Car lovers understand that all cars are not created equal. Keeping a show car or luxury vehicle in pristine condition takes greater effort and commitment than maintaining your daily driver.
As a luxury car owner and Porsche mechanic for over 25 years, I have witnessed the deterioration of many cars because owners were unaware of how to properly store their vehicles.
It is a shame to see great cars decline from neglectful storage practices. By properly storing your vehicle you are creating a line of defense against damage.
Here are a few tips for properly storing your vehicle.
1. Location is Key
It is important that you put some thought into where you are choosing to store your vehicle. The proper location can protect your car from the unforgiving elements.
The ideal location to store a high-end car is in a climate-controlled garage. You want the garage to be at a mild temperature with little to no humidity. A humid environment will cause parts of the car to rust and the upholstery to mildew.
If you don’t have a garage, then at least find a covered carport.
2. Service the Vehicle
If you are storing your vehicle for a long period of time, then I would recommend getting it fully serviced first.
Change the oil and filter, flush the brake fluid and top off all remaining fluids.
It is important to have fresh oil in the crankcase, free of solvents and moisture.
Add a fuel stabilizer and fill up the tank. A fuel stabilizer will increase the lifespan of your fuel by preventing it from oxidizing. Without a fuel stabilizer, your fuel will only last a few months before it starts to varnish.
It is also important to note that the effects of oxidized fuel are more detrimental to older cars since older fuel tanks are made of metal as opposed to plastic tanks on newer models.
3. Invest in a Cover
It does not matter if you are storing your car in a high-end garage or outside you need to own a car cover.
Make sure the car cover is clean of dust and dirt. Small dirt particles are like sandpaper on the exterior of your car so covering your car with a dirty cover will only cause more damage.
4. Clean your Car
Get your car washed before storing for a long period of time. Make sure the paint is clean as well as the interior of the vehicle
Periodically remove the cover and inspect and or clean it of any moisture or dust that may have collected. Either washing or simply tumbling the cover in a clothes dryer for a few minutes will often suffice. Wipe the vehicle down with a microfiber cloth and a detail spray product to remove surface dust before covering again.
5. Let it Run
Where possible, start the vehicle and bring it up to operating temperature. This will burn off contaminants, remove moisture from the exhaust system and charge the battery.
Don’t forget to run the AC to lubricate internal seals.
6. Inflate your Tires
When your car is in storage for an extended period of time your tires will gradually lose air pressure. Make sure you inflate your tires to the proper air pressure.
If possible you should have your car lifted so that your tires are not touching the ground.
If you are unable to lift the car, another option would be to purchase a set of tire cradles. A tire cradle helps prevent flat spots from developing.
7. Watch Out for Rodents
Rodent activity is an issue for a lot of drivers storing their vehicles. Critters like to make nests in places like air filter housings and A/C inlet boxes and will chew on any wiring they find.
I would recommend setting up a few rodent traps to prevent them from damaging the car. Keeping your car and storage space clean can also prevent a rodent infestation.
Storing your car is a great way to keep it safe from the elements. Follow these steps and you will have no problem keeping your car in pristine condition.