This year was not very good for traveling. The pandemic pushed many people to change their vacation plans, and staying at home became the new norm. It also reflected on cars’ usage, as owners left them in their parking spaces or garages for prolonged periods. If you are thinking about storing your vehicle, it is essential to prepare the car before leaving it for some time.
Clean it before storing
First thing first – you need to clean it thoroughly before storing it. Accumulated grease and dirt can make a mess in the long term. You can wash it manually but go to the car wash if the time is an issue. You can also have your car waxed, which serves as another layer of protection. With the ongoing pandemic, keeping the interior of your car clean is of utmost importance. Be sure to have a hand sanitizer and use it every time you enter the vehicle. Anti-bacterial wipes are also excellent for cleaning all the surfaces you frequently touch while in the car – gear stick, door handles, buttons for opening windows, and steering wheel.
Keep it in the right spot and covered
A car is considered a significant investment that should be adequately protected, especially if it is new and expensive. If you have a closed space such as a garage that you can use, do it. But if you have no covered area to leave it, then look for the right parking spot. It should be in the open with no trees in the vicinity. It should also be on level ground. You should also invest in a car cover as an additional layer of protection. If you live in Australia, be sure to look for reasonably priced Australian car covers. It will keep debris and dust away from the vehicle. In addition, stuffing rags or steel wool in air intakes and exhaust pipe prevents critters such as mice from turning your car into their new home. Just do not forget to get them out before starting the car!
Do not forget insurance and security
Even though you will not use the car for some time, it does not mean insurance is no longer critical. You may think about canceling your insurance while the vehicle is in storage, as that may save you some money. But the insurance company may raise your rates because of the gap, and it may cost you a lot more in the end. Make sure to check with your insurance company about their policies for pausing or stopping insurance.
This may also be an excellent moment to look for new offers for car insurance. Besides, make sure to use all available security measures. A steering wheel lock is the most common and accessible solution that is easy to apply. If you have a dash camera, check if it has a “sentry” mode or something similar. All these items are there not just as a deterrent to thieves, but to make it harder for them to steal it and identify them.
Other things to consider
If you plan to store the car for a prolonged period – especially for more than a month – there are several other things to keep in mind:
- Change the oil, especially if the time for changing it is near. It may damage the engine with prolonged non-use.
- Fill your tank to the top as it will prevent the accumulation of moisture inside. Also, adding a fuel stabilizer to extend shelf life would be a smart move.
- Do not use the parking brake, especially if the weather is cold. Breaking pads used for a prolonged period may meld with the wheel interior. Use a wheel chock instead.
- Inflate your tires to the recommended values. You can usually find them inside the manual or at the side of the driver’s seat.
- Leave the windows slightly open to help with ventilation and to avoid moisture damage in the interior.
- Unplug the battery to avoid drain. Alternatively, invest in a trickle charger that has a mode for the car in storage.
Better safe than sorry
Preparing your vehicle for storage may seem like worrying too much or trying to prevent various “what-ifs.” However, it ensures that your car will be in working order as soon as you need it. It also limits additional expenses as a properly stored car is safe from various types of damage.