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Storing Your Car

Updated: Jun 29, 2019

Whatever the reason for your time away from the vehicle, you'll need to put it in storage.

If you simply let your vehicle sit in a garage for an extended period, you may return to a dead battery or - worse yet - a damaged engine, ruined tires and a rat's nest under your hood.

Here are important steps to take before you store a vehicle. They will preserve the life of the engine and ensure that your car starts when you return to it.

  1. Keep It Covered - A garage is the ideal place to store a vehicle. This will protect it from the elements and keep it at a temperature that's relatively stable.

  2. Clean It Up - It may seem counter intuitive to get the car washed and waxed when you're putting it away for months.

  3. Change the Oil - Change the oil if you will be storing the vehicle for longer than 30 days.

  4. Top Off the Tank - Fill the tank with gas if you expect the car to be in storage for more than 30 days. This will prevent moisture from accumulating inside the fuel tank and keep the seals from drying out. You should also purchase a fuel stabilizer.

  5. Keep It Charged - An unattended battery will eventually lose its charge. Get someone to start the car every two weeks and drive it for about 15 minutes. The low-tech solution is to disconnect the negative battery cable. You'll likely lose the stereo presets, time and other settings. If you want to keep those settings and ensure that your battery starts the moment you return, purchase a battery tender, also known as a trickle charger.

  6. Don't Use the Parking Brake - It's usually a good idea to use the parking brake, but don't do it when you leave a car in storage.

  7. Prevent Flat Spots - Make sure your tires are inflated to the recommended tire pressure. If a vehicle is left stationary for too long, the tires could develop flat spots.

  8. Keep Critters Out - A garage will keep your car dry and relatively warm. Unfortunately, those are also two things that make a garaged car attractive to rodents. Place steel wool in the exhaust pipe. Spread mothballs along the perimeter of the vehicle. The smell will drive mice and rats away.

  9. Maintain Insurance - You might be tempted to cancel your auto insurance - there is a chance that the insurance company will raise your rates due to the gap in coverage.

  10. Home Watch - Always Home will check your trickle charger or drive your car if you ask for this service.

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