Let’s face it, our cars are like family to us, and they deserve a proper home. That’s why vehicle storage isn’t just a side thought—it’s a necessity. Whether you’re a proud owner of a vintage Corvette or you’ve just splurged on a brand-new Ferrari, safe and secure storage is essential to maintain your ride’s looks and performance.
There’s a lot more to storing a vehicle than simply parking it in a garage or on the street. It’s about choosing the right environment, prepping your car, and taking the necessary precautions to protect your investment. After all, isn’t your four-wheeled companion worth that extra care?
In this guide, we’re going to take a deep dive into the world of vehicle storage. We’ll cover the ins and outs, the dos and don’ts, and provide you with the best tips to ensure your car stays as fresh as the day it rolled off the lot. So, let’s get rolling!
What is Vehicle Storage?
When we talk about vehicle storage, we’re referring to a snazzy, custom-made unit that’s been built to keep your car, truck, motorcycle, or any other type of motorized beast safe and sound for the long haul.
This isn’t just any “car storage space,” no siree! It’s like a five-star hotel for your ride, equipped with a top-notch security system and a climate control setup to keep everything just right.
But it doesn’t stop there. These auto storage facilities are the Fort Knox of the car world. They’ve got strict rules that only allow authorized individuals to swing by and visit each vehicle. It’s like VIP access at a rock concert, only you’re the rockstar and your vehicle is the main event!
Storing a Car in a Storage Unit in 5 Steps
Determine Storage Unit Size
Your worst nightmare is snagging a storage unit that’s too snug for your ride. Before you seal the deal on any space, make sure to measure your vehicle – and remember, those mirrors need room too!
- Your trusty compact cars can squeeze into a traditional storage space that’s at least 15 feet deep with a garage-style door that’s a minimum of 8 feet wide.
- Those full-size automobiles, on the other hand, need a bit more legroom. They’re gonna need a space with at least 20 feet in depth (think 10×20, 20×25, or 20×30).
Perform Basic Car Storage Maintenance
Before you nestle your ride into its storage home, follow some essential upkeep steps to safeguard your prized possession.
- Pump your gas tank full of premium high-octane juice, this will act as a barrier against any unwanted moisture formation. More gas, less room for condensation.
- Add a dose of fuel stabilizer to your tank; it’s like a life-extension potion for your fuel, working its magic for up to a year. Just make sure to follow the manufacturer’s guide like your life depends on it.
- Give your car’s battery a break. Unplug it to stop any acids from breaking free and causing havoc. Batteries and winter? They’re not the best of pals. Plus, they tend to discharge when left alone for too long.
- Refresh or top off your car’s lifeblood – oil, brake fluid, and antifreeze – before tucking it away in storage.
Protect Your Car’s Finish and Deter Pests
Sometimes, we don’t realize how crucial this following step is. Stashing away your car when it’s still grimy and messy is like asking for trouble. It’s not just about tarnishing your car’s stunning finish; it’s also an open invitation for those pesky little critters. So, before you put that beauty in storage, here’s what you gotta do.
- Get that car of yours sparkling clean! Wash it, wax it, and make sure you get into all those nooks and crannies, like door jambs and under the hood.
- Time to spruce up the inside! Vacuum it, dust it off, and don’t forget to condition your vinyl surfaces. Not only does it keep your vinyl from drying out, but it also helps keep any nasty smells at bay and makes it less appealing to any rodents looking for a new home.
- If you’re planning to steam clean, just make sure you do it early enough so the interior has time to dry completely.
- Once your car’s at its storage spot, give it one last wipe down. This ensures you’ve got rid of any lingering dust, debris, or salt.
- Now for the finishing touch! Slap on a car cover to give your car’s exterior finish that extra layer of protection while it’s in storage.
Prevent Tires From Flat-Spotting
When it comes to long-term car storage, tires often end up being the first troublemakers. ‘Flatspotting’ is a pesky issue where your tire flattens out where it touches the ground, all thanks to gravity doing its thing over time. If your car’s gonna be parked for more than a month, think about propping it up on blocks or jack stands.
Now, let’s break down why jacking up your car is such a smart move:
- First off, it eases the burden on suspension parts, which slows down the wear and tear on bushings and shocks.
- Secondly, it helps the tires bear the weight of the car more effectively, warding off those dreaded flat spots.
But hey, maybe you don’t have a jack or blocks handy. No worries! Pump up your tires to the max air pressure recommended by the manufacturer before tucking your car away. Remember, tires can gradually deflate as temperatures swing and the days tick by.
Just keep in mind not to exceed the max air pressure—it’s right there on the side of your tire. Make sure to take the car out for a warm-up spin every few weeks or so.
Protect Your Car for Long-Term Storage
Once your four-wheeled beauty is safely tucked into its storage unit, don’t forget these additional pointers to keep it shining and running like a dream.
The rationale behind elevating your car is dual-purpose:
- Always keep those convertible tops raised, with windows shut tight and vents sealed off. Convertible tops can get those unsightly wrinkles when left folded for too long, especially in those chilly climates.
- Strive to find a storage spot that’s dark and dry, if you can. Leaving your car exposed to Mother Nature might lead to your cherished ride suffering from rust, corrosion, and sun damage. And let’s not forget about those pesky critters!
- If it’s feasible, crank up the engine and take your car for a short spin every few months. This helps all the mechanical and hydraulic components stay in tip-top shape.
- If you’re planning on storing a classic car or you’re in for the long haul of more than a year, it’s a good idea to chat with a car specialist to figure out any additional steps you might need to consider.
What Can Happen If You Store a Car INCORRECTLY?
Long-term automobile storage is like the ultimate spa for your classic beauty, keeping it revving smoothly while preserving its worth.
As a connoisseur of classic cars, you’re probably already on high alert for the blatant threats to your prized possession, such as those pesky day-to-day dings and even the graffiti artists in your neighbourhood. However, the slow, yet equally alarming, problems that arise from leaving your vehicle idle for extended periods might not be on your radar.
Ensuring your car is stored correctly isn’t as simple as tossing a cover on it and double-checking the garage lock. Here’s a look at five of the most prevalent hazards of getting car storage wrong, that might just be the wake-up call you need to find the nearest car storage solution.
#1. Corroded Paintwork
You’ve got a classic beauty with an original paint job that deserves to be shown off, not left to fade in the sun or corrode from grime left on the body before storage. Cleaning it thoroughly and drying it properly before storage are non-negotiable steps to maintain its lustre.
#2. Tyre Flat Spots
Your tires, designed for cruising the open road, don’t appreciate being stationary for long periods. Mishandle long-term car storage and you might face flat spots: sections of the tread that wear down excessively, causing a jarring vibration when you drive.
But there’s a workaround. Simply pump up your tire pressure by 50% and remember to move it slightly every couple of weeks.
#3. Mildew, Mould and Rust
First, it hits your nostrils, that unmistakable smell. Then, your eyes confirm it: the unwanted layer of dust on your carpets and leather seats, a clear sign your car storage wasn’t as bone dry as you believed.
Worse yet, where there’s moisture, there’s rust, a classic car’s worst enemy. If your pride and joy are stored in a private garage, at the bare minimum, consider exploring the variety of dehumidifiers available.
Go for a contemporary model that provides adjustable airflow to fend off mildew, condensation, mould, and overall dampness.
#4. Damaged Fuel Lines
Petrol may seem trivial when discussing long-term automobile storage facilities – but ignore it at your peril. Fuel left idle in your car’s tank deteriorates, eventually leading to a sticky mess in your fuel lines, pump, and tank.
Thankfully, there are ways around this. You could keep a small amount of fuel in the tank and top it up occasionally. Alternatively, fill the tank with high-octane or non-ethanol fuel, which takes significantly longer to degrade (if you go down this route, remember to add a fuel stabiliser).
#5. Mechanical Failures
Cars were never built to be motionless for extended periods, and a laissez-faire approach to car storage will wreak havoc on the mechanics – from dead batteries to seized brakes. Simply abandoning your car isn’t the way forward.
Instead, you should be firing up the engine and moving it at semi-regular intervals, to keep all the components running smoothly and flexibly. Naturally, there might be situations where this isn’t feasible, and that’s where Windrush Car Storage steps in.
Security Features You Can Consider on Your Storage Facility
Storing your car, your pride and joy, in a storage facility is like handing over the keys to your treasure chest. You’re banking on the fact that your precious ride is safe and secure. But let’s face it, the world isn’t as safe as we’d like it to be, and theft or burglary can sneak up on us.
So when the time comes to pick a storage home for your vehicle, you’d better be choosing one that treats security like the holy grail. That way, you can kick back and relax, knowing your car’s tucked away, safe from any mischief.
Now let’s look at some of the must-have security features you’d want to see on your hunt for the perfect car sanctuary.
Enclosed and Secure Transportation
The moment you pick your auto storage services, the safety dance begins! This includes any pick-up and drop-off services. If your precious ride is being transported, you’d naturally want it to enjoy a safe and secure journey.
Garage Keepers Insurance
The majority of storage joints come with some kind of insurance that’s got your vehicle’s back if things go south while it’s tucked away in the storage unit. This is in addition to any insurance you slap on your car while it’s hibernating.
You’d want to pick a car storage facility that not only provides protection plans but maybe even throws in some extra coverage for a little more dough.
Secure Vehicle Storage Personal Access
Now, there will be moments when you itch to take your beauty for a joyride; that’s why she’s yours, after all! Access to your vehicle at your secure storage facility should be a breeze, even though it’s safely tucked away. Take a good look at a facility’s personal access system. Can you get to your car without breaking a sweat? Is it safely stashed away from the prying eyes of other car owners using the same facility?
Secure Indoor Car Storage Security Aspects
Above all else, your chosen storage facility should be fortified with state-of-the-art security features to deter and thwart theft, burglary, and any other nefarious activities.
The premier barrier of defence at a solid car storage facility is an access-controlled gate. An increasing number of these places are adopting personalized passcodes to monitor who’s coming in, rather than a shared passcode for all. These unique codes should unlock gates leading to tall, sturdy fences — preferably topped with wire to deter any Spider-Man wannabes. The most secure facilities will flaunt infrared perimeter beams, alarm sirens, and flashing strobe lights, all ready to spring into action at any sign of unauthorized entry. And of course, any break-ins should immediately alert the police, the security company, and the facility’s owner.
Don’t underestimate the power of good lighting. It’s a game-changer for two reasons. First, it ensures you can access your storage unit even when the sun’s taken a nap. More crucially, it’s a major player in secure indoor car storage, keeping those pesky thieves at bay. It’s like a spotlight on a stage, making it harder for any ill-intentioned folks to sneak around unnoticed. Plus, the right lighting can turn nighttime security footage into a high-definition crime deterrent.
A plethora of secure car storage establishments operate with managers present round the clock, split across three shifts. These diligent folks keep an eagle eye on multiple camera streams without a blink. In certain high-risk situations or at more expansive locations, there could even be a manager dwelling within the premises, ready to spring into action at the first sign of trouble.
Much like the protective barrier of the facility gate, storage units armed with alarms are a stellar security attribute for safeguarding your cherished ride. These devices act as formidable barriers against intrusion and typically trigger alerts to the previously mentioned parties in the event of trespassing.
Video surveillance is a triple threat in the world of secure car storage, playing three crucial parts in fortifying facility security. Firstly, the mere sight of surveillance cameras can put off potential wrongdoers. Secondly, it facilitates unbroken monitoring via a CCTV system, fostering active surveillance from a security hub stationed within the facility. This live watch could be overseen by professional security personnel or the ever-vigilant on-site manager. Finally, video surveillance comes equipped with digital-video recording capabilities, offering the chance to review footage in retrospect should an unfortunate incident occur, providing valuable evidence in case of a successful breach. Certain facilities are now introducing individualized video surveillance for each vehicle, allowing patrons the luxury to keep tabs on their automobiles whenever they wish, thanks to the magic of the internet.
Why Storage Security is Vital
Now, you might be scratching your head, thinking, “Do all this beefed-up staff and high-tech security mean I’m gonna have to break the bank on car storage?” Well, here’s the deal: when a company goes all-in on security, it’s a win-win for both you and them, financially speaking. This stellar protection brings your insurance rates down a notch, giving your wallet a much-needed breather.
Sure, you might see a bit of a bump in your rental rate because of the extra security, but let me tell you, it’s worth every penny. It’s like buying a top-notch alarm system for your house – a small price to pay for peace of mind. After all, any bucks you shell out for security are gonna be a whole lot less than the cost of a shiny new ride, right?
How to Choose a Vehicle Storage Facility
Ready to gear up for a ride into vehicle storage? Let’s kick things off by deciding what kind of storage your ride requires. The model of your car or your plans for it during storage can steer you towards certain key aspects, including:
- The climate control abilities of the storage unit
- The geographical placement of the storage site
- The actions you’re permitted to carry out on your vehicle during its stay, like performing repairs, giving it a good scrub, or running maintenance checks
No matter where you park your baby, you’ll want to ensure it’s safe and sound. Regardless of the neighbourhood, cars and their parts can be a magnet for unsavoury characters.
As a result, it’s pretty smart to jot down a list of inquiries for each vehicle storage facility on your radar. For instance, you might want to ask:
- What’s your secret to maintaining the right environment within your units?
- What kind of security measures are in place, and can I peek at the security footage if I’m feeling uneasy?
- Can I hook up a security camera to my smartphone to keep an eye on my vehicle around the clock?
- Can I swing by to clean my car while it’s in storage?
- If I spot the need for a tune-up, is it cool if I or my trusted mechanic drops in to handle it?
- Is your location reachable via public transit in case I need to pick up my ride and don’t have a chauffeur on standby?
If any of your questions trigger a negative or guarded reaction, that’s your cue to hit the road and continue your search elsewhere. Safety first, folks!
What Are Your Options When Choosing a Vehicle Storage Facility?
When it’s time to pick a home-away-from-home for your ride, you’re looking at four main types of vehicle storage facilities: your very own private, indoor garages, shared indoor spaces, open-air parking spots, and those with a protective overhead cover. Now, let’s dive into the pros and cons of each choice, shall we?
Exclusive Indoor Units
An exclusive indoor unit offers you the luxury of a private, climate-regulated haven just for your car. With this, you’ve got zilch worries about another vehicle’s door nicking yours or any accidental scrapes and bumps from strangers. Plus, you’re granted the peace of mind that comes with top-tier security. Any bandit would first have to crack the storage facility’s external defence, then break into your specific unit to even get a whiff of your car. For some folks, this additional line of defence is a major bonus.
But hey, everything has a flip side. These exclusive indoor units are significantly more expensive compared to other alternatives. And finding one of these facilities can be like finding a needle in a haystack, which means you might need to embark on quite a journey just to stash your vehicle or retrieve it.
Communal Indoor Spaces
Opting for a communal indoor space also provides the advantage of a climate-controlled environment. This not only shields your car’s parts from harsh weather but also saves it from other troubles like road salt being shoved into your undercarriage by a snow plough or mud being splashed onto your shiny paintwork.
However, in a communal indoor space, your car is in the company of many others. As such, there’s a higher chance for your prized possession to suffer a little bump or scratch here and there. In some of these shared spaces, the management erects physical dividers between cars or allocates extra room around each parking spot to reduce the risk of damage.
Open-Air Parking Spots
An open-air parking spot could be just the ticket if you’re watching your wallet. If you’re only planning on stashing your ride for a short stint, this could be a no-frills solution. Some storage facilities might even be positioned so you can swing by and check on your vehicle, which might help you sleep better at night.
However, let’s not forget that an open-air spot means your vehicle is out there, baring it all to Mother Nature. Plus, the security might not be as tight, making it easier for some mischief-maker to get too close to your car or truck. Hence, these options are often more suitable for those who aren’t looking to store their vehicles for an extended pit stop.
Sheltered Parking Spots
Sheltered parking spots are like the goldilocks of storage options – not too hot, not too cold, but just right. They offer your vehicle a bit of a hideaway from the weather, which could be crucial if you’re worried about the sun playing havoc with your paintwork.
But tread carefully when you’re in the market for a sheltered spot for your car or truck. Some storage facilities might have a bit of a loose interpretation of the term “sheltered”. It could range from a full-on multi-storey car park to just a spot with a tin roof, akin to a carport. If this matters to you, it’s worth having a chinwag with the storage facility’s management team to make sure you’re on the same page about what sort of cover your vehicle will have, and whether that might change during its stay.
How to Prepare Your Vehicle for Storage
Prepping your ride for storage is just as crucial as picking out the right hideout for it. There’s a whole bunch you can do to make sure your sweet machine rolls out of storage looking just as fine as it did rolling in.
Special Considerations When Storing Antique Vehicles
Antique vehicles hold both sentimental and monetary value, and it’s important to take precautions to preserve their worth and condition.
- Raise your vehicle: If the storage facility permits, elevate your beloved vintage beauty using jack stands. This helps prevent the tires from making contact with the ground. Older tires may not have the same durability as newer models, and over time, the weight of the vehicle can cause them to warp or crack.
- Keep the gas tank full: To minimize the risk of rust, it’s essential to reduce the presence of air in the gas tank, especially in older vehicles. Fill up your tank with gas and treat it, ensuring there is limited empty space for air to enter.
- Choose a breathable cover: When covering your antique vehicle, opt for a breathable car cover instead of a plastic one. Plastic covers can trap moisture, leading to potential rust issues. By using a breathable cover, you allow moisture to escape, protecting your vehicle’s surface.
Prep Steps for All Vehicles
Regardless of your vehicle’s age or condition, it’s crucial to take the following steps to ensure it comes out of storage in top-notch shape:
- Oil Change: If your oil is old, it can thicken and become sticky, compromising its ability to protect your engine’s moving parts. Prior to storing your car, truck, or motorcycle, it’s wise to change the oil. This reduces the chances of starting your vehicle with subpar oil.
- Vehicle Detailing: Over time, leftover organic debris in your vehicle can promote mould growth or provide a cosy home for tiny creatures. Therefore, it’s best to thoroughly clean your vehicle before storage. Additionally, a well-done wax job can shield your paint from the sun’s rays and minor scratches.
- Battery Disconnection: Leaving anything on in your vehicle can drain the battery, making it difficult to start when you retrieve it from storage. To avoid this issue, disconnect the battery. Additionally, keeping the battery connected for an extended period without maintenance increases the risk of corrosion.
By considering these factors and carefully selecting the right storage facility, you can have peace of mind knowing that your vehicle will be in excellent condition when you’re reunited. Remember to jot down any questions you have beforehand, ensuring you cover all your bases when interviewing different storage providers.
Long-Term vs Short-Term Storage
Short-Term Storage: a Brief Pit Stop
Short-term storage is like a quick pit stop for your car; it’s essential, but it doesn’t take long. Maybe you’re heading out of town for a few weeks, or perhaps you just need to clear out the garage for a bit.
When you’re looking for short-term “storage for my car,” there are a few key things you should keep in mind. First, ensure your car is clean, inside and out, to prevent any pests from making a new home in your vehicle.
Second, keep your tank at least half full to prevent any condensation from forming. And finally, consider investing in a good quality car cover, especially if you’re opting for outdoor storage. It’s like a cosy blanket for your ride!
Long-Term Storage: the Long Haul
Long-term storage, on the other hand, is a whole different ball game. You’re in it for the long haul here, whether it’s because of an extended trip, military deployment, or maybe you’ve just added another classic beauty to your collection and need to free up some space at home.
The first step for long-term storage is finding the right spot. You might be thinking, “Where can I find good, long-term car storage near me?” Well, the answer to that depends on your car’s needs and your budget. If your car is a vintage or high-value model, you should definitely consider “indoor car storage.” It offers the best protection against weather elements and potential theft.
Now, prepping your car for the long haul requires a bit more work. You’ll need to change the oil, fill up the gas tank and add a fuel stabilizer, and disconnect the battery. Also, consider putting your car on jack stands to avoid flat spots on your tires. And don’t forget to check on your car from time to time; it’s going to miss you!
Securing Your Joyride: The Last Word on Vehicle Storage
So, we’ve been on quite a journey, haven’t we? I’ve shown you the ins and outs of vehicle storage, how important it is, and how to do it right. No matter the size, age, or model of your car, proper storage is essential.
Think about it – we’ve covered everything from the basic preparation to the security measures. I’ve handed you the key to prolong your car’s lifespan and maintain its value. So remember, indoor or outdoor, long-term or short, each choice you make in-vehicle storage matters.
It’s not just about putting your car away for a while, it’s about preserving your investment, your joyride, and your classic beauty. The road might be long, but with these vehicle storage tips, your car is ready for the journey. Keep it stored, keep it safe. See you on the flip side, folks!