So you don’t need your vehicle for a few months, and you’re looking at storage options. Good news! You’re on the right track to properly storing your vehicle. Finding a good location for your vehicle is the first step to proper long-term storage.
But don’t forget there are other steps too!
Below, find out everything you need to know about safe and secure storage of your car while you don’t need it — plus, important information about handling auto insurance.
Step 1: Finding the Right Storage Location
As stated above, you’ll first need to find a good location for your vehicle’s storage. This means locating an indoor garage, barn, storage unit, or other building — preferably, one with concrete floors. The goal of the storage location should be to protect the vehicle from the elements and from pests and rodents.
Step 2: Securing Adequate Insurance During Storage
Many people who are going to be storing a vehicle for a long duration of time wonder whether they should keep their auto insurance or not. Generally speaking, collision and liability insurance won’t be necessary while your car is not being driven.
Still, however, if you are in the process of paying off the vehicle, lenders won’t allow you to remove this type of insurance. Moreover, you’ll run into problems when you inevitably reinstate your insurance if you have a lapse in insurance while your vehicle is in storage. Many insurance companies will see this as a red flag and may charge you higher premiums. Even if you do decide to remove collision insurance, also keep in mind that the savings may not be worth it if your vehicle is only being stored for several months.
Lastly, never remove comprehensive coverage from your auto insurance plan, and if you don’t yet have comprehensive coverage, get it. As an example of what could happen if you don’t have this type of coverage, consider this:
You put your vehicle into storage for several months while you’re away on vacation. But while you’re gone, someone enters your garage and completely vandalizes your vehicle, stealing parts from the engine bay. Without comprehensive coverage, all of the damage needs to be fixed and paid for out of pocket.
Comprehensive coverage would have covered damage like this as well as damage from fire, building collapse, and other unexpected events.
Step 3: Maintaining Your Vehicle Prior To Storage
Before putting your vehicle into storage, take these tune-up steps:
- Fill up the antifreeze, coolant, and other fluids to their maximum levels
- Fill the gas, and don’t forget to add a fuel stabilizer (STA-BIL is recommended)
- Inflate the tires
- Park the car and turn the wheels completely to one side to prevent it from moving
- Do not use the parking brake during storage
- Prevent mice from living in or gnawing away at your vehicle by putting some mothballs or fabric softener sheets on the floor around your vehicle’s tires and inside the car and trunk
- Take out the vehicle’s battery if possible
- Hook the battery up to a “battery tender” either inside or outside the vehicle
- Wash your vehicle thoroughly on the inside and out
Step 4: Starting Your Vehicle The Right Way When You Return
Last but not least, don’t forget that when you return to your vehicle after storage, you’ll need to check a few things before turning the engine on:
- Check all fluids
- Check tire pressure
- Change the oil
- Check for any signs of rodents
- Reinstall the battery