With the enhanced community quarantine still in place, you might have to keep your car idle for a longer period of time. Veteran car owners know that leaving your car parked for months can cause damages and liabilities in the future. Thankfully, there are ways to prevent this.
Simply have to bear in mind this checklist for long-term car storage to keep your vehicles stay in shape.
1. Change your oil.
The used engine oil left in the car for a prolonged period can cause internal damages due to its content. By changing the oil, there’s nothing to worry about having to drive the car in a few months or years. Applying lubricants is also recommended to keep those parts greased and avoid rusting.
2. Keep the tank full
Before you store your car for a long time, you should fill up the tank. Not doing so will allow the growth of rust that can cause damage to your car. However, if the storage lasts for a year or more, you need to empty the fuel and replenish it again.
It also helps to use a corrosion inhibitor fuel stabilizer to save the car from possible internal damages in the tank. As an additional measure when adding the liquids, you should drive the vehicle around for a little to spread the mixed fuel throughout the engine.
3. Disconnect your battery
Car batteries may cause acid leak and corrosion in the car engines, especially if they are unused over time. This is a simple process to keep your car well-maintained during long-term storage.
4. Wash and wax the car exterior
Car wash is not a surprising item in this list because it’s a common measure for vehicle maintenance. To keep the cleanliness of your car longer, you can also apply wax. These layers of protection spare the car from long term damages caused by dirt, grease, dust, debris, and other elements.
5. Dust and clean the car interior
The interior of the vehicle is what serves your “dwellings” while on the road, so it’s best to keep it clean and tidy like how you will do with your house. Throw away the trash stuck in its recesses. Vacuum the dust. Wash any leather. Remove anything that might rot or deteriorate over a long period of hibernation.
6. Block the tailpipe or any opening
By storing the car in your garage or any parking space for months or years, any exposed holes can serve as habitats for critters or insects. It is advised to plug the tailpipes and other possible entry points such as loose windows or car intake system. But remember to remove them when you have to hit the road again. You can also scatter mothballs and insect repellants around the car.
7. Use wheel chocks instead of the handbrake
If your garage or storage location doesn’t have flat surfaces, place wheel chocks or pieces of wood to stop the tires from rolling. Don’t use the parking brake. Prolonged use of the handbrake may cause fusion with the interior of the wheel.
8. Install jacks to save your tires
Consider placing the vehicle on jacks if you will store the car for a long time. Carrying the weight of a car on a stationary wheel can wear out or flatten the tire. These jacks can save you from unnecessary tire replacement. On the other hand, check if installing the jacks is compatible with your car to avoid warping the vehicle structure or incur future damages.
An alternative: if it’s possible to drive the car, then make the tires spin for a bit regularly to keep them from any deformity.
9. Cover the ground with a plastic sheet
While this seems unnecessary, parking your car on a sheet of plastic is helpful in the car storage. It prevents oils and other liquids from the ground to seep on the wheels. On the other hand, it also protects the floor from car leaks or drips.
10. Cover your car with the right material
Don’t forget to cover your car before finally leaving it to hibernation. It is not ideal to use plastic sheets, comforters, or tarpaulins for your car. These materials don’t cover the vehicle tightly. Moisture can enter between the gaps and it can cause damages to the metal and paint. It is recommended to use a car cover made of soft fibers that gives appropriate breathability and doesn’t scratch the car while protecting the vehicle from foreign elements.
11. Pick the best location for parking
To those who have their garage, this might not be a problem. If possible, your storage location must be free from any invasive critters, insects, or pets that might cause scratches and damages. If you don’t have a covered shed, make sure that the car is safe from foreign elements such as rain, flood, or falling tree branches. It’s best to ensure that the car will get no or least damages during the hibernation, especially if left unchecked.
There is a word in Germany coined for Volkswagen ads in 1990 and it relates to the desire to drive and enjoy the feeling of driving because of being bored indoors: fahrvergnügen. Car owners may already have felt this. As soon as it is generally safe to travel, the car won’t be sitting in the garage anymore.