June 21, 2024

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Mistakes to Avoid When Preparing Your Car for Long-Term Storage

Preparing your car for long-term storage is a crucial step in ensuring its longevity and performance. Whether it’s a classic car, vintage model, or a regular vehicle you won’t be using for a while, improper storage can lead to a host of issues, including mechanical problems, cosmetic damage, and even corrosion. To help you safeguard your wheels, here are six mistakes to avoid when putting your car into hibernation.

1. Skipping the Thorough Cleaning

Before you tuck your car away, give it a thorough cleaning, both inside and out. Dust and grime left on the exterior can lead to paint damage over time, while dirty interiors are an invitation to pests that could wreak havoc on your vehicle’s upholstery and wiring. Clean every nook and cranny, and consider using a car cover that’s breathable to prevent moisture buildup.

2. Forgetting to Top-Up Fluids

Your car’s fluids play a critical role, even when it’s in storage. From the oil, which should be changed to prevent contaminants from sitting too long, to the coolant, which prevents corrosion, every fluid in your vehicle needs attention. Ensure all fluids are at the correct levels and, when necessary, bring them up to par to prevent any issues while your car is not in use.

3. Neglecting the Battery

One of the most common issues with stored vehicles is the battery dying. If possible, remove the battery to prevent any loss of charge; if that’s not feasible, invest in a trickle charger to help maintain the battery’s charge. An alternative is to start the car at regular intervals to ensure the battery stays healthy, but only if it can run for an adequate amount of time to charge the battery properly.

4. Leaving the Parking Brake On

Many people think that engaging the parking brake is a good way to prevent the car from moving while in storage. However, if the car sits too long, the brake pads and rotors can corrode or fuse together. Instead, use a set of wheel chocks to keep the car stationary, and if you’re storing the car indoors, consider leaving it in gear for an extra measure of safety.

5. Failing to Prepare the Engine

The engine is the heart of your car, and neglecting it could mean a host of issues when you come back to start it. If you can’t change the oil, at the very least, top the oil off. Also, consider removing the spark plugs and pouring a small amount of oil into the spark plug holes to keep the cylinders lubricated. Turn the engine over a few times without starting it to circulate the oil and keep things moving smoothly.

6. Not Updating Your Insurance and Registration

Last but not least, make sure your car’s paperwork is up-to-date. If your registration expires, you might have to pay fines when you reinstate it. On the other hand, if your car’s insurance lapses, you won’t be covered if there’s any damage to the vehicle while in storage. Ensure both your registration and insurance are current to avoid any unnecessary financial headaches. Keep records of the date when you plan to start using the car again as a reminder to renew these documents.

By avoiding these mistakes and taking the time to properly prepare your car for long-term storage, you can ensure that it stays in top-notch condition until you’re ready to hit the road again. It may seem like a lot of steps, but investing this time and effort now can save you from significant stress and expenses down the line. Safe storing!