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Ask the Storage Experts: How to Prepare a Vehicle for Long-Term Storage

December 8, 2021
Photo of the Modern Storage facility in Bentonville, Arkansas. There is a row of parking spaces to the left showing parked RVs and a row of enclosed storage units with red doors on the right.

A vehicle left in storage for a long period of time could face serious damages. Mold, rust, flats…any one of these issues is possible without the right care and preparation!

But the storage experts here at Modern Storage ® did the research and have the experience to help you take the precautions necessary before putting your vehicle into long-term storage. Whether you’re renting one of our handy parking spaces or an enclosed, drive-up access storage unit, we hope you find these tips helpful.

Clean the Vehicle

It may seem counterproductive to clean your vehicle when it will not be seen while in storage—especially if it’s going to be behind a locked storage door—but any dirt, stains, or even water has the potential to damage the paint on your vehicle.

If you wanted to go a step further to better protect your paint, we recommend you wax your vehicle as well before storing it. Bonus points if you clean the inside to prevent mold growing from lingering food or moisture!

Change the Oil

Don’t forget to change the oil before putting your vehicle into long-term storage!

Getting an oil change will help keep your engine clean. Plus, if you routinely visit your vehicle and let the engine run for around 15 minutes, it will allow the oil to cycle through the engine and keep everything properly lubricated.

While checking your oil, don’t forget to check your other fluids and refill them as needed, too.

Fill the Gas Tank

It might sound like a waste of money to fill up your gas tank on a vehicle that’s going into storage, but a full gas tank helps lower the risk of any water making its way into the tank.

When adding gas to your tank, don’t forget to use a fuel stabilizer to increase the longevity of your fuel. Most products will prevent gas from deteriorating for up to 12 months!

Take Out the Battery

If left unused for a long period of time, the battery in your vehicle will eventually lose its charge.

One way to remedy this potential problem is taking the battery out of your vehicle and plugging it up to a battery tender. The device provides the battery with enough power to keep it from discharging!

Another solution would be to start the car and drive it every other week.

Though, keep in mind, if you store a vehicle long enough, the battery life will expire regardless. So, be prepared to purchase a new one!

Brace the Brakes & Tires

It’s wise to never leave the parking brake in your vehicle applied for long periods of time. The pads and rotors could fuse together, and the tires can develop a flat spot from the uneven weight distribution.

There is a simple remedy for both problems: using a good set of vehicle jacks to keep your vehicle off the tires!

At this point, you could even store your tires in one of our affordable climate-controlled 4x4 storage lockers or 5x5 storage units to prolong the life of the rubber!

Visit a Mechanic

If all this prep work sounds like too much for you to handle, you can always take your vehicle to a mechanic you trust.

They would be able to give you the tailored solutions your vehicle needs before, during, and after long-term storage!

We hope you know that you can trust us, too. Our storage experts know what they’re talking about, and our storage facilities are outfitted with all the best security features.

If you have any questions, contact a Modern Storage® location near you and speak to one of our associates for help picking out the perfect long-term vehicle storage solution to fit your needs.

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