The amount of preparation you do to your car before you store it can depend on the duration of your storage. If you are storing your car for a longer period of time, it may be a good idea for you to consider many of the items on the list.
Exterior – Even if you are planning to store your car for a short period of time, you may consider washing and waxing your car to remove any excess bug or bird residue as leftover remains may damage the finish to your car. Be especially wary of love bugs left on your bumpers. Some dead bugs can cause pitting or etching in your finish due to the acidity in their systems. While a car cover will keep dust from accumulating on your car, it is typically much more important for outside storage as it protects your car from sunshine and fading.
Interior – Especially if you are storing outside, you will want to be sure that you vacuum and remove all food crumbs and wrappers to avoid any unwanted critters invading your car. Also, be sure that your car carpet and seats are dry before you park it and close the windows as this may cause mold and mildew to accumulate in your car. This is especially important if you are storing outside or in a non-air unit. Climate controlled units help prevent this from happening. Should you have a wet carpet, you may want to invest in a product such as Damp Rid to suck up the moisture in your car.
Fuel – Fill the tank, but not to the point that it is overfull. This will prevent moisture from creating rust and corrosion if you are storing your car for a long period of time. If you plan to store your car for a very long time, you may want to consider looking into a fuel stabilizer such as STA-BIL. Be sure to thoroughly read the directions, however, it is typically a good idea to drive at least ten miles after adding the STA-BIL to thoroughly circulate the fluids in your engine.
Tires – If you are using car storage for an extended period you may consider adding about ten pounds of pressure to ensure flat spots do not grow. Should they develop, they typically disappear after several miles. We are happy to fill your tires for you on site for free.
Battery – There are two schools of thought on how one should protect their battery while using car storage. Typically, disconnecting your battery will help save your charge, however, if you do this, you will need to reset your radio stations that you saved as well as your clock. Some clients leave their battery plugged in so the electronics retain power, but this diminishes the charge in the battery. We are happy to periodically charge your battery, and we do not charge you a fee for this service. Which ever school of thought you are enrolled in, it is a good idea to clean the battery terminals before using car storage. Grease or battery terminal spray will help thwart corrosion.
Oil – Due to the acid, moisture, and other contaminants in oil, you may want to consider putting in a new oil filter and getting an oil change if you are storing your car for an extended period of time. You will want to circulate the oil by driving your car at least ten miles before storing.
Windshield wipers – Removing your windshield wipers will prevent them from developing a permanent curve. This may be a good idea for you if you are storing your car for an extended period of time.
Since everyone’s car is different, it is a good idea to check your owner’s manual for other things that may be specific or unique to your car.