How to Prep Your Car for Storage

A white sedan sits in a parking lot under a vehicle cover, shielded from the elements.

Have you been toying with the idea of putting your car in long-term storage? Whether you have an extra car, a summer convertible, or a vintage car you’ve been fixing up, these vehicles can take up a lot of valuable space in your garage, driveway, or street outside your home. If you need to clear up room but worry about the safety of your prized vehicle, self storage can provide a secure, convenient way to get your car out of the way until the next time you need it. Learn more about how to get your car ready for long-term storage with this blog from Arizona Self Storage.

Why You Need Vehicle Storage in Arizona

When it comes down to it, keeping your extra vehicles at a self storage facility is incredibly beneficial for maintaining the safety and longevity of your car. At Arizona Self Storage, we prioritize giving you features that help preserve both.

With the intense summer heat and year-round sun in Arizona, it doesn’t take long for the elements to create conditions that can permanently damage your seats, upholstery, paint, and other parts of the vehicle. The value of your car (whether it is vintage or not) is essential to maintain, which is why we recommend storing it in the shade whenever possible. At Arizona Self Storage, locations such as our Litchfield Park facility have covered or enclosed outdoor parking for your vehicle that can help prevent the wear and tear from prolonged exposure to the sun.

We can assure you that your vehicle will be safe and secure at our storage facilities with perimeter fencing, electronic access gates, and state-of-the-art security systems. Our properties are only accessible by authorized customers and staff members, so you can rest assured that your vehicle will be secure when stored with Arizona Self Storage.

Choosing Which Vehicle Storage Is Right for You

An overhead drone shot of a parking lot full of cars of all types and colors

Alt text: An overhead drone shot of a parking lot full of cars of all types and colors

There are several types of vehicle storage for you to choose from, depending on the type of storage and level of sun protection you’re looking for. At Arizona Self Storage, we offer the following.

Outdoor Car Storage

Outdoor car storage is exactly what it sounds like: an outdoor parking spot for your vehicle at one of our self storage facilities. This outdoor solution helps create more space in your garage or driveway and is also great for getting your car out of the street. However, we recommend using a vehicle cover to maximize the protection of your vehicle from sun damage to seats, electronics, and exterior paint.

Covered Parking

This outdoor vehicle storage solution features a roof overhead to protect your vehicle. And while this blocks out a good amount of sunlight, we still recommend pairing it with a vehicle cover to help maximize the protection of your car from sun exposure.

Partially Enclosed Parking

A partially enclosed vehicle parking solution features protective walls on one or more sides of your vehicle. This offers additional protection from inclement weather, with walls that are oriented to prevent direct sun exposure to the sides of your vehicle.

Indoor Car Storage

Indoor storage parking is the best option for maximum protection from high temperatures and sun damage to your vehicle. This is the ideal storage solution for conserving the integrity of your car, especially if you are storing a vintage or exotic vehicle.

How To Prep Your Car For Storage

A man wipes down his blue car with a yellow rag, drying it off after being cleaned

Alt text: A man wipes down his blue car with a yellow rag, drying it off after being cleaned

Prepping your car for long-term car storage is essential to ensuring that your vehicle will be in good working condition when you return. Help prevent damage to your vehicle by following these steps:

Fill the Gas Tank

This helps prevent moisture from accumulating inside the fuel tank and ensures sealings in the tank won’t dry out. You can also purchase a fuel stabilizer that helps prevent gas from deteriorating for up to 12 months.

Change the Oil and Top Off Fluids

Clean, fresh oil will help protect the engine, as old oil is hard on the intricate parts inside the engine. Topping off other vehicle fluids such as the coolant is also key for ultimate care of your vehicle during storage.

Clean the Car

Water, bird droppings, or other substances left on your vehicle can damage the paint. Therefore, completing a thorough cleaning and wax of your vehicle, including wheels, fenders, and hubcaps, before storing it is crucial.

Vacuum and wipe the inside so there isn’t any dirt or debris left sitting in the car during storage. Use steel wool or mesh to cover the exhaust pipe and air intake to help prevent mice and other rodents from getting into your vehicle while in storage as well.

Keep the Battery Charged

An unattended battery will lose its charge over time. In the best-case scenario, try to have someone come to start and drive the car for at least 15 minutes every two weeks. Being able to have the vehicle driven periodically provides many benefits: Not only does it help keep the battery charged, but it also keeps the engine and other components lubricated appropriately. If that’s not possible, disconnect the battery for storage. Be sure to check your owner’s manual for step-by-step instructions on how to do so.

Arizona Self Storage is unique in the fact that we offer trickle charge capabilities at our premium covered RV and vehicle storage locations, including Litchfield Park, Sahuarita, and Oro Valley. Trickle charging your battery when it is being stored keeps the battery’s charge full even when it is not being used for long periods of time, so you won’t have to worry about finding a dead battery when you come grab your car.

Keep Your Car Insured

Be sure to keep your car insurance up to date and included for the vehicle you are storing to avoid increased premiums due to an insurance gap. This also keeps you covered in the event that something happens to the car while it is in storage. When you store your vehicle with Arizona Self Storage, insurance on a stored vehicle is required at all times as part of our lease.

Prevent Flat Spots in Tires

Leaving your car parked in the same spot for a long time can create flat spots in your tires. Here are some ways to help prevent that from happening.

  • Have someone drive your car monthly, as moving the tires will help prevent flat spots.
  • If you’re storing your car for longer than 30 days without driving it periodically, consider taking the wheels off and placing the vehicle on a jack stand or vehicle blocks. If you leave tires on, inflate them to the correct pressure according to your vehicle’s user manual.

Don’t Use the Parking Brake

Using the parking brake while storing your vehicle can cause it to rust in place, making it very difficult for you to move your car in the future.

Get Back Into Action!

Once you are ready to go on your next adventure after long-term storage, here’s a checklist of what to do:

  • Check under the hood to ensure all wires, cables, and hoses are intact. Look for any evidence of rodents. Remove any material that covers the air intake and muffler before you start the car.
  • Check tire pressure and inflate tires to recommended levels.
  • Check the brakes for rust.
  • Check fluids to ensure there aren’t any leaks. Top off any fluids to recommended levels.
  • Wash your car, and be on your way with your next adventure.

Visit Us Today at Arizona Self Storage

Ready to finally take care of that spare car that’s been taking up space in your driveway? Come visit Arizona Self Storage to get that vehicle set up with one of our premium parking solutions. We also have plenty of storage options for RVs and boats as well. Find a location near you and give us a call to reserve your spot today.

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