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Storage Tips Apr 14, 2023

Your Tenants' Complete Guide to Storing their Car

Here’s our complete guide for tenants storing their car long-term.

Are you an operator that offers vehicle storage at your facility? If you do, you might have tenants that need help with storing different types of vehicles. 

In the next couple of weeks we’re going to cover how your tenants can store the three most common types of vehicles they’re likely to store: their car, their RV, and their boat. 

Feel free to share this blog with your tenants, or to pick some of the most useful information out to create your own social or printed content. 

How to Store Your Car at a Self Storage Facility

Are you going on a long trip and need to store your car while you’re gone? Or do you perhaps have an extra car and nowhere to keep it? Whatever the case, sometimes people need to put a car in storage. Here’s our guide to storing it properly for the duration.

Choose Your Storage Type

Self storage facilities make excellent places to store a vehicle, whether that’s a car, motorcycle, RV, boat, or jet ski. There are three types of vehicle storage, outdoor, covered, and indoor.

If you put your car in outdoor storage, that means it will be in a secure parking lot at a self storage facility. Covered parking will include a roof over your car, but no walls. Indoor parking is either in a sort of warehouse with a bunch of other vehicles, or a private storage unit.

Wash Your Car

Take your car to a carwash and get it cleaned all over, including the undercarriage. Dirt, dust, oil, and bird droppings can seriously damage the paint over time. We also suggest waxing your car for additional protection.

Use a Weatherproof Car Cover

If you store your car in an outdoor lot or covered parking, get a weatherproof car cover for it. The manufacturer may have one that fits your car, or you may want to ask your local car dealership for suggestions. A cover will help keep your vehicle clean, dry, and protected from sun damage.

Change the Oil

If you’re storing your car for less than a month, you can skip this step, but if you’re storing it for 30 days or more, get the oil changed before you put it in storage. New oil will contain fewer contaminants and will be safer for the engine.

Fill the Gas Tank

If you’re storing your car for longer than a month, fill the gas tank as well and top it off with a fuel stabilizer. These steps will do two things. The full tank will prevent condensation from forming. The fuel stabilizer will prevent ethanol buildup and keep the gas from deteriorating for about a year.

Keep the Battery Charged

Unused, a battery will eventually use its charge and die. We recommend starting the car every two weeks and driving it for 15 minutes. This will keep not only the battery charged, but oil circulating through and lubricating the engine. Run the air conditioning to keep the air systems clear and churning fresh air.

If you can’t drive the car every few weeks, there are other options. One is to disconnect the negative battery cable. This will remove the time settings but will help keep the battery from dying. Most self storage units don’t have electrical outlets, but if yours does, you can get a trickle charger, which you hook up to the battery, and the other end to a wall charger. It delivers a slow stream of electricity to keep the battery working.

Protect Your Tires

There are a couple of ways to ensure your tires stay in good shape. Make sure your tires are inflated fully. Good tire pressure will help prevent your tires from not only going flat, but from developing flat spots that can’t be repaired. The colder it is outside, the faster this can happen. We also recommend visiting your car every couple of weeks and making sure the tire pressure is still good. That 15-minute drive we mentioned can also warm up the tires and help prevent or get rid of forming flat spots.

For long term storage, another option is putting your car on jack stands and removing the wheels, which will keep the tires in great shape.

Disengage the Parking Brake

Use your parking brake when in a parking lot at a supermarket or on the street, but not in storage. Over time this can not only damage the brake pads, it can fuse them to the rotors. Instead, get a tire stopper and place it so that it prevents the car from rolling.

Keep Pests Out

Your car, whether parked in or outside, can attract pests, especially rodents. Clean your car well inside, including washing down the seats and other surfaces and vacuuming the floors and in between seats to get crumbs. Keep rodents out by putting steel wool in the exhaust pipe and air intake.  Spread mothballs along the perimeter of the vehicle if it’s in indoor storage. Or, you can dip cotton swabs in peppermint oil and use those instead. The smells of both repel mice and other rodents.

Keep Your Insurance

It’s important to maintain your car insurance. Self storage facilities require your car be registered, and they may require you have insurance, too. Plus, this will help keep your rates down and cover you if you need to get to your car early either to drive it for a warm-up or to bring it home.

Take Your Car Out of Storage

If you’ve followed the instructions in this article, your car should be in great shape when you retrieve it from storage. However, there are a few things to check at the storage facility or when you get it home.

Look under the hood, inside, and in the undercarriage section for evidence of mice or rats. Signs might include nests or chewed machine parts. Also remove the mothballs and steel wool before driving the car.

Check the fluids to ensure there have been no oil, gas, water, or windshield wiper fluid leaks.

Check the breaks to see if rust has formed on the rotors. If there’s not much, driving the car for a few days should clear it up. If it’s bad, take it to a car shop.

Reconnect the battery if it was disconnected. Remove the trickle charger if you used one.

Take your car through a car wash to remove dust and dirt.

That’s it. 

We hope this guide helps ensure your car stays in great shape whether you store it for two months or a year.

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