Prepare and Protect Your Classic Car for Long-Term Storage

03/01/2022 How To / How To Guides / Storage Tips

Millions of automotive enthusiasts diversify their portfolios by investing in classic cars. With everything from a restored Volkswagen Beetle to a seven-figure high-end collectible being used to make money, it’s critical to preserve these vehicles in prime condition. The right long-term storage for your car is key if you want your car to appreciate in value.

The best way to keep your car safe and maintain its condition is to find a self storage facility, like Handy Storage, that has the right sizes and types of units to be able to preserve and protect your vehicle. Additionally, it’s essential that you do whatever is necessary to prepare your car for long-term storage. You want to be sure that it’s ready when you’re anxious to enjoy a drive or display it at a car show.

Following are some tips to help you find the right self storage location to protect your car and prepare it for the long term.

Protect Your Classic Car in the Right Self Storage Facility

Look for a facility with convenient drive-up units, and multi-layered security. Climate-controlled storage is a must for keeping your vehicle in top condition.

Drive-Up Units

The right space for vehicle storage is a drive-up unit. This means that you’ll drive your car directly up to the unit and pull inside, locking the door when you leave. These units protect your car from damaging sun, wind, and precipitation.

Climate-Controlled Self Storage

Extreme temperature and humidity fluctuations will damage the paint, upholstery, tires, and engine of your prized possession. Climate-controlled self storage will maintain the optimal conditions for your car. It keeps a unit’s indoor temperature between 55° and 85° F and maintains a humidity level of 55%. To further protect your classic car in climate-controlled storage, cover the floor with plastic sheeting as a vapor barrier. This prevents moisture from reaching the car’s underside.

High-Level Security

Technology is constantly evolving to offer new and better layers of security to protect self storage properties. Many properties have keyless entry that allows easy access to your unit from a mobile device. Be sure to look for gates equipped with electronic keypads, and don’t neglect to check for 24-hour video surveillance, bright lighting, and perimeter fencing. Onsite and resident managers add another layer of security with their physical presence which can deter illicit activity.

Prepare Your Classic Car for Long-Term Storage

Older vehicles need extra protection and maintenance to preserve their condition. Below are a few tips to avoid deterioration and keep your car looking pristine.

Wash and Wax Your Car

To keep dust and dirt from causing long-term damage, wash the car thoroughly and apply a coat of protective wax. Lubricate door and hood hinges; and, if you’re storing a convertible, store it with the top up to prevent shrinkage.

Clean the Interior

Vacuum your car carefully, cleaning all surfaces and shaking out the floor mats to be sure there are no crumbs to attract unwanted guests. To preserve vinyl, plastic, and leather surfaces, wipe them with a good conditioner and leave an open box of baking soda inside to absorb odors.

Check the Tires

Clean the tires with soapy water and let them dry completely before storing. If you leave them dirty for the long term, they can crack and rot. Be sure your tire pressure is at the recommended pounds per square inch (PSI).

Change the Oil

Oil that is left in classic cars for a long period of time can be detrimental if these cars have their original engines. Change the oil and go for a short drive so that it circulates. This will help to prevent corrosion, but don’t forget to change the oil filter!

Fill the Tank

Drive your car until the tank is nearly empty, then fill it completely. Add a fuel stabilizer to prevent the fuel from hardening. If you’re preparing your car for winter storage, top off the coolant to ensure the engine doesn’t freeze.

Stuff the Tailpipe

Don’t allow small animals who may invade your space to make a nest in your tailpipe. Cover it or stuff it will steel wool. Leave a reminder note on your steering wheel so that when you pick up your car you remember to clean out the tailpipe.

Remove or Disconnect Your Battery

Battery acid leaks can cause catastrophic damage to older car engines. If you’re storing your car for the long term, consider removing the battery. If you decide to leave the battery terminals connected, the car will continue to use energy, depleting the battery. At the very least, disconnect the battery and hook it up to a battery tender.

Use a High-Quality Cover

Regardless of where you store your vehicle, you need a quality custom cover with a breathable fabric that won’t cause moisture, which might damage the paint.

One More Thing…

Your car must be insured. Your insurance agent can explain the type of insurance you need for a collectible car. There are options available, and you want to make sure that you have the right insurance to suit your unique vehicle. Keep in mind that laws differ from state to state. If you store an uninsured vehicle, you may be subject to a citation or, in some cases, a suspended license.

Summary
To protect your vehicle from deterioration, damage, and the elements during long-term or winter storage, you first need to locate a convenient, reliable, and secure self storage facility. Once you’ve chosen a facility that suits your needs, use the suggestions in this article as a guideline to help you prepare and store your vehicle to maintain its value.

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