Whether you’re moving to a different state, taking an extended vacation, planning a house renovation, or simply don’t want to use your car for some time, storing your car properly is crucial.
When it comes to storing your ride, you can’t simply park it anywhere and leave it unattended. It is essential to find a climate-controlled, safe, and secure location for the time period you will not be using it. However, short or long-term car storage is more challenging than storing other items, considering these are complicated machines and need regular maintenance. Therefore, it’s necessary to take proper steps and opt for a good storage unit to prevent costly repairs later.
In this article, we will discuss some expert tips on preparing your car for short or long-term storage, along with additional information on choosing the right storage facility in order to keep your car in pristine condition.
What Is Vehicle Storage and How Does It Work?
Simply put, vehicle storage is a service where you pay a fee to park your car, motorcycle, truck, or any other vehicle in a safe facility for as long as you want.
Depending on the type of storage facility service you pick, you’ll get different storage options to protect your vehicle, such as climate control, gated access, alarms, long-term and short-term storage, shared or personal storage facilities, covered/ uncovered units, etc.
Some facilities provide additional services like cleaning your vehicle, rotating tires, and other maintenance tasks, which of course, will keep your vehicle in running condition. In most cases, you’ll sign an agreement with the facility that outlines all perks, terms, conditions, and extra charges that apply. The facility may ask you to present proof of ownership and insurance of your vehicle as well to cover their bases.
Each storage unit differs from the others in terms of utility and price. While picking a vehicle storage space, you must ensure that it’s best suited for your car. Compact cars will have different space requirements than heavy duty trucks.
Need a convenient and affordable place to store your car in Arizona or Virginia? Contact us at Dose Moving and Storage to lease a short- or long-term car storage unit.
Types of Car Storage Options
There are different types of car storage units, with each offering some unique benefits. To provide the safest storage for your vehicle, knowing the types and whether it’s best for your vehicle or not is essential.
Here is detailed information on different types of car storage units suitable for various vehicles.
Climate-Controlled Storage Units
Extreme weather can take a toll on your vehicle, and it doesn’t spare the motor, either. Freezing temperatures can deflate tires, damage car batteries, make vehicle wipers brittle, and, at worst, thicken up the fuel, making it extremely difficult for your engine’s pump to circulate it. Car covers and unheated garages will not be the best at protecting your vehicle from outdoor conditions. Climate-controlled vehicle storage units, however, are key if you live in areas with harsh weather.
Storage facilities with climate control are equipped with heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems that keep the temperature and humidity levels stable inside the unit throughout all times of the year.
Temperature-controlled units are especially beneficial for a classic car like a Porsche or Jaguar. The leather interior of such cars is at risk when not kept in the proper conditions. Besides, when these cars are exposed to UV rays for an extended period of time, it can damage the paint, which affects the car’s value.
Indoor Car Storage Units
As the name says, indoor car storage units are enclosed spaces where you can keep your cars completely covered. These units can certainly protect your vehicle from rain or snow, but the cold winters and scorching hot summers may lead to car troubles.
States like Virginia experience these extreme temperatures, so if you are planning to store your car in the middle of the winter or summer months, you may want to opt out of indoor car storage units and find one with climate control.
Outdoor Car Storage
Outdoor car storage is basically designated parking spots in a guarded car storage lot. These are open spaces without any roofs. They are a good option in locations with mild weather as they do not provide any protection against weather changes.
Outdoor car storage is not the best option for long-term storage since it makes your car susceptible to extreme weather. As mentioned previously, long-term sun exposure leads to rusting, color fading, and more. The leather seats can crack if kept under direct sunlight, the rubber tires might melt, and the engine may have overheating issues.
Dust and debris can also cause significant damage to a car’s engine and exterior. Plus, rain and snow are other debilitating factors. Heavy snow can deform the car body, especially for cars with a soft top.
Covered Outdoor Car Storage
Covered outdoor car storage is an improved version of the outdoor storage solution. They have a roof over the lot to keep your vehicle somewhat protected from harsh weather. Covered parking spaces are a good option if you only want to leave your car for a couple of weeks, but are not meant for long-term storage.
Storage Tips for Short and Long-Term Protection of Your Car
Storing your car in an appropriate facility keeps the exterior and interior in good shape, but what about the motor? Here are some tips to ensure your car is safe and protected during the time it is sitting in a car storage facility.
Get an Oil Change
Engine oil contamination damages the engine when you leave unused oil for too long. You should get a fresh oil change before leaving it in storage space.
It is best if you add high-quality synthetic oil to your car as it keeps the engine protected from long gaps in oil changes. Besides, synthetic oil is good for all-weather protection.
Fill Up the Gas Tank
You must be thinking, why should I top off the gas when I won’t be driving the car for a long duration?
A filled tank will curtail moisture condensation and further prevents rust and corrosion from building up inside the tank. You should also consider adding a fuel stabilizer to prevent fuel from breaking down due to fluctuations in weather.
Another benefit of adding a fuel stabilizer is that it improves your car’s drive quality. It is important to note that if you leave your car for a year or more, the fuel will be useless. When you retrieve your car from the unit, it is best to empty the fuel tank and refill your car with fresh gas. Driving with unused fuel can cause issues like clogged injectors, engine knocking, and more.
Clean the Interior and Exterior
Dust, grime, and any other debris build-up can create real havoc for your car. These can cause scratches, color fading, and may weaken the metal.
Give your car a thorough clean; you might also apply a coat of transparent wax to the exterior to protect it from UV damage if you have chosen to opt for outdoor storage.
Don’t forget to clean the interior of your car as well. You should dust, vacuum, and wash the interior. Be sure to check all the compartments like the glovebox, cup holders, trunk, side compartments, and so on, to remove any perishable items.
Cars with leather interiors need more intensive cleaning. You should use a pH-neutral solution, spray it on a soft cloth (preferably microfiber) and gently clean the seats and other leather features. Don’t spray the solution directly into the seat as it may soak through it, especially if the seats are perforated. This may lead to further damage. Once done, use another clean, dry cloth to rub off any excess moisture.
Charge the Car Battery and Disconnect It
Make sure the battery is fully charged before you drop your car off for storage. The harsh weather can affect the battery’s health, so it might degrade over time. A fully-charged battery will still have the juice required to start the motor after the vehicle has been sitting there for a while.
Furthermore, disconnecting the battery from the terminals will also help to preserve the battery when you store your car for a long period of time.
Don’t Use the Parking Brake
The parking brake might be the first thing you engage when parking your vehicle. However, it’s not useful when storing your car for the long term.
An engaged parking brake can put stress on the braking mechanism and can damage it over time. A better alternative is to use tire stoppers, a wheel chock, or even a piece of wood to keep the car in place.
Elevate the Car
When a car remains unused for too long, it puts a lot of pressure on the tires. You can elevate the car on jack stands and, if you want, remove the tires as well. This is best if you are storing your car for at least 6 months.
Block the Tailpipe
Keeping the exhaust pipe open is nothing less than inviting pests, critters, and moisture. Little creatures are always on the hunt for a new home and they would love to hide inside your warm car. Pests will chew on the wires, make nests, and cause other serious issues, creating damage to the car. You will likely have a costly repair when you take your car out of storage.
It is best to thoroughly inspect your car and look for any holes, including the exhaust outlet, before storing it. Keep them covered with aluminum foil, steel wool, or a piece of old cloth.
Park Your Car on a Plastic Sheet and Cover Your Car
You should also park your car on a plastic sheet. The sheet will prevent ground oils from penetrating the wheels, and it will also keep the floor clean in case of any drips or leaks.
Don’t forget to cover your car. We suggest using a cover made from soft fiber that provides breathability instead of a tarp, sheet, or duvet. A soft fiber cover will prevent moisture condensation and won’t damage the paint on your car.
Benefits of Climate-Controlled Storage for Your Car
Without a doubt, a climate-controlled storage unit is better than non-climate-controlled storage. We have curated a list of reasons why below.
Protects Your Car From Harsh Weather
You already know how hot Arizona gets during summers and how cold Virginia gets during winters. Climate-controlled car storage will protect your car from such extreme weather by maintaining a stable temperature inside the unit and facility.
Furthermore, blazing sunlight with UV rays causes color fading, upholstery damage, and windshield cracking. While a car cover can give some protection, there is no better alternative than climate-controlled storage.
Keeps Dust and Debris Away
Climate-controlled storage units are often in storage facilities, which work as additional protection from dust and debris. Moreover, they keep insects or rodents away, saving your car from any further damage.
Clean and Fresh Air Circulation Preserves the Interiors
Enclosed climate-controlled units like the ones provided at Dose Moving and Storage continuously circulate the air and limit the air intake. It keeps the air quality clean and keeps humidity away, ensuring your car parts remain free from corrosion.
24/7 Camera Surveillance and Night Patrol
Even though you might have to pay a higher amount for a climate-controlled unit, you can rest assured that your vehicle is stored safely. You don’t have to worry about any thefts or someone damaging your car. Nothing equals the sense of security and peace of mind you achieve in leaving your car in these units.
Contact Dose Moving and Storage and Keep Your Ride Stored Safely
At Dose Moving and Storage, we understand your need to ensure your car remains safely stored while not in use.
Our well-equipped climate-controlled storage facilities can accommodate any type of vehicle, be it a sedan, a truck, an SUV, or a motorcycle. The storage units were designed to keep your car in good shape. Besides safety from the weather, your vehicles are also protected against thieves and other malicious actors.
Contact us to get a detailed quote, and book yourself a car storage unit in Arizona or Virginia.