There are various reasons you may need to store your vehicle for some time. You may be going on an extended vacation, or you are in the military and you are getting ready for an overseas deployment. Likewise, you may want to store your convertible for the winter, and avail of vehicle storage Tacoma providers offer.
Whatever your reason, you cannot just leave your vehicle sitting in a garage without preparing it, or parking it out on the street for a long period of time. It is not unreasonable to expect a damaged engine, punctured tires, dead battery, and find a family of rats establishing domicile under your hood if you do this.
The following are some important tips that you can keep in mind when preparing to store your car for the long haul. These can help preserve your engine’s useful life, and make sure you can get your car back on the road in no time once you come back.
Make Sure It Is Clean
While some people may think that washing the car before storing it may not be necessary, it is nevertheless an important step. Bird droppings or water stains left on the exterior can wreak havoc on the paint. Clean the fender undersides as well as the wheels to remove grease, tar, or mud. Give your car a generous wax coating for good measure.
Keep the Vehicle Covered
Your car is best stored in a garage to keep it safe from the elements. The temperature is likewise stable. Consider putting your vehicle in one of the public storage facilities near you.
This step may not be warranted if you are parting with your car for only a week or so. However, if you need to store the car for at least 30 days, you need to change the oil. According to car manufacturers, used engine oil contains contaminants that may damage your engine.
Keep the Battery Charged
When left unattended for a long stretch of time, your battery will lose its charge eventually. Ask someone to start your vehicle every other week, and if possible, drive it even for just 15 minutes each time. This way, the battery will maintain its charge and keep the various components like the engine lubricated properly. The air-con should also be run from time to time to keep the air quality fresh, and the parts in good condition. If you can’t find someone to start your car regularly while you’re away, you can have the negative battery cable disconnected or you can buy a battery tender.
Leave the Parking Brake Alone
While the habit of using the parking brake is normally a great idea, it is not so when leaving your car in a vehicle storage Tacoma facility. If there is constant contact between the brake pads and rotors, they will tend to fuse. You can instead buy a tire stopper or chock to keep the vehicle from moving.
Top the Tank Off
When storing the vehicle for more than a month, make sure that the gas tank is filled. This way, moisture won’t accumulate inside the tank, and the seals will not dry out. To prevent the build-up of ethanol, use a fuel stabilizer that will likewise protect your engine from rust, gum, and varnish for up to a year.
Avoid Getting Flat Spots
The tires must be inflated to the appropriate pressure. They can develop flat spots when left idle for a long time as the vehicle’s weight presses down on the footprints of the tires. The process happens at a quicker pace in cold temperatures, and with vehicles that come with low-profile or performance tires. Flat spots can become permanent, in which case, tire replacement may be necessary. Just having someone drive the car occasionally can help prevent flat spots. An alternative is to put the vehicle on jack stands with the wheels off.
Keep Critters Away
By keeping your car in a storage facility, it will be kept warm and dry. However, these same features make a garaged vehicle enticing to rats. Your car offers a lot of good hiding places for critters, as well as a lot of things to munch on. Cover as many gaps as possible where rodents can enter like the air intake and exhaust pipe. You can use steel wool for this. Then, spread some mothballs or peppermint-dipped cotton swabs along the car’s perimeter. Rats hate the smell.
Keep Your Auto Insurance Up-to-Date
Don’t think that just because your car will be in a vehicle storage Tacoma facility, it means you can cancel your car insurance. While you may be able to save some money initially, chances are your insurance provider will increase your premium due to the coverage gap. This may cost you more money over the long term. The rate increase varies based on your place of residence and your insurance provider. Thus, it is best that you call your insurance company to find out what your various options are.
Getting Your Car Back on the Road
Once you get back to your car, you would want to make sure that it is still roadworthy. Here are some things you need to check before taking your car out of the storage facility.
Windshield Wipers – Check if the wipers have brittle or cracked rubber.
Under the Hood – Check for traces of rodent infestation. Find out if there are chewed hoses, belts, and wires; and if there are nests left behind. If the air intake and muffler are covered, remove the covers before starting the car.
Tires – Check the tire pressure, and if necessary, inflate your tires to the ideal specifications.
Breaks – Rust usually accumulates on the rotors. However, it usually goes away once you start driving your car.
Battery Cable – If you disconnected the battery cable before storing the car, be sure to reconnect it. Likewise, don’t forget to clean the battery terminals.
Fluids – Make sure the fluids are at the ideal levels, and there are no leaks.
Be sure to keep the tips provided in this post in mind. This way, your car will be in good condition once you leave it in a storage garage, and when you get back to pick it up.