How to Prepare Your Car for Long Term Storage in 2020

It doesn’t matter whether you are a new car owner or experienced car owner, having the right knowledge of long term car storage is the necessity if you want to keep your vehicle safe and sound. And this is why today here we are sharing some of the most essential tips for long term car storage and also explaining how to prepare your car for long term storage in a proper way.

Amongst all the luxurious things available for the benefit of the people, cars still hold one of the topmost positions. Though there are many people who can afford a car at today’s time; thanks to the easily available installment options and other such benefits, maintaining a car is still a thing to worry for many who own a car!

Questions like how long can a car sit without being driven? how long can a car sit without being started? Or what are the things that you should look into when you are planning for long term storage of the car is necessary, no matter what car you have!

how to prepare your car for long term storage
How to prepare your car for long term storage (Image Credit: CoverSuper)
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Whether it’s an SUV, a luxury car or any other small car, you must be accurate with its maintenance from time to time so that the vehicle does not face any problem while you return to drive it to your destination.

Amongst all the maintenance options available for the car owners, keeping it in a good position when you are not driving it is indeed a tough task. People wonder how to prepare a car for long term storage when they have to keep it without driving it for a longer period. There are many ways and forms using which you can keep your car in good condition even when you are not driving it for a long time.

Here, in this article, we will discuss how to prepare your car for long term storage in detail. Let us know more below.

How Long Can a Car Sit Without Being Driven?

Sometimes people may have to leave their cars untouched for a while. The time period may be of a few weeks or even a few years depending upon their needs. In such cases, questions like how long can a car sit without being started? how long can you leave a car without starting it? Or what happens to the car when it is untouched for long may cross the mind of the car owners.

Before you make the car sit for too long you must know the crucial points that affect the car life when it is isolated. Firstly, the battery might be affected and lose charge day by day, then the gas tanks can also show signs of isolation and can develop moisture.

You can also notice the accumulation of unwanted visitors like rodents and other types of pests. Sometimes the tires can also develop flat spots when the car is not used for long. Thus, to avoid such things from occurring, you must know how to prep a car for long term storage so that your vehicle does not disappoint you once you come back to driving it.

So, you must try to not leave your car untouched for two weeks maximum as after that it might show up these signs and stop starting as well. If at all you need to leave your car untouched for more than two weeks, you must take the necessary precautions to keep it in a good condition which we shall discuss next. Keep reading and find out what happens when a car sits too long and how to prepare your car for long term storage.

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What Happens When a Car Sits for 2 Years?

Sometimes it happens that you are not required to drive your car for a definite time period due to which your car can develop some sort of issues. This time period can be a few weeks or more than a year. if your car sits idle for 2 years without getting started or used for at least once, it can develop various problems. If you are wondering what happens when a car sits for 2 years then here is your answer:

  • Your car’s fuel pump can stop working properly
  • The car battery can die down entirely
  • The car fluids can become useless
  • The tires may become withered
  • The gas tanks can develop moisture
  • The brakes may not work properly
  • Rodents and other pests might start accumulating inside the car

As the car can slip into a really bad condition when you do not use it for over a year, it is better to know the details of what happens when a car sits too long so that you do not face any unconventional problems when you come back to starting it again.

what happens when a car sits for 2 years
What happens when a car sits too long? (Image credit: State Farm)

Sometimes, it can happen that you need to go out for a longer time period or you are shifting base to some other country for a few years and supposedly you would not carry your car along with you for the time being. That is when you need to put your car to rest and thus, it remains untouched for years.

In these times, long term car storage plans come into existence as it can help you keep your car in a good condition even if it remains untouched for years. Wondering how to keep your car in good condition for years? Well, we will discuss that below.

How to Prepare Your Car for Long Term Storage

If you are willing to keep your car on long term storage then here are a few tips that you should look out for so that you know how to keep your car in a better condition. Now let’s read on and find out how to prepare your car for long term storage accurately:

Find the Right Storage Location

This is one of the most definitive measures that you should take while keeping your car in storage. When you are intending to keep your car in storage. Because if your car is not in the right hands then your suffering would be more than what you expect.

Wondering Where can you store your car for the long term? Well, you should look out for some ethical and trustworthy stuff before you hand over your car to the designated authority. Firstly, you should look out for their years of experience in the field.

When you hand over your vehicle to someone who is experienced in dealing with such services, you can be more assured of proper handling of your vehicle. If the company is new in the block, you must verify their authorization and servicing capabilities before handling your car to them.

These things matter the most when you are finding the right storage location for your car. Also, you must check on the prices they have to offer and compare them to choose the right storage location for your car. You cannot really afford to trust some untrustworthy services for taking care of your car while you are away!

Check Your Paperwork

This is one of the most important things to do when you are intending to keep your car in storage for a longer period. You must be aware of all the paperwork that is necessary when you are leaving your car with the storage units.

Go through all the points mentioned in the paper they provide to you so that you can get accustomed to all the terms and conditions before signing the agreement. Also, ensure you get all the sufficient car services that are needed to keep your car in good condition till the time you return.

On another note, you must also be quite aware of the fact that you are trusting some unknown strangers with your costly vehicle and you should not leave any stone unturned to make sure it is in safe hands. So, you must know in detail about the insurance and other similar facilities that you would get if in any case your car is damaged during the period.

Apart from that, you should also keep all your car’s documents along with you, both the original and the xerox copies so that you do not face any kind of legal troubles in case there is any kind of issues with the car storage.

Fill the Gas Tank

Whenever you have to leave your car on the storage units for a longer period, you should keep the fuel gas tanks filled fully. Sometimes people face emergency conditions wherein if the car gas tank is empty, it can create unnecessary problems both for the car and the storage unit servicing employees.

When you fill the gas tank as part of your long term storage plan you can get benefited in many aspects. Your fuel tank won’t retain moisture when it is filled and thus, help the tank seals from drying out inevitably while the car is in storage for more than 30 days.

Apart from filling the fuel tanks, you must also buy a fuel stabilizer. It is of many uses that include helping your car fuel tanks remain protected against rust, varnish, and other similar conditions. You can expect the car fuel engine to remain in good condition and prevent dryness for up to 12 months when you use the fuel stabilizer alongside filling it up entirely during the isolation period.

Change the Oil

This is necessary only when you are putting your car in storage for at least more than 30 days. If you are storing your car for a week or two then you might not need to do this. Hence, changing the oil is a part of long term storage of the car and not for short term storage.

It is necessary to change the oil because if it remains in the engine for more than a month or so, it can damage the engine effectively. It is necessary to change the engine oil once a while even when the car is in running condition. And when it is in a stagnant condition for a longer period, it is sure to damage your engine when it is not changed.

In case, if you are still wondering how long can a car go without an oil change, how often should you change your oil in a car, and what happens if you don’t change the oil in your car then check out our car oil change guide where we have covered almost all the details regarding changing car oil.

Even if you change the oil and then put the car in storage you must also ask the service providers to change it frequently as the engine oil can harm the vehicle when it’s inside for a longer period. Thus, considering changing the engine oil is one of the many things that you must look forward to when putting the car in storage.

Disconnect the Battery

Well, this one might not be an active option to those who want to keep their car in exactly the same position it is in but if you want to enhance the battery life of your car then you must try and disconnect it while it is put in storage and isolation for years.

It might make some unnecessary changes to your system like the time setup may change, the stereo system won’t work, the lights may not lit but it will be beneficial to the overall vehicle and when you return to using it after a while you will be able to fix these issues without any hindrance.

It is easy to disconnect the battery, you just need to remove the negative cell and it will automatically switch off several functions that run on the battery. Once you return to using your car, you can charge the battery once and use it to start the car again. Also, if you are putting the car in storage then you can ask the service providers to look after the battery and charge it frequently if at all you don’t have ways to remove it.

Don’t Leave the Handbrake On

While putting your car in storage you must never leave the handbrakes on. When you leave the handbrake on and keep the car in storage for a longer period it may make contact with the rotors and might fuse. This may cause the brake to be damaged and hence, you have to change it again when you come back to using your car after the isolation period.

One thing that you can do to prevent the car from moving is that you can buy a chock or better known as a tire stopper easily available in the market which shall help you prevent the car from moving. These are not too pricey and easily affordable by any car owner.

If the brakes get fused with the rotor, the repairing charges may be very expensive. So, it is best that you avoid keeping the handbrake on and use a tire stopper instead so that you can prevent the expensive brake repairing cost and also stop the car without much hindrance. This is one very important thing to look out for once you are putting your car on long term storage.

Put the Car on Jack Stands

If you are wondering how to prepare a car for long term storage then this is a thing to consider. Always use a jack stand while you leave the car in long term storage. This ensures that your car’s tires are safe from flattening and exhausting due to bad weather conditions.

The car jacks can be easily found in the car parts stores and you can buy one according to the size and model of your car. When buying a car jack, consider something which is durable and hard so that it can take the weight of the car tires easily.

When you use the car on the cake stands, it saves you from many types of damages like the tire is saved, the car can remain cleaner due to upliftment from the floor, it won’t be affected by unnecessary circumstances and other such benefits.

A car jack stand is very beneficial for the long term storage plans if you do not want to come back to a damaged tire which you have to change or repair later on. Even if you are putting your car in storage, ask them to use jack stands instead of keeping your car on the floor gradually.

Keep Rodents Out

One of the most convenient ways of how to prep your car for long term storage is that you should find ways to keep rodents out of your car for a longer time period. What you should do is that you must find ways to keep the rodents out by sparring anti-rodent spray as a preventive measure.

The critters or rodents can hide anywhere inside the car and it can make your ride uncomfortable when you use the car on your next trip after returning from the long term isolation period. These rodents can also chew up several parts of the car when they are inside it.

So, it is verily needed that you must find ways to keep the rodents out of your car in any way possible. You can cover such open gaps from where they can enter, next you can use steel wool, spare mothballs and dip cotton swabs in peppermint oil and spread on the perimeter of the car to prevent the accumulation of the rodents around your car.

Make Sure Your Car is Clean Inside and Out

This is very important while you keep your car for long term storage. Cleaning the exterior and interior is very necessary as an uncleaned car might attract a lot of things that are surely unwanted. Like it can smell foul if it is not clean or several critters or rodents might accumulate when the car surface is not clean and several other things might happen.

If there is water bird droppings or water stains on your car than it can damage the paint also. So, it is better to clean the car externally and internally so that you do not have to return back to a damaged car.

It is not easy to keep the rodents out when the car is not being used by you for a long time. Several rodents and other pests might accumulate inside the car, more so when the surface is not cleaner. So, you must clean the car before putting it on long term storage.

Lubricate the Car

When you put the car in storage, you will definitely put it on for years where the car may see many climatic changes and winter is one of them. In the cold wintry days, the car door and locks might become freezing and you might face problems in opening them once you return back to using a car after the isolation period.

That is why you must lubricate the car when you intend to put it on storage. You can use white lithium grease or silicone lubricants for the car tires and you can use graphite-based lubricant for lubricating the locks of the door and window seals.

When you use the lubricants, it does not only help you survive the cold freezing temperature but also helps you to keep your car in good condition once you return back to using it from the long term storage period. Always try to buy the lubricant of good quality and company so that it lasts longer and works finer in your car. If you buy cheap products, it might not work well enough to protect your car from freezing.

Use a Car Cover to Keep It Covered

It is a very general thing to do while putting the car in long term storage. Covering the car entirely is the most basic thing to follow when you put your car on long term storage. Of Course, you need to clean it properly and do the other necessary things like finding ways to keep the rodents out or putting the car on jack stands and other such stuff before putting the cover on it.

When you cover your car or save it from many kinds of external temptations like bad weather conditions, child abusiveness, scratching and denting, bird toppings, etc. Always try to cover the car fully using a large-sized cover as it can protect the car in a better manner.

Drive the Car Periodically (If Possible)

Though while you are putting the car in storage, it might not be possible that the car is driven frequently. But if you can ask someone to do that for you then it can prove to be very beneficial for your car. When the car is driven frequently and does not sit idle for long, it generally remains in a better position as compared to it being idle.

How long can a car sit before the engine goes bad? Well, not many days! As there is a certain time period after which the car engine needs to start up and so, you must think of asking someone to drive your car frequently if possible even when you cannot attend to your car while you put it in storage for a longer period. If you put the car in storage, they can also drive it frequently and keep the car in a better condition.

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What are the Benefits of Putting Your Car in a Storage Unit?

There are several benefits of putting a car in a storage unit while you are away for a longer time period. Some of these benefits are mentioned below. Read on

Benefits #1: Damage control

Wondering What are the benefits of putting a car in storage? Well, the most significant benefit is that it helps your car remain out of damage. When you leave your car untouched for over two years or a longer period than that, you cannot imagine the kind of damage that can take place no matter how carefully you park it.

Right from the damage of the interiors to the exteriors, every part can deteriorate with time. For keeping your car safe and out of damage, you must know how to prep your car for long term storage and thus, take the help of the storage units for accomplishing the work.

The car storage units take care of your car like their own and would make sure it remains out of any kind of internal or external damages. They guarantee you the damage control of your car while you’re away for a longer period so that when you come back to using it, you find it in the same condition as you had left it with the storage unit.

Benefits #2: Maximum Security

It’s easy to assume that your car would be in a safe and secure zone while you travel outside for long years but it is not actually the same scenario always. Your car remains vulnerable to threats of many kinds which even includes stealing and damaging the same.

Thus, to avoid any such things from happening, picking a storage unit to keep your car while you go outside is the safest way possible to protect it from any kind of unconventional associations. You get ample security and can also remain assured of the fact that your precious car is in safe hands while you are traveling somewhere or using some other modes of conveyance for the time being.

One of the most sought after long term storage plans for your car is to keep it with a storage unit so that you can protect it from all kinds of unwanted damages during this isolation period. You must find one suitable and trustworthy car storage unit for keeping your car with them for a longer period.

Benefits #3: Access to Routine Detailing Services

When you have to go out for a long time and you cannot carry your car along with you, you may wonder stuff like how long can a car sit before the engine goes bad or how would your car survive such isolation periods? Well, to help you out with such thoughts the car storage unit is there with their fancy and detailed services.

When you leave your car in the storage units, they do not only take care of the vehicle till you return but also provide you with all the small details of the car servicing that they are providing to you when you leave the car with them. You get every detail communicated to you, whether it is about starting your car once a while or changing its fuel tanks and everything else!

People wonder what happens when a car sits too long and they fear that they might return to a damaged car but with the storage units taking possession of your car till you return, you must rest assured that your favorite vehicle is in safe hands.

Benefits #4: Variety of Options

The number of options that you get when you put your car on storage units is huge. You can choose from ample of options available in the market today to keep your car safer when you are going out for years. But before finalizing any such car storage unit, make sure you compare the prices of several units available in your local area.

How much does it cost to store a car in storage? Well, as mentioned earlier in this article, it all depends on the car model, size and the number of days you are using the facility of car storage.

If the time period is lesser, it will obviously cost you less but if the time period is more and the car is also luxurious then you may have to shell out more money in order to get the services done. You should look out for the best options available and also compare the prices before finalizing a car storage unit for your dearest four-wheeler.

Benefits #5: Peace of Mind

No matter whether you are going for a long business trip, family trip or shifting base to someplace else for a few years if you are leaving your car back at your home where there is no one who can take care of it or start it often, then obviously it would affect your mental peace to some extent.

How long can you leave a car without starting it? Well, not many days as the battery can go completely dead if you do not start your car frequently. It does not mean you have to drive it a few kilometers to sustain its battery life, but if you want your car to be in good condition even if you have no one to look after it, then you can easily put it in a storage unit where there are people working day and night to ensure that your car in safe hands.

Thus you remain at peace of mind when you do this while going out for a longer time period. The most convenient and easy long term car storage plan is to leave out a storage unit and wait till you return as they would definitely take good care of your precious vehicle.

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How Much Does It Cost to Store a Car in Storage?

When you are intending to go out for a longer period or have other options for conveyance apart from your car, then you must look upon several ways to keep the vehicle in good condition during the time of isolation. Out of all the good options available for the same, keeping your car in storage seems to be a good idea to keep the vehicle in the best condition until you return.

Are you wondering how much it costs to put a car in storage? Well, it depends entirely on the car model and the time period for which you want to keep the car in the particular storage. It depends on some more factors like whether the car is in proper running condition or not, whether the car engine and other parts are in good condition or not, etc.

According a storage unit price comparison guide published on the HomeAdvisor:

The average storage unit costs $20 to $450 per month. For example, the cost to fill a 10×10 self storage unit will typically cost $80 to $160 per month. While the cost to store a car or RV can range anywhere between $45 and $450 per month, depending on the size. Climate controlled storage may cost an additional $50 per month.

Storage Unit SizeMonthly Price
5×5$40 – $50
5×10$35 – $60
10×10$80 – $160
10×15$100 – $200
10×20$120 – $280

Thus, you cannot really calculate the exact car storage prices until and unless you know these factors entirely. The car storage companies would make your bill according to the conditions and rest assured you would receive the best services from them to keep your car in a good condition if you have to leave it untouched for too long.

When you find a good car storage facility for your car, do not hesitate to leave it under their expert supervision as it might cost you more if you keep the car in your own garage for a longer period without someone actually using it!

Most Essential Tips for Long Term Car Storage

It is not easy to maintain a car, more so when you have to keep it in storage for a longer period. The reason behind the storage can be anything from weather complications to long term tour plans and many more things.

So, you need to know the important long term car storage tips before you keep your vehicle in storage so that when you return back to using it again, you do not suffer from any kind of non-maintenance issues. You must know these so that even if you have to keep your car untouched for a while, you can return back to it in a well and good condition.

Although according to me it is good if you can start your car once a while even if you are not using it for a longer period and do all the maintenance stuff to keep it in good condition. But still, you may need to know how to prepare your car for long term storage and all the accurate methods of long term car storage in case you cannot attend your car for a longer time period.

The above-mentioned tips and formulas for preparing your car for long term storage is good enough to follow if you intend to keep your car untouched for long.

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About Amy Cuban

I am an automotive enthusiast who loves to be around cars. I enjoy working on cars in my spare time and love anything related to automobiles. I like using different types of car accessories, car gadgets, and innovative car care products.

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