The other solution is a trickle charger. These are powered by the electricity in your car condo and give the battery just enough charge to keep is from discharging.
Don’t forget the wipers
It’s easy to overlook the windshield wipers when preparing a car for long-term storage. Propping them up or wrapping them in a cloth are two ways to keep them in good shape and prevent them from leaving a mark on your windshield.
Tires can be tricky. If they are stored improperly, they can develop a flat spot that can be permanent. High-performance tires and low-profile tires are the most at-risk. Fortunately, warmer areas like Naples and Marco Island are less prone to this issue than colder areas.
To combat this, always make sure the tires are inflated to the manufacturer’s recommended pressure. Those storing cars with performance or low-profile tires may consider removing the wheels. It is more work but could save the expense of a new set of tires.
At The Hideout, we offer climate-controlled car condos so you can keep your investments safe from extreme hot or cold temperatures and humidity. Our facility is accessible 24/7, any time you want to access your car, we’re ready for you! For more information, send us an email or call us at 239-213-8029 today!