Vehicle Storage comes with several questions. First, what size unit will be needed to store a vehicle? Next, what needs to be done to the vehicle before storage? Then, does the self-storage facility have any specific requirements to store a vehicle? Lastly, how long will the vehicle be stored? Knowing the answers to these questions will help decide the best choice for vehicle storage. Therefore, ask these questions before deciding on a storage unit for a vehicle.
What Size Storage Unit Is Needed For Vehicle Storage?
The best answer to this question lies with; “What size is the vehicle?’ Most people have no idea how long their vehicle is without taking a tape measure and measuring the vehicle. Is there a faster way to figure out the size storage unit needed for vehicle storage? There is! It comes down to a couple of simple questions. Is it a car or a truck? Does it have two doors or four?
If the answer is a two-door car, then the storage unit will need to be at least a 10×15. If the answer is a four-door car, then the unit will need to be at least a 10×20. Lastly, if you said a truck, the smallest unit is a 10×20 as all trucks are over fifteen feet in length. A 10 by 20 will accommodate most passenger trucks.
What Should Be Done To A Vehicle Going Into Storage?
A little prep work before a vehicle goes into storage can save time when it comes to taking it out of storage. A quick trip to the mechanic can give you peace of mind. Let the garage know this is a pre storage checkup. The mechanic will check the following things.
- Test the battery (a weak battery can go flat and freeze in the winter making it useless)
- Verify the antifreeze is at a satisfactory level for the geological location
- Change the oil (having fresh oil helps with lubrication)
- Check the tire pressures
PRO HINT: If the vehicle inspection runs out during the storage time, ask the garage to perform an inspection. Therefore, it will not be an issue when the vehicle comes out of storage
What Can The Vehicle Owner Do To Protect The Vehicle During Storage?
Now that the garage or the DIY’er has completed the pre-storage inspection, what else can be done to protect the vehicle? For added protection complete the following steps. It seems like a lot but ultimately the preservation of the vehicle while in storage is the most important thing. It will be worth the extra effort.
- Wash and wax the vehicle to protect the finish.
- Clean all food containers or crumbs from the vehicle to prevent rodents from invading.
- Add rodent protection. Use moth balls or dryer sheets in the interior and engine compartments of the vehicle. (Shaved Irish Spring Soap is another great alternative)
- Use a rubber protect on the tires to prevent cracking while in storage
- Lay down a plastic sheet or super absorbent pads under the engine compartment. (Most self-storage facilities require some sort of protection for the floor and to help protect the other tenants from leaking fluids from a stored vehicle. This protects the vehicle owner as they will be responsible for any spills)
- If using a vehicle cover be sure it is made from breathable material. Moisture trapped under a cover not breathable will cause damage to the finish.
- To prevent mold and mildew in the trunk, purchase and install some water absorbent tubes that are mildew resistant.
- Purchase and use Fuel Stabilizer.
DAY OF STORAGE:
- Fill the gas tank ¾ full and use the fuel stabilizer (this protects the gas from breaking down while in storage. Fuel starts to break down after 30 days (about 4 and a half weeks))
- Lay down the plastic sheet or absorbent pads and drive the vehicle into storage.
- Disconnect the battery unless the manufacturer recommends not to because of the onboard computers.
- Install the water/mildew absorbent tubes in the trunk as well as the rodent repellent of choice.
- Roll up the windows and use the rodent repellent of choice in the interior.
- Install rodent repellent of choice in the engine compartment.
- Verify the keys are not inside the vehicle.
- Make sure the parking brake is off, if a standard shift vehicle, that your wheels are blocked to prevent rolling.
- Cover the vehicle if using one.
- Lock the storage unit.
Are There Any Special Requirements For Vehicle Storage In A Storage Unit?
Most self-storage facilities will have specific requirements for vehicle storage. These requirements can range from proof of ownership, proof of valid insurance, pictures of any damage prior to being stored, drip pan or absorbent material under the engine area. Each storage facility will have their own requirements. It is best to check the requirements before renting a unit.
How Long Will The Vehicle Be In Storage?
This may not seem important, but it is particularly important. Vehicles stored longer than a year need extra prep at storage time. These things could be overlooked and would cause an issue when it came time to remove the vehicle from storage. Based on manufacturer’s requirements, remove battery for storage in a warm location. If the battery cannot be removed a battery tender or trickle charger will need to be installed to keep the battery charged. Check with the storage facility before renting to see if they offer units with electricity. Another major difference will be jack stands. These will alleviate the possibility of flat spots on the tires from long term storage. The weight of the vehicle can cause flat spots making the tires unusable when it comes time to drive it again. Then there is the possibility of engine rust. To prevent this, use an engine oil additive like Lucas Oil or TriboTEX Engine. These products have superior lubrication and remain on the engine components to prevent rust and dry starts. If possible, coming to start the engine periodically will prevent all the oil from draining away from the engine components and avoid rusting. While there check on the moisture tubes and replace if necessary to prevent mold and mildew. Freshen the rodent repellent when needed and consider installing small screen protectors over the exhaust and on the air intakes to prevent mice from invading your vehicle.
These steps may seem extensive but when it comes time to remove the vehicle from storage the benefits will be clear. As always before starting your vehicle remove all rodent repellent from the engine compartment and any screens used on the exhaust and air intakes. Check the tire pressures before removing jack stands or driving. In other words, doing all the prep work before storage will save time at the end of storage allowing the owner to drive away and enjoy more time on the open road.