10 Step Guide to Storing Your Car

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With all the chatter about extended Spring Break vacays around the dealership.  We thought we should share with you some tips on storing your ride while you are away, especially if it will be long-term.  You may think that simply parking your car in a garage or using a car cover will be sufficient.  However, if you are not going to use your car for more than a month, there are many more steps you need to take to prevent unnecessary damage and repairs.

  1. Get the oil changed.  Used engine oil has contaminants that could damage the engine.
  2. Fill the gas tank to help prevent condensation from accumulating in the gas tank and keep the seals from drying out. Add a fuel stabilizer and drive the car around a bit to distribute the additive to engine parts.  The fuel stabilizer will prevent the gas from deteriorating for up to one year.
  3. Wash and wax your car to protect the finish.
  4. Place a vapor barrier on your garage floor. A 4-mil polyethylene drop cloth will work.
  5. Disengage the parking brake to help avoid brake corrosion.  You can use a tire stopper to prevent the car from moving.
  6. Take the wheels off and put the car on jack stands to take the weight of the vehicle off the wheels and tires.
  7. Disconnect and remove the battery to keep it from draining. Place the battery on a trickle charger, which is a device that hooks up to your car battery on one end and plugs into a wall outlet on the other. It delivers just enough electrical power to prevent the battery from discharging and will ensure that you do not lose the stereo presets, time and other settings.   
  8. Plug the tailpipe with a rag to prevent moist air from infiltrating into it.
  9. If possible, get someone to start the car every two weeks and drive it for about 15 minutes. This will maintain the battery’s charge and therefore eliminate the need to remove it while it is in storage.  It will also keep the engine and other components properly lubricated.
  10. Contact your auto insurance company before temporarily cancelling your coverage in an effort to save money.  There is a chance that the insurance company will raise your rates due to the gap in coverage, which could cost you more in the long run.

Sources:  edmunds.com, rd.com

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