Long Term Vehicle Storage: How to Prep Your Car or Truck

There are many reasons why a person would need to store their vehicle for an extended period of time. Trips out of the country, military deployments, moves, and even changes of seasons can lead drivers to seek long-term vehicle storage options for their cars and trucks. One mistake that owners often make is focusing solely on the place where they are storing the vehicle and neglecting the preparation that is needed to keep a sitting automobile in working condition.

       At Orlando Auto Body, we know how to protect vehicles that are in our care, awaiting repair, etc. We hope that sharing these tips can help you avoid costly mistakes should you ever have a nee for vehicle storage.

Keep it Covered

    It seems like common sense, but the first step to preventative care is making sure your car is covered. Garages or public storage facilities are the best places to store your vehicle since these environments will keep your vehicle away from damaging elements (rain, win, animals, etc.) and are usually temperature controlled. Simply letting your vehicle set on the street is never a good idea since it could be stolen or broken into, the battery will easily drain, and your tires and engine could easily be ruined. But regardless of where you decide for your vehicle storage,  it should be sheltered with a weatherproof cover.

auto stiegler team photo
Car in garage for winter storage

Fill Your Fluids

       Before storing your vehicle, top off all fluids including anti-freeze, brake fluid, oil, and even your gasoline. Cars and trucks that are placed in storage low on fluids often end up corroded. This is especially important during season changes since temperature fluctuations can cause some of the fluid disappear naturally. If you will be storing your vehicle longer than 30 days, an oil change is a must regardless of levels since debris in old oil can damage a motor once it is restarted. Topping off your gasoline and a fuel stabilizer will protect against varnish, rust, and deterioration for up to a year.

Flatten and Disconnect

Our next tip: let all the air out of your tires and disconnect the negative battery cable. Though it probably sounds strange, these two steps can save you a lot of money in the long run. When a car sits in a garage for a long period of time, the tires can get flat spots and dry rot can become an issue. If you have someone who can drive your vehicle every couple of weeks, that is the best solution. If not, letting all of the air out can prevent the issue altogether.
       Disconnecting the battery cable can solve another potential problem: an unattended battery will discharge. Another option is to buy a battery trickle charger that slowly adds to the charge so it isn’t depleted. Using a trickle charger will ensure that your vehicle is ready to roll when you get return.

Beware of the Brakes

       One final thought is to make sure that the parking brake is left off. Though it might be tempting to turn it on to keep your car “in place”, leaving a parking brake on for a long period of time can cause it to seize or lock up. Sometimes, the brake pads can make contact with the rotors and fuse together. Talk about a mess! Thankfully, there is a cheap alternative. Instead of using the parking break, place blocks behind the tires.