How to Prep Your Car for Long-Term Storage

You may have heard that most people in New York City don’t even own cars. In fact, studies show that in Manhattan only 23% of households own a car, and for good reason! Between buses and the city’s subway system, New York has an excellent transportation system, so most commuters don’t need a vehicle for daily driving. Plus, trying to find parking, especially in Manhattan, can be a total nightmare. And even if you do find a place to park, the rates are outrageous.

While driving a vehicle in the city may not be practical, you may find yourself wishing you had a car for weekend excursions or extended road trips. If you must keep your prized vehicle, for whatever reason, be sure to check out long-term auto storage. It is the cheapest, most practical, and safest option for keeping a car in the Big Apple. Before you put your car in storage, there are a few things you should do to make sure your car stays in tip-top shape so it’s ready to drive again when you need it.

1. Clean It Up

Give your car a good detailed cleaning before putting it into storage. Bits of dirt, bug parts, or bird droppings can damage the paint if left for extended periods of time. As part of your detailing, be sure to clean the wheels and under the fenders to remove any traces of mud or tar. A fresh coat of wax is a good idea, too.

2. Change the Oil

If your car will be in storage for more than 30 days, change the oil and put in a new oil filter. Oil that sits for extended periods of time can contain contaminants that can damage your engine.

3. Fill Up the Fluids

Leave your car with a full tank of gas to help prevent the accumulation of moisture in the fuel tank and keep the seals from drying out. Add a fuel stabilizer to help prevent the build-up of the ethanol and help keep the gas from deteriorating. Top off all your other fluids, such as brake fluid, windshield wiper fluid, and antifreeze as well.

4. Keep It Charged

It’s ideal to have someone to start your car and even drive it around a bit every couple of weeks to keep the battery from discharging. If that is not possible, consider using a battery tender or trickle charger to provide just enough power to keep the battery charged up.

5. Maintain Your Tires

Make sure your tires are inflated to the recommended pressure. Tires can develop flat spots if left sitting for too long. This is especially problematic in colder temperatures and with high-performance tires. If you are storing your car for more than 30 days, you may want to consider removing the wheels and place the car on blocks or jack stands.

6. Release the Parking Brake

Do not set the parking brake when storing your vehicle. The brake pads can become fused to the rotors if they are in contact for an extended time-period. Use chocks on your tires to prevent movement.

7. Protect Your Wipers

If left sitting on the windshield for long periods of time, the blades on your windshield wipers can fuse to your windshield. Remove the wiper blades or place a soft rag between the wiper blade and the windshield to prevent contact.

8. Keep Up Your Insurance

You will need to keep your vehicle insured, even if you are not driving it. Talk with your insurance agent regarding the appropriate level of insurance for vehicles in long-term storage.

Following some precautions can make a big difference in the life and performance of your vehicle in long-term storage. Taking these steps can help ensure that your vehicle is ready to roll when you need it for that next weekend road trip.