How to Prepare Your Car for Long-Term Storage

How to Prepare Your Car for Long-Term Storage

7th Apr 2016

Most people who own cars drive them on a daily basis. Cars have become an almost necessity in the modern world, offerings a convenient and efficient means of transportation. But there are times when you may need to store your car for months or even years. Maybe you are taking a new job that requires you to travel out of the country, or perhaps you are joining the military. Regardless, there are a few precautions you should take when storing a car for an extended period of time.

Wash & Wax

It's always a good idea to wash and wax your car before long-term storage. Allowing dust and debris to remain on the surface may lead to oxidative damage of the paint. In turn, this may cause your car's paint to fade or even chip. Giving your car a good wash and wax beforehand, however, can protect it from this phenomenon.

Top off the Tank

Head to the nearest gas station to top off your car's tank before storing it. Storing a car with an empty or otherwise "not full" tank may result in the accumulation of moisture within the tank. And as you may already know, moisture can lead to rust and corrosion. In addition to topping off your tank, you can go one step further by adding a fuel stabilizer, such as Sta-bil, to help protect your engine from varnish and rust. Most fuel stabilizer products offer protection for up to 12 months, at which point their benefits begin to diminish.

Related Reading: Does Premium Gas Really Make a Difference to Your Vehicle?

Change the Oil

Many automakers, including Ford, recommend changing the oil before storing a car for long periods. Used engine oil often contains contaminants that may damage the engine, especially when left to sit for months on end. By changing the oil, however, you can rest assured knowing that the majority of these contaminants have been flushed.

Related Reading: The Ultimate Guide to Motor Oil

Don't Engage the Parking Brake

There's nothing wrong with using the parking brake when you're parked atop a hill or other inclined surface, but it should not be used for long-term storage. Engaging the parking brake will cause the brake pads to make contact with the rotors. If left in this state for long enough, the brake pads may actually fuse to the rotors -- a problem that can be difficult to fix. If you plan on storing your car on an inclined surface for a long period of time, consider using a chock (tire stopper) instead of the parking brake.