The Fascinating World Of Secure Vehicle Storage

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Everything you need to know about secure car storage to keep your vehicle safe

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Many people require long-term vehicle storage. You might own a classic car or truck that is only driven a few times per year or you are storing a car for the winter while you drive the SUV. Perhaps you are being deployed or you are going away for a long holiday for several months. The bottom line is that you have a car that you don't want to sell and you need to figure out where to park the car for the long term, safely and securely.

The Different Places to Store Your Car

There are a few options when it comes to storage for cars. Naturally, the ideal storage place for your car would be your own garage at home while you're gone. Parking it outside would leave it vulnerable to the elements, but some open-air parking lots offer partial covering for your car. A better option would be to rent secure parking and storage at a dedicated facility where you can even rent a 2-car storage unit. Here are some of the benefits and disadvantages of each option.

Multilevel Parking Pexels.com

Open-Air Storage

It might sound precarious, but if done right, storing a car outside need not be a bad idea. Maybe you have a secure spot under cover next to your house that is protected from the wind and rain, or a covered, fenced-in long-term car park. If done right, it can work well. Outdoor parking is obviously less of a problem in Texas than in Oregon, for example, due to less extreme weather conditions. Thus, it will vary according to where you live in the USA.

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Pros and Cons

  • You are not occupying your garage and can use it for other purposes
  • The car can be moved or driven at short notice
  • Less of a rodent problem, especially in winter
  • It's outside in the rain, sleet, wind, and snow
  • It can more easily be stolen
  • It needs a covering, which can potentially damage the paintwork
  • If it's home alone, it's not safe from vandals or thieves
Open-air Car Storage unsplash.com
Long Term Parking unsplash.com

Garage or Storage Unit

A garage would obviously be ideal, especially if it's at your house. Hopefully, someone is staying at your house and can keep an eye on the car and check it periodically. Rented, secure car storage in a garage, warehouse, or storage facility is also a great option if you don't have any other space for it.

Pros and Cons

  • Much better protection against weather, moisture, and temperature fluctuations
  • Harder to damage or steal if it's locked away in a garage
  • Good security if it's at a rented secure vehicle storage location
  • Bugs and rodents also prefer the indoors in winter and can damage your car
  • The car takes up space in your garage that you may want to use
  • Rented, secure, long-term vehicle storage can cost a lot in the long run
Storage Unit freepik.com
Parking unsplash.com
Garages unsplash.com

What to Remember When You Prepare a Car for Storage

Here are some tips about preparations for how to store a car:

  • Refuel it: Older cars have metal fuel tanks that can rust if they are not filled up. Be sure to top up the tank before putting a car in storage - and add a corrosion inhibitor.
  • Wash it: Dirt and grime on the paintwork and carpets can damage the car and cause mildew to form. Clean the car thoroughly and treat it to a coat of wax to protect the paintwork. How to prepare a car for storage starts with a good cleaning, inside and out.
  • Clean the room: A clean room has less attraction for rodents and keeps dirt and grime away from your car in general. There should be very little in the room except for the car. Even cardboard boxes could be tempting to rats and mice.
  • Check the fluids: Filling up or replacing the oil, so that gunk does not settle in the engine, is an important step when you prepare a car for storage. Make sure the radiator is full of coolant with the appropriate percentage of antifreeze. This prevents the water from freezing, protects the cooling system's components, and prevents rust.
  • Store it on jacks or jack stands: If you're going to be away for a long time, consider lifting the car off its tires if you know nobody will be taking it for a drive now and again. Left parked, the tires will deform and flat-spot, rendering them useless after a few months.

Tips on How to Store a Car

Besides the obvious ones above, there are several more things you can keep in mind when storing your car, depending on your circumstances and where you live in the US. Cover the car with a soft, breathable cover that does not trap moisture. Remember that the buffeting of a cover in the wind outside will also damage the paintwork. Don't engage the parking brake, because it can seize and refuse to disengage when left for months. Park on a sheet of plastic to catch any dripping fluids and cover all obvious holes, like the exhaust and vent inlets, to keep out bugs and rodents. Disable your car alarm, because it will drain your battery and won't work after a while anyway.

Conclusion

If you need to store your car for a long time, do it right and you'll be coming back to a car in great condition that is ready to go immediately. Keep all these tips in mind and you can avoid nasty surprises when you get back home. If you are storing your car at home, make sure someone is there to keep an eye on the car and perhaps take it for a drive every few weeks.

FAQs

What should I do when I want to store a car for a year or more?

Planning ahead is imperative, so follow the tips in this article. Keep in mind that some components will deteriorate when the car just sits, such as rubber seals getting brittle and starting to leak. If you can arrange it, get someone to check in periodically, do a little preventative maintenance or take it for a drive once in a while.

What is the price to store a car in secure rented storage?

It depends on the facility and the services/features offered. Secure, climate-controlled monthly car storage can cost $350, but cheaper storage is available, too. Do an online search for car-storage service providers in your region.

Can I store my car in a 10x10 square foot storage unit?

No, not even a small car will fit. You need at least a 10x20 for a car. Full-size trucks would need a lot more, but there is plenty of space for smaller vehicles like hatchback cars.

How do I protect my stored car against insects and rodents?

Place mothballs that have been dipped in peppermint oil all around the car and set mouse traps. This should repel the pests, but be sure to block all the openings on your car, such as the exhaust, just to be safe.

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