Maybe you need to store a sports car during hail season or an ATV during the winter. If you are storing any vehicle it is important to prepare it properly. In the case of automobiles, short term storage is defined as more than one week and less than six months. Follow these steps to get you vehicle ready for its time off the road.
1. Start with the exterior
Start by washing and waxing the car’s exterior. This will help to protect paint and prevent rust.
2. Clean the interior
Vacuum and clean the interior. Wipe down the dash and other surfaces to remove debris that could harm surfaces over time. Be especially careful to remove any food residue which could attract pests.
3. Fill fluid reservoirs
Water condensation can collect in fluid reservoirs and cause damage over time. Topping off fluids leaves less room for condensation to accumulate.
4. Treat steering and suspension components
Lack of use can cause seals and rubber bushing to dry out and fail. Prevent this by greasing steering and suspension components before storing.
5. Change the oil
Old oil turns acidic and will begin to eat away at your engine, especially the seals. Fresh oil will take longer to degrade and will be far better for your car while it sits in storage.
6. Take care of the battery
For newer which require a constant powers source, connect the battery to a trickle charger. In the case of older vehicles which do not need a constant power source, simply disconnect the battery to prevent it from draining.
7. Get gas
Don’t forget to fill up the gas tank. Just like other reservoirs, water condensation can collect in the gas tank and cause damage over time. You can limit this by filling the tank and leaving less space for water to accumulate. You can also add a stabilizer to keep gas from degrading and evaporating.
8. Air up the tires
Prevent damage and wear to tires by making sure they are aired up to the recommended levels.
9. Don’t use the parking brake
Finally, when you park the car, do not use the parking brake which can rust and cause damage to the rotor or drum. Instead, use wheel chocks to keep the vehicle in place.
NOTE: If you are storing a vehicle for more than 6 months, many of these steps will be very different.