Proper care for storing a vehicle


Old 02-05-11, 05:21 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: New York, United States
Posts: 378
Proper care for storing a vehicle

Know many have collectable autos that are stored long term and assume there are some tips to make sure storage puts the least impact all parts etc. This probably includes cars that for example are used in florida during the winter and then covered and stored during the spring/summer, say 6 months. My concern is what might need to be done to protect such things as the cooling system/heating coils from corrosion that could cause costly issues. I just supect there are some good "checks" one should do to safeguard such a system. Some experise will be greatly appreciated!
Sponsored Links
Old 02-05-11, 06:53 AM
the_tow_guy's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: SW Fla USA
Posts: 11,541
Well, I'm here year round, so can't say for sure. As far as I know the majority of winter visitors who leave a car down here over the summer do very little in storage prep. I'm sure many do little or nothing. Car covers are popular, of course, to keep the dirt/dust off for ones stored on carports. At the easy end of the scale would be fresh oil change and drain and refill on coolant plus full tank of gas with stabilizer added. Going progressively more involved would be things like putting up on blocks/stands and pulling spark plugs to squirt some oil in the cylinders.

You're planning on doing a short term storage of some kind?
Old 02-05-11, 07:01 AM
Gunguy45's Avatar
Super Moderator
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 20,929
I've stored more than a few cars (under less than ideal conditions), though most of them were older simpler machines. There's a big difference between 6 months and say....1year.

I'd probably be concerned about mice and other critters chewing on wiring. If stored indoors, put some Dcon type killer (the pet safe stuff) under the car near the tires or on top of them.

Either get the weight off the tires or slightly overinflate them to help keep them from flat spotting.

I wouldn't change the oil unless it is about due anyway...I'd change it when it was time to drive it again.

Fully charge and disconnect the battery. Newer cars will run a battery down in a few weeks. Lots of electronic, ya know, constant drains. Older cars it was pretty much just the clock (if it had one). If you have a climate controlled place to safely store the battery..even better. Will probably need to be charged again occasionally and at least right before re-install.

Make sure the coolant is well w/in spec...not just for freezing, but for the anti-corrosive properties.

Fill the tank (with non ethanol gas if possible) and add some stabilizer. Run the engine long enough to get it through the fuel system.

Give the interior a good cleaning and a heavy treatment of ArmourAll type stuff...if leather use a good cream conditioner.

Use a cover if outside or at least cover the interior cloth and such to prevent sun fading.

Now...all that said..what I did for 3 of my cars, stored outside in an industrial area when I deployed for 7-9 months was just this.
Disconnect battery, inflate tires, put a cover over the one that had good paint, fogged the cylinders of my GTO (didn't bother for the others), filled with gas. Came back 7-9 months later...connected the battery and they started right up, no problems at all. A few miles of driving and the tires were fine as well. I think only one had steel radials though...not sure if that makes a difference.
Old 02-05-11, 07:32 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: New York, United States
Posts: 378
Thanks for the input, the car is covered, stays in Florida from mid-April until the 1st of Novemer, always put DAMP-X in a container in the car to deal with the humidity (as well as the trunk), disconnec the battery and fill the gas tank inclluding some addititve. My onlly issue was the cooling system since one rarely checks that and not sure what one should be looking for when you look at the liquid (not worried about freezing, just corrosion).
Old 02-05-11, 07:40 AM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 43,380
I used to live in fla and I always tried to keep my antifreeze level at 50/50. While the freeze protection may not be needed and it does help the radiator to cool a little better but the main think is it protects your entire cooling system from corrosion.
Old 02-06-11, 07:50 AM
ukrbyk's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA/ Pacific NW
Posts: 3,220
gunguy basically covered it all.
i am no fan of covers touching paint, as they collect humidity right against metal. just personal experience.
back in old country we stowed cars for very harsh winters routinely. Florida is different in humidity, not cold aspect.
modern tires have butane based rubber in them and this is said to attract rodents that can basically eat them out. you definitely want to de-weight tires completely, as you will end up with flat spots and pull tire bags over them and secure in place. we had large wooden blocks made out of those old fashion logs that train rails were sitting on, suitable height to keep tires off the ground maybe an inch. they have jackstands here.
once again, humidity is your main enemy. cylinder walls will oxidize if not continuously lubricated/scraped by rings. we had spark plugs removed, some good engine oil poured inside cylinders, and engine hand cranked. but all our cars had hand-cranks. you may need to use engine starter with ignition/fuel pump disabled and plugs removed to do this. unfortunately, car guys recommend cranking pistons maybe once a month or so, for the above mentioned reasons.
of course, i witnessed a Subaru sitting in my neighbors property, in rain, snow and sun, for well over a year, never touched, and then they simply hooked up a good battery, and started after few cranks and smokes puffed out.
so, it all goes down to how much you value your car. that one was not much of a value anyway.

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes