How to Prepare Your Electric Car For Storage

Leslie Lang
July 10, 2017
Find Self-Storage

Updated: February 28, 2023

EVs (Electric Vehicles) have some advantages over conventional gas or diesel cars. They are less expensive to run, cheaper to maintain and better for the environment.

But there are differences, too, including how to store an electric car you won’t be driving for a long period of time. If you are planning to store your EV for an extended period, here are some tips that can help you:

10 Tips For Storing an Electric Car

  1. Cover it up. Cover your electric vehicle with a weatherproof car cover to protect it from dust and other debris. Avoid storing it in direct sunlight or damp areas, as this can cause damage to the battery. Consider storing your electric car in a garage or renting space at a storage facility to keep your electric car in a dry and cool place. 
  2. Clean it well. Wash and wax your car and make sure you remove mud and grease from the wheels and fender undersides, too. A vehicle needs to be in prime condition before it gets stored. Leaving bird droppings or water stains on a car long-term can damage the paint.
  3. Remove any food and liquids. Make sure to remove any food, drinks, or liquids from the car, as they can attract insects or rodents.
  4. Change the oil. If the electric vehicle will be stored for a month, or a longer period of time, you should change the oil first.
  5. Fill up the gas tank. Some electric cars do use fuel, such as the Chevrolet Volt. Topping off the tank prevents moisture from accumulating inside the fuel tank and keeps seals from drying out. Adding a fuel stabilizer prevents ethanol from building up, protects the engine and keeps gas from deteriorating for up to a year.
  6. Don’t set the parking brake. Brake pads that are in contact with rotors for an extended time can become fused. Use a tire stopper, or chock, instead.
  7. Inflate your tires. Inflate the tires to the recommended pressure and check them periodically to ensure they don’t go flat.
  8. Keep the battery fully charged. It’s recommended to charge your electric car’s battery to at least 50% before storing it. If possible, charge it fully. This will prevent the battery from draining and prolong its lifespan.
  9. Disconnect the battery. If you plan to store your electric car for more than a month, it’s recommended to disconnect the battery. This will prevent it from draining and ensure it lasts longer. Or attach a battery tender. Also known as a “trickle charger,” this device hooks up to your battery on one end and a wall outlet on the other. This delivers a small amount of electrical power, enough to prevent the battery from depleting.
  10. Start the car periodically: If you’re storing the car for an extended period of time, it’s a good idea to start the car and let it run for a few minutes every few weeks to help keep the battery and other components in good condition.

Electric Charging Station

How About Hybrids?

How to store a hybrid car will depend on the length you plan on keeping it in storage. If you’re storing an electrified vehicle like a plug-in hybrid for three months or longer, make sure someone starts it and runs it regularly. If you fail to take care of hybrid vehicle batteries, you might come back to a dead car and an expensive ion battery replacement bill.

Toyota recommends stopping by a charging station to charge a hybrid vehicle’s battery at least once every two months and letting it charge for at least 30 minutes. Make sure lights and other electrical accessories are turned off. The company suggests charging its hybrids’ auxiliary battery at least once every two weeks for 20 minutes, again with the air-conditioning and audio equipment turned off. Alternatively, you could disconnect the auxiliary battery’s negative terminal.

Unless you have the tail pipe connected to an exhaust hose, never start a car in a closed space because of dangerous fumes. Yes, even electric vehicles.

Finding Storage for Your Electric Car

For tips on how to choose the right size storage unit for your electric car, check out our handy car storage size guide for more details. Once you know what size storage unit you need, use Sparefoot’s car storage finder to locate the best storage facility for you.

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About the SpareFoot Blog

The SpareFoot Blog offers tips about self-storage, information about storage auctions, advice about home organization, news about SpareFoot and much more.
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