If you need to store your car for 30 days or more, follow these 6 steps and you’ll return to a car that’s ready hit the road without any problems.
1. Change The Oil And Top Off The Gas Tank. It may sound counterintuitive to you – after all you’re storing it, not going on a road trip. But, experts say it’s what you should do if you’re storing your car for 30 days or more. Changing the oil is even recommended by Ford. Why? Because you don’t want the contaminates found in old oil to damage the engine while the car is just sitting. Ditto for the gas tank. A full tank will keep moisture from collecting in the fuel tank and the seals from drying out. It’s also a good idea to add a fuel stabilizer. Do these two things and you get a bonus – the car is road-ready when you return.
2. Pull It Into The Garage. Sure, you could buy a cover and park it in the shade, but your garage is the ideal place for the car. After all, it was built to protect your car. Clean out some of the accumulated things you’re “storing” in the garage and make room. Now, with a full tank and fresh oil, park it in the garage and keep it safe.
3. Keep The Battery Charged. If you have a friendly neighbor who will come, start the car and drive a couple of laps around the block that’s optimum. No neighbor? Consider investing in a trickle charger that will keep the battery charged for you. So now, you’ve got new oil, gas, the car in the garage and you’ve plugged it in. Way to go!
4. Don’t Pull On The Parking Brake. It’s not a good idea when you’re going to store your car. When you pull on the parking brake, it means the brake pads are in contact with the rotors. Over time, they can even fuse. The car isn’t going anywhere, but if you’re still worried, get a tire chock.
5. Don’t Let The Critters Find A New Home. You’ve put the car in the garage, but you should still do a little work to make sure that mice or packrats don’t find a home. Try to cover any gaps that a mouse could enter – that means even a very small gap. Stuff the exhaust pipe and air intake with steel wool. Then, go a step further, and surround your car with mothballs (some say cotton soaked in peppermint oil will also work) so the smell drives those critters away. Finally, if that friendly neighbor is starting the car for you, ask them to check for signs of mice or other critters.
6. Keep It Insured. It’s tempting to cancel that insurance and save some money, but it may not be worth it. It’s possible that the insurance company will increase your rates due to a gap in coverage. This differs from state-to-state and company-to-company, so make a call to your agent before you leave and follow his or her advice.
Storing your car isn’t difficult – the hardest part may be making room for it in that garage. But, once it’s there, you may want to take one more important step. Have your garage door maintenance company come out and check that door for you. After all, you want it to work for the neighbor who is helping you out. More, you want to make sure it closes securely to protect not just that car – but also your home and everything in it. Make the call!