How to prep your car for extended time away

Posted on October 5, 2016

Leaving your car for an extended period of time? Whatever the reason for your time away from the vehicle, you'll need to put it in storage. If you simply let your vehicle sit on the street or in a garage for an extended period of time, you may return to a dead battery or - worse yet - a damaged engine, ruined tires or a rat's nest under your hood.

You should do the following to prep your car...

  • CLEAN YOUR CAR - Water stains or bird droppings left on the car can damage the paint.
  • CHANGE THE OIL - Consider getting the oil changed if you will be storing the vehicle for longer than 30 days.
  • TOP OFF THE GAS TANK - This will prevent moisture from accumulating inside the fuel tank and keep the seals from drying out. Prevent ethenol buildup , engine from gum, varnish and rust with a fuel stabilizer, this will prevent the gas from deteriorating.
  • KEEP BATTERY CHARGED - Arrange for someone to start and run the car and occassionaly run the AC to keep components working and air fresh. Or a trickle charger or disconnect the negative battery cable.
  • PREVENT FLAT TIRES - Arrange for someone to drive your car. If vehicle is left stationary for too long, the tires could develop flat spots. Place cardboard or tire matts under tires if left stationary.
  • KEEP CRITTERS OUT - Steel wool in tailpipe, cover air intake, (remember to remove before starting car). Place peppermint packets and mothballs to repel mice.
  • DON'T USE PARKING BRAKE - For long storage if the brake pads make contact with the rotors for too long, there is a chance that they might fuse. Use (chock) tire stopper.
  • COVER THE CAR - A garage is the ideal place to store a vehicle. If no garage look into public storage. If you have to leave the car outdoors, consider getting a weatherproof car cover to keep it clean and dry.
  • MAINTAIN INSURANCE - Always check with your insurance agent if leaving your car stored, or having someone start and drive it for proper coverage.