Summer has come and gone in almost a blink of an eye. All that time spent driving classic cars, RVs, and motorcycles in summer breezes along windy backroads is gone. But certainly not forgotten. Now is the time to start prepping your vehicle for long-term storage.
For many of us, winter months consist of insane snow storms or very cold weather. Unless you have extra garage space, this means storing vehicles such as classic sports cars and RVs at a professional car storage facility to keep them in pristine shape. Follow this guide to ensure that your car, RV, or camper van is healthy for when those warmer spring and summer months come around again!
1. Find a cover
A sturdy and reliable vehicle cover is important for when you store your vehicle away for a few months or even a year. This keeps classic cars and other types of vehicles from accumulating excess dust, as well as helps keep out insects. If it gets really cold where you live, you might want to consider a heavier or warmer cover. This will be one more measure to take to keep your car from freezing in all kinds of places. Prepping your vehicle for long-term storage is exceptionally important if you plan to store it outdoors.
2. Thoroughly clean your car
Equally as satisfying as it is important, is cleaning your car. This is true whether your storing an RV, classic car, or camper van. You’ll want to clean the interior and exterior before you store it away. Vacuum the seats, wipe the dash, wash the exterior, etc. Try to use water and no chemical products. Mixing chemical and below freezing temperatures with your interior can potentially cause some serious damage.
For the exterior, wash, buff, and wax it. If you don’t know how to do that, have it detailed by a professional. Before you store it away, make sure to remove your windshield wipers as well.
3. Perform necessary maintenance
Prepping your vehicle for long-term storage includes being sure that all of your fluids are up to date and topped off. This will help your car when you go to start it up for the first time in months. As for the windshield washer fluid, it’s best to use up all that you can so you keep it from freezing. You should also fill up your gas tank with gas. By doing this, you allow less airspace for other moistures and condensation to enter the gas tank.
If you’re storing your car for longer than 30 days, change your oil. Used engine oil that sits in your vehicle can contaminate the engine. Top it all off by lubricating a majority of the hinges in your car.
4. Fully charge the battery
Your battery still drains when it isn’t being used. Charging it all the way will be a good idea before you the vehicle sits for some time. If you plan on not using the car for a long time, take out the battery entirely. Be sure to keep it in a dry place within your home.
5. Use a Wheel Chock
Using the parking break over the winter or during storage can be a bad idea. The reason why is because your rotors touching the brake pads for too long can cause them to become fused. Instead, use a big block of wood, a wedge, or a chock to keep the tires in one spot and prevent it from rolling.
6. Inflate your tires
Flat spots are one of the main concerns when you store your car. The good news is that most new tires are manufactured to get rid of flat spots after a bit of driving. Still, it’s best to fill the tires to the recommended tire pressure.
If you want to look out for it better, you can always drive the car around every two weeks or so when the weather permits. This will prevent flat spots in your tires, and help you maintain the battery as well. Just know, if you take your vehicle out of storage to drive in snowy conditions, you’ll want to thoroughly clean it again before placing it back in storage.
7. Double check your manual
Going over your car’s manual can help find specific precautions that you might need to take into consideration when prepping your vehicle for long-term storage. Also, you’ll want to keep your insurance active and make sure you’re fully covered. You never know what can happen and it’s best to be safe rather than sorry when it comes to your vehicle. If you were to cancel your auto insurance, they might charge you more when you come back due to having a gap in your insurance coverage.
Now you’re ready to embrace the fall and winter! As long as you follow these steps and your vehicle’s manual, you should have nothing to worry about.
Need a place to store your vehicle? See our vehicle storage options.