Whether you’re storing your favorite classic car ahead of the next car show, stowing away a convertible for better weather, or simply keeping an underused truck safe in your garage, your vehicle needs some preparation before you store it. Follow this car storage guide to prevent damage to your vehicle.
How to Store a Car or Truck
- Remove the antenna and windshield wipers.
- Put your vehicle in park (but don’t set the parking break).
- Wash, vacuum, and wax your vehicle until the interior and exterior are clean and dry. Water, salt, dirt, and bird droppings in even small quantities can damage your car’s paint job over time, and food crumbs stuck in the interior can attract pests. Truck beds should be thoroughly cleaned and dried.
- Remove the battery. Unused batteries can corrode and lose their charge over time. You can either store it in a clean, dry, temperature-controlled area or recycle the current battery and replace it when you’re ready to drive the vehicle.
- Fill the gas tank and add a fuel stabilizer to prevent the fuel from separating. A full gas tank will prevent extra strain on the valves from trapped moisture.
- Change your oil and air filter to avoid damage to your engine and top off your coolant to make sure your vehicle is ready to roll when you eventually start it.
- Keep dust and pests out of the exhaust pipe by plugging it up with a rag. Be sure to remove the rag before attempting to start the vehicle.
- Either inflate your tires to their maximum pressure or place your vehicle on jack stands to prevent flat spots from forming.
- Protect your vehicle from dust, pests, or the outdoors using a breathable, weatherproof cover.
- It’s not necessary to occasionally start a vehicle that has been stored properly, but after it’s been in storage for a while, you should warm it up before driving it.