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How to Prepare Your Car for Long-Term Storage

Mar 30th 2015 at 12:45 AM

Whether you are putting your car away for the winter months or need to store it while you’re out of town, there are a few steps you can take to prevent deterioration in storage. By taking precautions to prepare your car, your vehicle will be better preserved and avoid damages that automobiles are otherwise susceptible to.

First, you should wash and wax the exterior of your car. Any dirt or contaminants that are left on the paint when it goes into storage have the potential to corrode, leaving you with rust to deal with later on. Debris on the interior can also cause damage if left sitting for an extended period of time so include a thorough vacuuming as part of your checklist. Whether you do the cleaning yourself or take it to a service, this is an extremely important step in prepping for auto storage.

There are several small things you can do under the hood that will also minimize the risk of damage in storage. Topping off fluids prevents any condensation buildup in fluid reservoirs by eliminating the excess space where this could occur. Changing the oil and filter helps reduce the chance of acidic breakdown; old oil can eat away at the inside of your engine and damage seals. Once you’ve topped off fluids and changed the oil, it is a good idea to grease steering and suspension components. A good coat of grease also helps to prevent breakdown of your engine seals and protects the rubber suspension brushings from drying out.

On your way to the storage unit or before you close up the garage for winter, top off your fuel tank. Just like topping off engine fluids, a full tank leaves less room for condensation. Adding a fuel stabilizer prevents gas breakdown and evaporation during an extended period of storage. Once the car is parked, leave the emergency brake off. An engaged parking brake can cause brake pads to rust through to the drum and cause the wheel to seize. A set of wheel chocks can instead be used to keep the vehicle in place. After the car is parked, disconnect the battery to preserve battery life. For newer vehicles that require a constant charge, a trick charger can be used to provide a source of power and avoid reprogramming the vehicle once it’s restarted.

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Author Bio:

An expert at storage solutions, Sarah shares her knowledge on matters relating to this. You can find her thoughts at

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