Whether you purchase a classic or antique car as a hobby, an investment, or both, it’s your passion. You probably drive it rarely, if at all, keeping it safely stored away for long periods of time.
The right long-term or winter storage for your car is critical, because you want your car to appreciate in value and maintain its vintage appeal. My Storage Plus has locations that are perfect for protecting your treasured vehicle.
Locate the Right Self Storage Facility
Storage units that have been designed for vehicles are typically “drive-up.” This means that you drive your vehicle directly up to the unit, pull inside, and close and lock the door when you leave. Your car will be protected from sun damage, wind, and precipitation. Sounds simple, right? Not so fast – there’s more to it if you want to keep your car in mint condition.
- Climate Control: You don’t want temperature fluctuations and humidity to affect the paint, upholstery, tires, engine and more. Climate-controlled storage keeps a unit’s indoor temperature between 55° and 85° F and maintains a humidity level of 55%. As a comparison, the average air conditioned home stays between 35%-45% humidity. Think of climate control as an air-conditioner, humidifier, and dehumidifier combination to sustain the proper temperature and humidity levels for your vehicle. When you find the ideal self storage unit for your car, cover the floor with a sheet of plastic. This will serve as a vapor barrier to prevent moisture from reaching the underside of the car.
- Security: Technology has come a long way in enhancing self storage security. Many facilities are offering keyless entry that allows easy access to your self storage facility and your unit from a mobile device. Look for access gates equipped with electronic keypads, as well as twenty-four hour video surveillance. If there is a rare security breach, it will be easier to identify and apprehend the intruder. On site and resident managers add another layer of security; a physical presence can deter potential illicit activity.
- Insurance: Prior to storing your car, it must be insured. Talk with your insurance agent, and get the specifics on collectible car insurance. There are options available, and you want to make sure that you have the right insurance to suit your unique vehicle. If collectible vehicles are restored and well maintained, they will typically increase in value. Keep in mind that laws differ from state to state. If you store an uninsured vehicle, you may be subject to a citation or suspension of your license.
Prep Your Classic Car for Long-Term or Winter Storage
Because these vehicles are older, they require extra protection and maintenance to preserve their condition and avoid corrosion. Here are some tips to keep your car looking as pristine when it is retrieved as it did when it was stored.
- Wash and Wax the Car
Wash the car thoroughly and apply a coat of protective wax. Dust and dirt can cause long-term damage. Lubricate door and hood hinges so that they don’t jam. If you happen to own a convertible, store it with the top up to prevent shrinking.
- Clean the Interior
Be sure there are no crumbs or food scraps left on the seats unless you want to attract rodents and insects. Vacuum your car carefully, cleaning all surface areas with a microfiber towel, and shaking out the floor mats. To preserve vinyl, plastic, and leather surfaces, wipe them with a conditioner. Finally, leave a box of baking soda inside to absorb odors.
- Check the Tires
Use warm, soapy water to clean your car’s tires, and let them dry completely. If your tires are left dirty for a lengthy period, they can crack and rot. Check your tire pressure and fill all the tires to the recommended pounds per square inch (PSI).
- Change the Oil
The contaminants and residue in oil that is left for long periods can be especially detrimental to classic and antique cars that have their original engines. Change the oil, and go for a short drive to allow the oil to circulate. This helps to prevent corrosion. Additionally, this is a good time to think about changing the oil filter.
- Fill the Tank
The ethanol in gas attracts moisture, increasing the risk of rust and corrosion. Drive your classic car until the tank is nearly empty, then fill it completely. Consider adding a fuel stabilizer to prevent the fuel from hardening. If you’re storing for the winter, top off the coolant to ensure the engine doesn’t freeze.
- Cover or Stuff the Tailpipe
Small animals enjoy making nests in tailpipes. Let them know there is no vacancy by covering your tailpipe or stuffing it with steel wool. Remind yourself to remove it when you take your car out of storage by leaving a post-it note on the steering wheel.
- Disconnect or Remove the Battery
If you’re storing your car for the long-term, consider removing the battery. Battery acid leaks can potentially cause massive damage to car engines. This can be catastrophic to an older car. If the battery terminals are left 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.
- Protect With a High-Quality Cover
Regardless of where you’re storing your vehicle, you need a quality custom cover. The lining of the cover should be soft so that your car’s surface remains damage free. The cover should be made from a breathable fabric that won’t trap moisture and create condensation that can damage paint.
To protect your vehicle from deterioration, damage, and the elements during long-term or winter storage, you first need to locate a convenient, safe, and secure self storage facility. After you’ve settled on the right facility for your car, you need to prep your car for a lengthy stay in storage. The suggestions in this article should start you moving in the right direction to keep your vehicle in top condition.