How to Pick the Right Size Storage Unit for Your Car

Brian Shreckengast
May 25, 2020
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Cars come in many shapes and sizes, from tiny hatchbacks little bigger than go-karts to mammoth vans that are essentially small buses.

When it comes to finding car storage for these vehicles, choosing the right size should be a simple process. It’s those car models in between that can be difficult to find the right storage unit size. Can my Honda Civic squeeze into a 10′ x 15′ self-storage unit, or do I need to upgrade to a 10′ x 20′? Will my Ford-F150 truck fit into that cheap 10′ x 20′ parking space, or will I be forced to opt for a more expensive 10′ x 30′ unit?

The Best Storage Units For Cars and Trucks

For nearly all vehicles on the road today, you’ll need either a:

  • 10′ x 15′
  • 10′ x 20′
  • 10′ x 30′

With a length of 11.5 feet, even a subcompact car like the 2017 Fiat 500 would never fit in a 10′ x 10′ unit—so don’t even bother. The only modern car you could fit in a 10′ x 10′ would be the Smart Fortwo, with a length of 8.8 feet. For everything else, keep on reading.

Car Storage Size Guide

Knowing the amount of space your car requires can go a long way. Overestimate the dimensions of your car and you’ll end up with extra storage space when you could have saved money by renting a smaller unit. Underestimate the amount of space your vehicle requires and you’ll need to change to a more spacious unit–and who knows if the storage facility even has that size available?

10′ x 15′ car storage

Many subcompact and compact cars can fit in a 10′ x 15′, but there are many that won’t. For example, a 2014 Toyota Corolla is considered a compact car, but with a length of 15.22 feet you’d likely need to move to the next size up. As a general rule of thumb, most two-door cars or hatchbacks should fit in this size storage unit, which spans 150 square feet.

10′ x 20′ car storage

This size storage unit is most similar to that of a one-car garage, which measure on average 12′ x 22′.  That means this size unit should accommodate the majority of vehicles on the road today including SUVs, crossovers, sedans, minivans, and pick ups. Given that it’s still a tad smaller than a one-car garage, you probably won’t have a lot of extra room for small furniture, but you might be able to squeeze in a few personal items as well. This size storage unit covers 200 square feet.

10′ x 30′ car storage

Some vehicles, however just won’t fit in a 10′ x 20′. The next most common size is the 10′ x 30′. This size unit should work for everything else like large cargo vans and super duty trucks with extended cabs and beds. This size unit covers 300 square feet. If a 10′ x 30′ is unavailable, a 10′ x 25′ unit is the next best storage unit size to find.

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Other Options For Car Storage

If you find the price of a drive up storage unit is more than you wanted to pay for vehicle storage, there are a few other options you could consider that might be affordable. Many storage facilities also rent outdoor parking spaces for vehicles. Some outdoor spaces are even covered, which provided additional protection from the elements.

Types of Car Storage Units

Enclosed Vehicle Storage

Enclosed Vehicle Storage is the safest and most secure means of storing your vehicle. These are large self-storage units that essentially act as garages you can drive your vehicle straight into, and are accessed via a large roll-up door. Enclosed units provide protection from winter weather and prevent any unwanted access to your vehicle.

Indoor Vehicle Storage

With Indoor vehicle storage, your vehicle will be parked inside a large structure such as a warehouse with other vehicles. Indoor vehicle storage provides the same protection from the elements as enclosed storage, but since your vehicle will be in a shared space there will may be different access requirements.

Covered Vehicle Storage

With Covered vehicle storage, you’ll typically park your vehicle under a standalone roof alongside other vehicles, though some covered units do have three walls separating your vehicle from the rest. Though you won’t get as much protection as from an enclosed unit or indoor, the roof structure will protect your vehicle from the harshest elements.

Vehicle Parking Spaces

A Vehicle Parking Space is exactly what it sounds like: an area for you to park your vehicle. The parking area may be paved or on a variety of unpaved surfaces including gravel, dirt, or an open field on the storage facility’s grounds.

Preparing Your Car For Self-Storage

To be sure your car fits, it is always a good idea to just get a tape measure and see for your self. Remember you’ll want at least a few inches of clearance to make sure your car fits without having to touch the walls of the unit.

Whether you are storing outdoors or inside a unit, you should invest in a high quality car cover to protect your vehicle. While it won’t get rained or snowed on, a car inside a storage unit still might collect dust.

Here are few other things you should do whenever storing a car for an extended period of time:

  • Wash thoroughly and dry completely
  • Change oil and other fluids
  • Store with a full gas tank and add fuel stabilizer
  • Disconnect the battery
  • Protect against rodents by covering air intakes and the exhaust pipe

Need to store your car today? Use SpareFoot’s Car Storage search feature to fine the best deal on car storage near you!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Car Storage

Can a car fit in a 10x10 storage unit?

No, most compact cars require a 10' x 15' storage unit. Even some cars considered compact, like a 4-door Honda Civic, are slightly longer than 15 feet and would require a 10' x 20' storage unit.

Do I need proof of insurance and vehicle registration?

Yes, you will need to provide proof of insurance and valid vehicle registration when you put your car in a storage unit. Most storage facilities also require that the car is drivable when you put it in storage.

How much does it cost to store a car?

Since most cars will fit into a 10' x 15' or a 10' x 20' storage unit, the average cost per month can range from $130-$200. The biggest factor in the cost is the type of unit; indoor and enclosed units will cost more, while outdoor units are cheaper.


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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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