If you have to store your car for any length of time, there are ways to protect it against rust, corrosion, weather and inertia.
To ensure your vehicle is in tip-top condition, and starts without a fuss at the end of the storage period, simply implement the tips and tricks outlined in this indoor and outdoor car storage guide.
Wash, wax and vacuum
Give your vehicle a good clean, inside and out, from the wheelbases and undercarriage, to the top of the roof. Vacuum up any loose dirt, especially left-over food that can attract rodents, pests and other vermin.
Once the car is dry, apply a coat of wax to the body paint to act as a protective barrier against sun, rain and wind. If you are storing the vehicle for more than 6 months, we suggest you toss in a handful of mothballs to keep your upholstery and carpets in one piece.
Oil and lubricate
Spray Q20 multi-purpose lubricant on all the moving parts on the doors, boot and bonnet; the hinges, levers and latches. It will prevent moisture build-up, and rust and corrosion, and maintain perfect working order.
Remove the spark plugs, and spray engine or fogging oil into the cylinders. You’ll have to crank the engine in one short burst to coat the cylinder walls, and protect the engine’s interior. Once you’re done, replace and reconnect the spark plugs.
Battery and blocks
Remove the battery, and clean the terminals. If you are storing your car outdoors, place the battery in a well-ventilated room. Charge it periodically, or attach it to a float charger to retain its capacity.
If you’ve opted for indoor storage, place the battery next to the car on a cool, dry surface, and follow the instructions above.
A practical solution, that’s particularly effective if you aren’t going to be around, is to invest in a 24-hour timer. You can set it to turn on the charger for 30 minutes a day.
Removing the car tyres, and putting the car up on blocks, is the best solution for long-term storage. You can, of course, leave the tyres on, and elevate the car on multiple jacks. You’ll avoid wear on the tyres, and undue pressure on the suspension.
Best practice tips
Don’t forget the small details that will save you time and money. Seal off the exhaust pipe with a clean rag, tennis ball or tin foil or you may find rats or mice nesting in the manifold when you get it out of storage.
Remove the windscreen wiper blades, or keep them away from the screen with a rolled up cloth, as they have a nasty habit of sticking to the glass.
Don’t engage the handbrake, as the brakes and discs can bond. Rather leave the car in gear and, if not on blocks, wedge the wheels in place with chocks or bricks to prevent movement.
Covering your car is essential, particularly if you are storing it outside. Blankets or a loose tarpaulin are suitable for indoor storage.
An all-weather car cover, manufactured from tough, breathable fabric, and tailored in the exact dimensions of your vehicle, is a must if it's going to be left outdoors for an extended period of time.
In storage car maintenance
Maintaining your car in storage can prevent all sorts of irritating problems. Inflating and rotating your tyres, keeping your battery charged, and starting the engine periodically prevents components from seizing, and parts from failing.
Remove the cover occasionally, and open the doors, windows, bonnet and boot. It will allow air to circulate; keep window winders, door latches, and hinges agile and active, and give you a chance to identify any preventable issues or problems.
XtraSpace Car Storage
At XtraSpace Self Storage, many of our branches in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape offer secure, affordable bays for storing vehicles, from cars to caravans to boats. Contact us for more information or browse to find a branch near you.