Because of the restrictions put in place by the government curbing non-essential travel and the prevalence of work from home arrangements, many people have simply not been driving their cars and have left them sitting in their garages for months now. And like anything, there are ways to properly store your car during this pandemic. Simply letting it sit in the driveway unused is an invitation for trouble.
However, you can help your car stay in shape while it’s sitting for long periods of time with some effort and mindfulness. Taking the proper steps will help ensure that your car will remain in tiptop shape when it is finally time to get back on the road again, thereby avoiding the hassles of car repair. Here are some tips and considerations to store your car properly:
How To Store Your Car Properly
- Fill up the gas tank
- Change the oil
- Cover the air intake and exhaust outlet
- Elevate the vehicle
- Clean the Interior
- Clean the Exterior
- Don’t Use the Parking Brake If Possible
- Use a Car Cover
Fill Up The Tank
Most gas tanks are made of metal. When left empty, corrosion occurs due to moisture. Although this doesn’t happen overnight, you still wouldn’t want to risk changing your gas tank or clogging the fuel filter. To prevent this, just fill the tank completely to allow no room for air and water as these are very corrosive to the metal surfaces inside the tank.
Also bear in mind that fuel has lifespans. For conventional gasoline, usually lasts anywhere from three to five months in your gas tank. Diesel fuel, on the other hand, can last twice as long, around six to twelve months. Since these will not be usable after several months, make sure to drain them once you are ready to drive the car again.
Change the Oil
Whether the car will be sitting inside or outside the garage for several months, it’s best to change the oil first. Fresh, clean oil doesn’t have residue or anything that can damage the engine’s components while it sits for long periods of time. The residue from used oil may stick to the engine’s components and can cause trouble. Again, like fuel, oil has lifespans too. Depending on the oil you are using, make sure to drain it after the recommended period specified by the manufacturer.
Cover the Exhaust Outlet and the Air Intake
It’s not unusual for rats or pests to make their home inside the car. Closing up entry holes would prevent them from doing so. Do this by stuffing a rag into the exhaust or sealing it off with aluminum foil. Do the same for other openings like the air intake. Just remember to clear these entry points before re-starting and driving the car.
Elevate the Vehicle
Tires are flexible, this flexibility helps the car move smoothly for a comfortable ride. However, when a car does not move for extended periods of time, the constant weight at the bottom part changes the round shape of the tire permanently. This situation can cause the so-called flat spots. To prevent this from happening, consider elevating the vehicle off the ground with jack stands. Inflating the tires a little over the recommended tire pressure will also help.
Clean the Interior
Make sure it’s thoroughly clean. You don’t want molds or bacteria building up inside. Wipe, vacuum, and dust the interior completely. If your car has leather seats, use a leather protectant to prevent cracking due to our very hot weather. This applies to the vinyl as well, although there’s a more specific solution for that. Moreover, make sure to empty the trunk, glove box, and console of anything that can perish or decompose.
Clean the Exterior
Even if the car will be sitting outside the house and exposure to many elements cannot be helped, it’s still important to remove dirt and debris regularly as these are harmful to the paint. Particles and grease on the surface can leave marks, become embedded, or speed up corrosion. More importantly, bird droppings can cause considerable damage to your vehicle’s paint as they contain uric acid.
Wash the vehicle thoroughly before putting it to hibernation. Waxing the body of the car will also give an additional layer of protection.
Don’t Use the Parking Brake If Possible
Engaging the parking brake for a long time can fuse the brakes with the wheel. It will get stuck after a long time. So, try using a wheel stopper instead. It will prevent the vehicle from rolling as well.
Again, this is only recommended but not necessary. You may still opt to use the parking brake if the conditions necessitate.
Use a Car Cover
Make sure to use the correct size. There are many cheap options online. Car covers can adequately protect the paint and metal from the elements and moisture, especially if it’s sitting outside.
These are all the tips we have for you right now. Bear in mind that the owner’s manual may contain more information on this topic for your specific model, so make sure to give it a browse. Just like anything else, things we take good care of last longer, and in the case of vehicles that are made to be out and moving, the need for tender loving care is most important to make sure that we can still get them moving and grooving after storage.